Ashland

DAY 29: 

This Crater Lake closure really had me torn. I was kind of going to Ashland with no plan and hoping things would fall into place. There was no clear cut option for me to choose at this point.

I had a lot of transit issues that made me never want to use Greyhound again. The biggest problem was that one of my buses had a 12 hour layover. Even the employee was confused by this.

I really didn’t do much in Bend, which I feel a little bad about now considering everyone has been telling me how much they love it there. I just didn’t have the energy and I knew I’d be doing lots of commuting over the next few days.

My first bus got me to Eugene, where I had a 4 hour layover. Unfortunately I was just too late to catch the Saturday Market, which sounded like something I would have enjoyed. Instead, I walked around the University of Oregon campus. It was really pretty and I enjoyed checking it out. I’m a huge college football fan so seeing the Universities always interest me.


After that, I caught my bus and got into Medford late at night.


DAY 30:

Although I was staying in Medford, I went to Ashland to explore. I got a ride form a trail angel to Callaghan’s Lodge, which is along the PCT, so I could get my town items I had mailed myself. I ate lunch there and ordered the hiker spaghetti special (which I was not impressed with…. very blah). I got a ride back to town from the same trail angel and then shopped around a little. I loved all the shops in Ashland although it is quite pricey. The town has a really cool vibe and is very family oreiented.

I met my host Jeremy, who I was staying with, and his friend Erin at the Black Sheep for dinner. I was telling them how my trip was first inspired by the Redwoods, and that’s what gave me the desire to travel to California. By coincidence, Erin was making a trip to the Redwoods the next day and asked if I wanted to join. I couldn’t believe it, I was so happy. I was worried I wouldn’t get to see the Redwoods, since I’m without vehicle and there is no type of transit to get there. Things like this are how I know section hiking was the right choice. Looking back, it really upsets me that I had planned over my original dream. As much as I love the PCT, Redwoods were how I discovered it and were my original goal. Why did I think it was okay to toss that aside for the PCT? Perhaps I knew I’d end up there.

After dinner we walked around Lithia Park, which is really something else. It’s a huge park located downtown that is very well maintained and has so many different areas and chill spots.

We went back to the house and I honestly barely slept that night because I was so excited to go to the forest the next day!

 
DAY 31:

Erin picked me up early, as it was about a 3.5 hour drive from Medford. We stopped along the coast a few times along the way. So many gorgeous views. Limerence with the ocean is so peculiar. It was foggy too so it made everything look a little spooky.


We drove along the Redwood Highway which was insanely gorgeous. We finally got to our destination after driving down a dirt path in a Jurassic Park looking environment (Jurassic Park was actually filmed here for real). All the plants were covered in dust, so everything was a white-brown colour and looked rather uncanny.

Driving through the Redwoods.

We walked for a little bit down the trail and got to Fern Canyon. Fern Canyon was incredible. It was like we were exploring the jungle. I have never seen anything like it before.


After exploring the canyon, we went back by the ocean to hangout. Then, we started to drive back and stopped at one of the Redwood trails off the highway. We walked the trails in silence just taking everything in. The forest had a strange familiarity to it where it felt like it knew who you were. Everything was so quiet and the smells were unreal. There is really nothing like it.


We left and headed back to Crescent City to grab a bite to eat. We got home around 10 and I was so exhausted I fell right asleep. I had such an amazing day and I was really glad to spend it with Erin. She is such a great person and I was really really enjoyed her company.

Me and Erin in a Redwood!


DAY 32:

I was sad to leave Jeremy’s because he had such a cozy place. We really got along and had similar taste in music. I was staying with my next host, Mo, who lived right in Ashland. I went to his place, hung out for a bit, went for dinner and ice cream and then walked around Lithia Park. We also checked out Emmigrant Lake.

I had pretty low energy today for some reason, so called it an early night.

DAY 33:

Today we had plans to go to Mt Ashland. It was a beautiful sunny day and the drive was so nice. It was funny to me, going to Mt Ashland, because we were crossing parts of the PCT. Even when I wasn’t on the PCT, I was on the PCT.

We got to the peak and hung out for a while. It was really cool to see the view of the valley.


It was gorgeous up there. We drove a little longer around the roads on the mountain, then went back and got food at Sauce. The food was incredible and reminded me a lot like my favourite resturant at home, Fresh.

Later, I went back downtown to walk around the park. Ashland holds free outdoor concerts every weeknight so I attended that as well. I really miss live music and I’m pretty sure this is the longest I’ve ever gone without going to a show.

I have really been enjoying the small town vibe and the free spirit of Ashland. With that being said, I am incredibly eager to get back hiking.

DAY 34:

I honestly did not do much today at all. I was supposed to get back on trail at Crater Lake, but my ride fell through. I spent most of my day replanning how I’d get back on trail. There seems to be no other option than just to hike North, then turn around back South. This is how bad I want to see Crater Lake. I could probably hitch, but I honestly don’t want to spend another day of commuting, especially with such uncertainty.

I planned to send some resupply boxes out so I prepared those too. I seriously think I’m getting worse at this though. I always have way too much food!

After, I went back downtown to explore and see the concert. I am waiting for a package to arrive tomorrow and I’m hoping it will arrive early enough that I can get on trail tomorrow. I really don’t want to wait until Saturday, although I believe I might have to.

I can’t believe how much I am missing the trail. I can already feel my body craving the activity. I seriously wanted to go for a run or work out today. It’s funny how masochistic our bodies can be. When I’m on the trail, all I can think about is relaxing in town and warm real food and cold beer or coffee. Then, in town, I just want to be back hiking and in nature. It’s too pulling forces that are constantly fighting each other. I think it has to do with my love for nature/outdoors and my love for big cities. Most people don’t have both I find.

Today as well was the first time I felt myself feeling lonely since I’ve been gone. I think it’s because the lack of people my age and the fact that I haven’t met anyone I really connected with in the last few towns I was in. I also think it has to do with being anxious and eager to get out of town and wanting to get back on trail.  You would think being on trail feels more lonely than towns but that’s the last place I feel it. I guess nature fills those gaps.

Anyways tomorrow should be an interesting day since I have no idea what to expect. Hoping everything falls into place!

Timberline Lodge to Bend

DAY 22: 0 miles 



Today was a day filled with a lot of bad timing. I wanted to get on the trail as soon as I could so I woke up early, as it was going to be a long day of commuting. To start off, the streetcars were delayed in Portland. From there I had to jump on a bus which I rode for an hour, then was to transfer to the Mt. Hood shuttle. Unfortunately, the Mt. Hood shuttle only runs a few times a day, so I had to wait an hour and a half for the next bus. Since I needed to get groceries anyways, I went to the convenience store to build my resupply. I had a lot of stuff on me that I need to ship to my next stop, so I went to the post office as well. Of course it was closed, since it was a Saturday, so I was really hoping I’d be able to ship it out of Timberline, or else I’d be carrying a lot more than my pack could carry. I went back to the bus stop where I met Scott and Carla, two others who were waiting for the Mt. Hood shuttle. Carla was also section hiking the PCT, and had been waiting for the bus since 9am. Poor girl! We all chatted for quite a while, when Carla noticed my bag of stuff I needed to ship. She told me there was a UPS store down the street that was open, but of course, the bus would be arriving in 10 minutes so I didn’t want to chance it. The next shuttle wasn’t coming for another 4.5 hours. We got on the bus which was about another hour, and got off at Timberline Lodge. I went straight to the gift shop to ask about mailing out my stuff. THANK GOODNESS they were able to!! I was not down to carry all that stuff for 5 days!!

It was already 4:00pm, and I didn’t really know what to do. The next camp wasn’t for another 5 miles, which I knew I could do, but didn’t know if I wanted to. I had such a long day of commuting and was super hungry, so I decided to eat at the lodge and then camp near site. I decided the rest would be beneficial so I could have a good day tomorrow.

From there I went to Timberline Lodge to eat a delicious but overpriced meal. The lodge was gorgeous and looked like a great vacation spot. It may look familiar to some, as the exteriors were used for the Overlook Hotel in the movie The Shining. 

The Timberline Lodge with a gorgeous view


After that, I went outside to set up camp. It was only 5:00pm and I was ready for bed.

When it’s 5pm and you’re ready for bed……

I went outside to read a little, when anther hiker passed by and stopped to chat. She was in her mid 40’s and had thru hiked the PCT NOBO last year. She told me her body was “addicted” to the distance and she tries to get out to do weekend sections as often as she can. I really hope my body feels the same way when I’m done and it translates to running!!A full marathon is my next goal!

She was doing some trail magic and offered me a beer, so we sat and chatted for a while longer. It was really cool to hear from another solo female hiker. She told me she was camping a mile south, but was back tracking in the morning to come back and eat breakfast at the Timberlines famous breakfast buffet. (The Timberline Lodge has a breakfast buffet that is often titled to be the best meal on the trail). As much as I LOVE breakfast, I was so eager to hit the trail that I was going to get up early and skip it. After hearing she was backtracking just to eat there again… I had to go. What was the rush anyways?

After she left, I went to my camp and fell asleep. Hopefully Oregon treats me with a good second first day on the trail!

Another view from Timberline Lodge, just south off the trail.


 


DAY 23: 21 miles, 

Since I was staying for breakfast, I was able to sleep in until 7:00am. Naturally, that did t happen. I was up at 5:00am, tossing and turning until I had enough and got up at 6:30am. I went to the lodge and waited for breakfast to open at 7:30am. Breakfast definitely didn’t disappoint- they had homemade waffles and pancakes with a topping bar, eggs, potatoes, a yogurt bar, fresh fruit, pastries… just about everything!

Yum yum yum yum!

I filled up fast and hopped right back on the trail. My day started with some beautiful views of Mt. Ranier. The terrain was very different from Washington, it was very dusty, coarseand flat. I spent the morning walking through Mt. Hood National Forest. It had almost felt like I wasn’t hiking the PCT. The trail was much more maintained than it was in Washington. No more blowdowns!!!

I flew through the first half of the day and couldn’t believe how fast I did the first 10 miles, especially considering I didn’t get on the trail  until 8:30am. It had to be a mistake. Must have been the flat terrain and new trail runners (which by the way I’m loving). I was so happy to be done with blisters.

I stopped for lunch and continued on. Just after the lunch, the trail lead to a gorgeous view of Mt. Ranier. I was mad I hadn’t waited to eat lunch there, had I known.


I sat for a few minutes admiring the view, when two other southbound section hikers passed by. They were from Montreal and had started in Snoqualmie, where I had gotten off. We talked for a bit then went on our way. I hiked slightly behind until we stopped at a site off of Timothy Lake. There was a campsite 2.5 miles further which I wanted to hike to so I could get my 21 miles in, and since it was only 4:00pm it made sense. I stopped to talk to the guys, who were talking about going swimming and making a campfire. This made me want to stay even more but I still decided to carry on.  0.3 miles before I reached my intended camp, I found a gorgeous campsite that I just couldn’t pass up. It was right off the lake with a flat space for my tent and a fire pit nearby. I immediately stopped to set up camp.

My favourite campsite on the trail so far.

I went swimming while it was still warm out and the water was gorgeous. While I was laying in the water eating spoonfuls of Nutella, I knew this was one of the happiest moments I’ve had on the PCT yet. I swam for a long time and read a bit by the water.

Beautiful view of Lake Timothy from my perfect campsite.

After that, I made my first campfire on the PCT (FINALLLLLLLY), which basically started itself. These were the things I had been waiting for. I had been really missing the camping aspect on the trail.


I am truly wondering if any campsite will beat this one. I was extremely happy to be ending the night without feeling neither cold, wet, miserable or sore. Definitely one of my favourite PCT memories yet.
DAY 24: 28 miles, 

The last few days I’ve had a terrible cough caused by the dust, which is only getting worse considering how dusty the trail is. Because of it, I really hadn’t been sleeping well. When my alarm went off at 5 I did not hesitate to turn it right off. I got up again at 7, which was later than I wanted to sleep in for.

While I walked through the forest, I did not regret sleeping in, as the light shone through the forest beautifully. One thing that has really frustrates me is that I cannot get a decent picture that even remotely captures the beauty of the forest here. I won’t be posting any until I think one suffices!

It’s funny how much longer the miles were in Washington. I flew through this morning. It was about 11:30am and I had done 13 miles. What?????? That had to be wrong. I wanted to break at 15 miles, but when I reached Warm Springs River it looked like a good lunch spot.

A few minutes later an Australlian northbounder, around my age, was passing by and decided to stop and eat with me. We talked about the trail and travel and tons of other stuff. He said he was honestly so ready to be done with the trail, something I have heard from many Northbounders. This made me feel happy about my decision to section hike. I never wanted to feel that way on trail, and after 2600 miles, it would be hard not to. He had said at this point, his favourite moments were stopping to talk to people like me, which made me feel good. We ended up taking for almost two hours, which was way longer than I intended but I couldn’t pass up the good company.

I continued on. As usual, the second half of the day was dragging. What slowed me down a lot were the fact that there were no views. In Washington, you ALWAYS had an incredible, substantial view, so it was a big change. My pace decreased incredibly and my feet were starting to ache. I took a short break to get water and eat candy (I honestly don’t even like candy but it seriously does wonders on the trail). I continued my dreaded last miles. I even had to play some music for the last two miles to get me through.

I wanted to go further since it was decently early and I was so close to 30 miles, but my feet were not having it. 28 miles was the most I’ve done so far so I didn’t feel too guilty.

I was really happy to run into the Austraillian today or else my day would have sucked. It was the first day I didn’t get any sort of views.

I set up camp at Jude Lake, went swimming and made a campfire again. I ate dinner, read a lot and wrote about my day. Honestly, having a campfire at the end of each day made everything so worth it.

Jude Lake.


The second half of the day had me starting to feel miserable, but once I was at camped I learned to love the day… minus the lack of views. Really hope tomorrow brings some nicer scenery!!


DAY 25: 30 miles!!!!!!! 

This morning I had a good pace going and for the first time I felt like a real hiker. I was glad to wake up with this feeling because today I was going to try and do 30 miles. One thing I liked about Oregon so far was that I didn’t have to wake up at 5:00am to be able to get a decent distance of hiking in.

I got to Olallie Lake Resort in a few miles where I scrimmaged through the hiker box and bought a few things.

View from Olallie Lake Resort. Lovely place and the workers were so friendly and kind.

There has been a missing 21 year old hiker in the area for a few days, so I have been hiking alongside a search and rescue team. It’s been very sad. One of the crew members stopped to talk to me a bit. It’s been so long now that they have stopped the search, but anyone in the Mt Jefferson area please keep your eyes and ears out. Here is more information regarding the search.

I had to push through a permitted camping area until I had only a few miles until my campsite. I was stopping almost every mile for a 30 second break, it was terrible. Right at the Hunts Creek Trail junction there was a BEAUTIFUL campsite with a view of Mt. Jefferson. I wanted to stop but I also wanted my 30 miles in, plus my intended campsite was listed as a viewpoint so it had to be good.
I finally got there and the sun was setting. The view was amazing.


DAY 26: 25 miles

Today I woke up not feeling it at all. I knew it wasn’t going to be a great day just by how I felt, but I tried to stay positive. It seemed that days I would end up in towns or resupplys were always hard.

I really had to push through the day. I had 25 miles to do and was only at 10, but I had to break. I sat by a pond and ate my food, not breaking for long. I packed up and continued.

Today was really hard for many reasons. I was seriously running out of things to think about. Lots of people have said you explore parts of your mind you didn’t know existed while hiking. That was not that case for me. It was also extremely hot out and no shade, as I was walking through burnt down forest for most of the day.


Burnt down forest looks cool for five minutes and then it sucks. All the water sources I had been passing had been dried up. I came to a patch of snow and filled my water bottle up in case.

I got to Santiam Pass at Hwy 20 where I saw a few Northbounders.  They were crowded around a water cache- the first one I’ve encountered while on the trail. I filled up, and even though I only had 6 miles until Big Lake Youth Camp, I didn’t think I was ever going to make it. I was so sick of this stupid burnt down forest.

I was so miserable these last miles and the camp was no where in sight. I was starting to believe it wasn’t real. FINALLY I reached my destination, just as dinner was being served.

Big Lake Youth Camp is a camp that is very hiker friendly. They invite hikers to stay, eat and hangout, all only by donation. They are even building a PCT hiker hut, where they have showers and laundry as well. A very accommodating place.

I was pretty happy when they were serving vegetarian taco salad for dinner. I loaded up my plate and went outside to eat. They had a gorgeous view of the lake and the day had now seemed worth it. I got to talking to a few of the leaders, got more food, and then had a shower which had been highly anticipated. After that, it was basically time for bed, so I joined a few other hikers by the coves where we cowboy camped on the shore of the lake. I couldn’t ask for a better spot. It was unbelievable. We watched the sun set, as the sky turned to black and was then filled with more stars than I could imagine. It blew me away. I wasn’t sure what my plans were for tomorrow, but I didn’t really care. That could wait.



DAY 27: 11 miles. 

I woke up today with another gorgeous view of the lake. I have been really torn about what I wanted to do next, and since I was enjoying my time at Big Lake so much, I thought this might be a good place to take some time and figure it out.

Morning view!

I got up and went to the lodge, where I started talking to one of the leaders. We talked for a long time and I really enjoyed his company. I grabbed some breakfast and went outside to eat. I hung out there after since it was so beautiful out and tried to figure out my plans. Another worker from the camp, Troy, came to talk and we ended up chatting for the whole afternoon. We had some really great conversation about home, travel, God, music and many other things. I was very thankful for the people I was encountering here. We did a little yoga since I was so sore still, then Troy went off to work. I saw by the shore to finalize my plans.

I had planned on staying another night at Big Lake and was debating with the idea of hiking more or getting off trail. I wanted a break and the next section was 8 days until I could get off trail. It was longer than I wanted. The problem was, the next section after that at Crater Lake was closed due to wildfires. It was one of my top sections to hike on the PCT so I was pretty bummed, especially seeing that it probably wouldn’t be open anytime soon.

Since I was feeling ready to get off trail, I thought it would be safest to follow through. With that, I realized it made most sense for me to leave Big Lake now, because it was 11 miles until the highway where I could camp and hitch into town the next morning. I felt bad not being able to say goodbye to the guys I talked to today, so I am hoping to get in touch. They both brought me so much peace and positivity.

I got back on trail which felt good. I also felt good to be hiking which definitely helped, considering I left at 3:00pm and was planning on doing 11 miles. I was angry to be back in burnt down forest and the heat was killer. I approached the dreaded lava rock which everyone warned me about. This section was interesting in terms of scenery because it was so different.



Sisters has a really interesting history for those who don’t know. There is a cluster of three glaciated stratovolcanoes; the North Sister, South Sister and the Middle Sister. Read more here, it’s super interesting!

I hiked through the lava rock which KILLED my ankles. I got to camp sooner than expected. I set up and went to bed pretty fast. I’ve been finding myself never hungry on trail and having to force myself to eat. Then in towns, I indulge In everything and am never full. I don’t think that’s normal.

Anyways off to bed with a few different days to follow…
DAY 28: 6 miles, off trail. 

I woke up today feeling really shitty. I felt nauseous and sick. I was super happy to be going to town. I packed up, hiked for a half mile in lava rock, and got the McKenzie Pass and Hwy 242 junction. I did not think this through as McKenzie Pass was going to be incredibly hard to hitch out of, since I was at the end of the highway. I hiked for about 6 miles down the street and a couple from Barcelona picked me up. They had an awesome van setup as they were traveling down the west coast too. We had many of the same spots planned to visit which was pretty cool. I was envious of there setup and hope to do that in the future!

They dropped me off at Sisters, where I immediately went to breakfast at Gallery. I was happy to see blueberry pancakes on the menu because that’s all I’ve been craving! A bunch of locals were interested in my travels, so I was quite busy talking most of the time I was there. The staff was incredibly sweet and the food was delicious- exactly what I needed. To my suprise, the old couple I had been talking to behind me paid for my meal… so sweet!

I walked around Sisters a little which was a really cool small town with a lot of cute shops. I needed to catch a bus, which required me to go to Bend. So I hitched a ride there, got a room at the Three Sisters Inn (which was extremely expensive and did not provide a hiker rate) and spent the night in bed watching tv!
My plans have really jumped all over the place so the next few days have been interesting. Thanks for reading, I know this was a pretty long one!

Portland

As most people know, Portland is known to be a very hipster city with a very specific vibe. For this reason, I was very excited to visit and had a feeling I would really fit in. I was wrong. I actually kind of hate this place.

The Portland vibe is actually impossible to explain. I felt a lot of negative energy and had an irrational feeling that everyone was judging me. I wish I had someone else with me so I knew if it was just me being crazy!

I went downtown and the first place I went to was Voodoo doughnuts, a VERY famous and popular spot. There was a line to get in, where I started talking to a few ladies from Michigan (go blue!). These ladies were the only people I met in Portland. I ordered a few donuts and my god, they were amazing. They were also the size of my head.

I know I’m in the right place when i find a wall made of glitter!!!! 💕💕💕

The best doughnuts you will ever eat! Peach fritter, chocolate peanut butter fritter and a lemon crueller! YUM!

After that, I walked around downtown more, checked out Powells bookstore (the largest independent book store), and then went to REI to buy my feet a gift. I tried on a million shoe styles and sizes, finally purchasing a new pair that HOPEFULLY won’t make my feet cry. Please just no more blisters!!

Afterwards I went out to dinner at 10 Barrel Brewery which was amazing, PLUS they had beer that was named after Lord of the Rings so you really couldn’t beat it.

Otherwise, I am feeling eager to get out of Portland and am ready to get on the trail.

 
DAY 21:

Today I took a bus to Cannon Beach and it was absolutely stunning. I’ve never seen such a beautiful beach! I hung out there for the day, wandered, explored, took photos, read and just relaxed. I found a few hidden spots tucked away which was awesome. I had my own private beach. It was a beautiful day.


Tomorrow I am off to the trail and I am so excited! It’s going to be a long commute and I have lots to do still, so hopefully it all works out!

Washington

Washington, you showed me some pretty incredible views. I tried to capture the beauty of this state in a small video I made. Enjoy!​​

Seattle

The next day I woke up from the Summit Inn, checked out, grabbed a bite to eat at the disappointing pancake house again, and got right on the road. I got a hitch from a man who actually saw me in the pancake house and was wondering if I was a hiker in need of a ride (not hard to tell with the big backpack lol). He was very kind and we had a wonderful chat during the drive. One thing I couldn’t get over was he was going completely out of the way in order to drive me to Seattle. He said he had nothing better to do and wanted to help me out. During the drive he had told me how he lost his wife a year ago and ever since he has been living to “seize the day” everyday. His kindness was inspiring and I was grateful to cross paths with him.

When I got to Seattle, I went to Bennetts house, a host from Couchsurfing I had made arrangements with. He had two other travellers staying with him, Fabby and Jana, who were from Switzerland. They had plans to go to Lake Union with the boats, have a few beers, and go swimming. All of this sounded ideal. I was really glad to have something fun planned for this day to keep my mind off of questioning my thru hike.

We had a wonderful time at the lake, which overlooked the city skyline. Seattle was much smaller than I expected. We grabbed a bite to eat and then went back to Bennetts.

That night we went to St. Michaels Cathedral, where they have a service on Sunday nights with an all male choir performance beforehand. A lot of college students go to the church and bring blankets to lay on while the choir sings, then leave before the regular service begins. It was really interesting and I have really never seen anything like it. I was really happy Bennett brought us to that as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Afterwards, we went to Sizzle Pie Pizza which was probably the best pizza I’ve ever had. We hung out for a bit and then went back home.  It was a really good first day in Seattle!

 

 

Today I wanted to spend the day wandering the city. Me, Fabby and Jana went downtown and explored around Pike Place Market. There were tons of food spots and little shops with lots of people everywhere.

Some really cool art i wanted to purchase! Unfortunately backpacking doesnt allow you to buy yourself presents!

The girls wanted to do more touristy stuff and I kind of wanted to just wander, so we split up for a bit. I found a store called Earthbound Trading Co., which I immediately fell in love with after looking in their display window. One thing that sucks is knowing I can’t buy much, which was a problem considering I wanted everything in the store. Luckily they have an online store that I can take full advantage of when I return home!

Some cool items from Earthbound Trading Co.

 

After another long day, I met the girls back at Bennetts. We went to Kerry Park that night to watch the sunset which was gorgeous. The view was really cool because you got to see the skyline of Seattle as well as a view of Mt. Ranier. Beautiful!

Mt. Rainier just to the right of the skyline.

After, we went out for dinner which I was DYING for and then called it a night. Another great day in Seattle!

DAY 16:

I knew today was going to be a good day because it was going to start with PANCAKES! On the trail, Candy Cane made it very clear that if I were to go to Seattle, I had to go to Portage Bay for pancakes. I had told Bennett about our signs we made each other on the trail, and I woke up to this this morning. Amazing!!!!


Portage Bay did not disappoint. The pancakes were delicious and they have a topping bar you can load your pancakes with. Sooooooo good!!!


We toured around the city a bit more, went to see the troll, and found a really cool bookstore where we all made purchases at.


I went back downtown to keep myself busy for the rest of the day and ended up hanging out at a Starbucks for quite a while, did some blogging and made a few friends. I was really liking everyone here! Lots of really cool people.

 

 

I woke up and grabbed some coffee with a friend, then departed Seattle. Off to Oregon! I arrived in Portland and was pretty tired from the long commute, so today was very uneventful! I basically arrived, settled in and went to bed.

I had the best time in Washington and am excited to carry onward. Hopefully Oregon brings it because Washington set the standard high! Missing the PCT lots and am sooooo eager to get back on! Probably won’t stay in Portland long for this reason alone!

Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie

DAY 11: July 20, 18 miles, (m. 2461-2443)

I was worried about today because it was the first day after our full zero. Luckily, it was a good day. We woke up early to get a hitch to Stevens Passfrom the Dinsmores and got right on the trail. It was a gorgeous day out and the sun was shining, something we definitely missed. No words can describe how happy I was to see sun all day. The hike today was generally easy. There were few switchbacks, but steep inclines instead. All day we had clear views of the many lakes, forests and mountains that surrounded us. 


I got to lunch first again today and was feeling good. I talked to a couple of Austraillians for a bit and then the rest of the girls arrived. The second half of the day went slower for me. There was a lot of large rocky terrain, especially at Piper Pass, which was beautiful but also not the best for my feet. 


We got to Deception Lake and camped for the night. Everything was good except for the bugs. I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MANY MOSQUITOS. We all raced to put our bug nets on and set up our tents so we could hideout and not deal with them. We all ate in our tents but still socialized and planned our next day. We are going to try to do a 22 mile day tomorrow so let’s hope for another good day! 

DAY 12: July 21, 22 miles (m. 2443-2421)

So 22 miles today almost killed us. No one was really having a good day. All morning I was feeling super sluggish, kind of putting me off for the day. To make things worse, we probably picked one of the hardest days for this section to push for a higher mileage day. We had 14 miles before lunch and I really thought it would never come. We stopped to eat, and naturally the sun went away and it started to rain lightly. All we wanted was to enjoy some sun!!!!! 


We carried on the rest of the day and I trailed behind. My pace was super slow and I knew it was going to be late when we got to camp. I caught up with Clementine and Crusher and we finally got to camp together around 8:30, our latest night so far. It was definitely a long day and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep eat dinner in my tent 5 times. We decided not to wake up until 6 the next day so we were all pretty stoked to sleep in! 

DAY 13: July 22, 17 miles, (m. 2421-2404)

Today we had to chose between doing 17 miles or 21, as there were no tents sites in between. Safe to say we chose 17. Another slow day for me and I could really start feeling my blisters again. 


This section of the PCT has been interesting because it’s in between two very accessible towns, and it’s only 75 miles. This means it is much more populated and we have been running into a lot of day/section hikers. I really don’t like seeing this many people on the trail and I am dreading when we start crossing paths with all the NOBO thru hikers. It’s going to be crazy. Today went super slow and when it came to lunch, I couldn’t find the girls anywhere. I walked back a half mile to see if I missed them but I couldn’t see them anywhere. I was so hungry I just stopped at the tent site and ate my lunch alone. There were about 25 Boy Scouts running around screaming, lost with their leaders which made me really annoyed. I ate fast and continued on hoping to find the girls, and surely I did. They had missed the tent site and figured I’d find them. We also ran into Ben and Nuthatch, two hikers we met at the Dinsmores who we had been crossing paths with everyday. 

The rest of the day went slow again, but we arrived at Spectacle Lake and had a gorgeous view. Even though we still had a few more miles to go, we stopped on the ridgeway to enjoy the view. Me, Clemenine and Crusher had a great talk. These are my favourite moments on the trail. 

We finished up the last few miles and right when we arrived at camp we saw two huge deer who hung out for a while. We all ate dinner in our tents since it was so cold.


 A couple camped beside us, who we talked to for about 30 minutes while in our tents, before actually getting out to say hi face to face. It was a freezing cold night, and we have a big day tomorrow and will finally be in Snoqualmie.

DAY 14: July 23, 13 miles, (m. 2404-2391)

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise today! A great way to start our day. 


On the other hand, I was back to hiking in flip flops! Woooo. It wasn’t the most fun day for my feet. The beginning of the day was a constant, steep incline and we all felt like we were traveling 0.1 miles an hour. We kept going up, wondering if the trail would ever lead us down. It was cold and misty and I was starting to believe warm weather doesn’t exist. 


Another thing that was really slowing is down was the terrain. It was big, chunky rock which really kills your feet because of the uneven ground (especially in flip flops). 

Motivation to get to town, thanks to Clementine. We often erite each other notes in the dirt for encouragment and motivation!


We finally started going downhill and we were all caught up together. It was really nice to be hiking with all the girls at once (a rare occurance) because I knew it was going to be my last day with them. 


We couldn’t believe all the day hikers we were running into since we were so close to town. Frankly, we were not happy with how many people we were seeing. The trail being so populated was not the same and didn’t feel right. We felt like celebrities because everyone was asking us questions about our hike and a group even asked for our picture. You can really tell the difference between day hikers and thru hikers (mainly looks and smell). We really enjoyed the smell of laundry every time a day hiker passed us. We finally got into town and hangout at the famous Aardvark Food Truck where we were greeted with a free beer. The Austraillians, Ben and Nuthatch, and the couple who had camped with us the night before were all there. We had a great time hanging out, sorting through our resupplys and digging through the hiker box. 

Ne, Clementine, Crusher, Candy Cane, Ben and Nuthatch at the Aardvark.


We finally made our way to the Pancake House, but were pretty disappointed with the food and service. I said goodbye to the girls which was super sad, but I knew I would cross paths with them again soon on the trail. 

Last time with all the girls 😥


I booked a room at the Summit Inn and enjoyed one of the longest showers of my life. I relaxed in bed for the rest of the night and fell fast asleep!

Stehekin to Stevens Pass

Day 4: July 13, 15 miles, (m. 2561-2546)

I woke up this morning feeling like I was going to have a good day. Very glad i woke up feeling this good because it was a pretty tough day with a lot of steep incline and rough terrain. One thing I am really enjoying about being with the girls is that we always choose a lunch spot to meet at, as well as a campsite at the end of the day. This gives us the freedom to hike alone or with each other, but always gives us time together at lunch and at night. This day in particular we had a beautiful lunch. Everyone was finding the day really hard, except for me (surprisingly). We went off trail a bit to a campsite with a beautiful view, laid out in the sun and enjoyed our lunch. Definitely one of my favourite moments on trail. We ended up spending a little too much time here, but it was definitely worth it. Because of our extended stay and the constant incline all day, we didn’t put in the mileage we intended. We got to camp and we were all pretty sore, so we went to the “recovery creek” to soak our feet. My blisters are getting real bad and my feet are starting to swell, but I can only hope it doesn’t get worse.
Day 5: July 14, 20 miles, (m. 2546-2526)

Today was my favourite day on the PCT. The morning was an easy hike through one of the most beautiful forests I’ve ever seen. All day I found my eyes wandering everywhere and taking everything in. It was so magical and enchanted and I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings.

The weather was gorgeous and the sun was shining through the leaves of the trees. For some reason, I was cruising through and got to our lunch spot an hour and a half before the others. We had another nice lunch and continued on, hoping the rest of the day would be as easy as the first half. We were wrong. We approached some switchbacks and were climbing up rainforest for forever. We FINALLY got to the top and realized how worth it it all was. We were at the top of Glacier Peak and the view was absolutely, insanely gorgeous. The whole time I was hiking I couldn’t even process it.


I was at the front of the group and was apparently so distracted by the view that I passed our planned camp spot. I ended up hiking 2 extra miles to another site but it just meant we added more to our day!!!!

Today I was feeling very thankful that I am actually out pursuing not only my dreams, but other people’s as well. I am extremely proud of myself and these other girls that we are all the type of people who can go out and do these adventures on our own.
Day 6: July 15, 18 miles (m. 2526-2508)

Today we were not blessed with the weather we had had the day before. Lots of rain. We were going to be at high elevation for most of the day so we knew it would be a cold one. My feet were really starting to hurt but I was pushing through. We got to Mica Lake which was a beautiful, small, blue lake at the top of a mountain. It was so quiet and remote, we all just hung out there for a bit.

We continued our day to encounter lots of snow, which made us lose the trail a bit. We had trouble navigating back and it took us a while, but we finally got on trail and were very relieved.
Day 7: July 16, 18 miles, (m. 2508-2490)

Another day of rain. I honestly don’t remember much from this day other than the fact that my feet were really starting to slow me down. It wasn’t only the blisters, but the swelling now too. I was behind the girls for the entire day and caught up with them at lunch. After lunch, I trailed behind again, cursing my feet on every step. To make things worse, I got off trail at a trail junction which took my off course. The good thing about the PCT is that it’s pretty easy to know when you’re not on trail. It looks and feels different. Right away I knew, and since my phone was dead I had to navigate with my maps and compass, quickly finding out where I was and how to get back. This course took me about 3 extra miles, which really sucked considering my feet. I finally got back to camp but still had a smile on my face. We camped at Lake Sally Ann and I quickly ate and went to bed and hoped for a better next day.

 
Day 8: July 17, 20 miles (m. 2490-2470)

Today was definitely the worst day yet on the PCT. We woke up to another day of rain. Everything including my socks, shoes, pack and DOWN sleeping bag had been wet for the past few days and all I wanted was to be warm and dry. My feet were not okay today, making me so incredibly slow that I could barely walk. We had another day of high elevation where we would run into snow, we were just hoping it wouldn’t be like the day before. We ran into some bad spots around Red Pass where we had to put on crampons, which I was happy to use again just to get my use out of them.

My feet were so incredibly sore today that at one point I was barely moving and knew I would never make it to town if I kept going like this. I had no other choice but to take my boots off and hike in my flip flops. I was so behind because of my feet that I didn’t even bother stopping at our lunch spot because I had assumed the girls wouldn’t be there when I arrived. It was already 3 and I had only done 10 miles, only halfway through the day. It poured all day which made hiking in flip flops extra not fun. I summited Grizzly Peak, where I finally caught up with the girls. Each step was pure torture today and I really didn’t know how I would make it any further. I was glad for it to be done and really hoped the 10 miles to town the next morning would go by fast.
Day 9: July 18, 10 miles (m. 2470-2461.7)

We woke up at 4:30 so we could get a move on to town right away. The pancakes and hot chocolate were calling our name and were a good incentive to keep moving. The first 5 miles flew by, but after that things definitely dragged out. Lake Vahalla gave us stunning views and I would have loved to spend more time there if we weren’t so eager to get to town. The last miles dragged on forever but we finally got there. We all ordered glorious hot chocolate and indulged in our cell service which had been the first time since being on trail. We hitchhiked into town which didn’t take much, and headed straight to Cascadia Inn for our blueberry pancake breakfasts. After that we got a ride from John to the Dinsmores, which is a famous Hiker Haven along the trail. They have a den set up just for hikers filled with memorabilia, PCT artifacts, and gear. They have every service available for hikers such as laundry, showers, hiker bins, TV, wifi, beds and more. It is truly amazing the time, work and effort they have put forth to help hikers along he PCT. We spent the night here, ordered some amazing pizza and watched movies until it was time to sleep.

The Dinsmores Hiker Haven


Day 10: July 19, 0 miles! 

Today was our first zero day! We were all unsure if we wanted to take a zero today, but we felt like we did not have enough time the day before to get everything done that we needed. We went for breakfast at the Cascadia Inn again, went to the post office and did some errands. We cleaned our packs, dried our gear, relaxed, and enjoyed our day off. We ended the night in a similar way, with pizza and movies. I’m nervous for tomorrow because of my feet again, but I know this next stretch will only be about 4 days. My feet definitely needed the recovery time and are feeling much better, so hopefully no more hiking in flip flops!

Harts Pass to Stehekin

Day 1: July 9, 6.3 miles. 

Trail angel Chris picked me and another solo thru hiker, Riley, from our hotel in Bellingham. The plan was to meetup with Bert, who was driving 3 other hikers, so we could hitch a ride with him to the start. I had talked to the other hikers driving up with him and made plans to start together. Chris is a retired ranger who has worked on the PCT for years, so he had tons of stories to tell during the 3 hour drive. We arrived at the hiker hut for a break, where someone had told us there was a bad mudslide on Harts Pass road so some of it was closed off. Chris drove us as far as he could since his car couldn’t take the rock and dropped us off on the road. We saw Bert drive pass and he said he would come back to get me and Riley once he dropped the other hikers off. In the meantime, me and Riley started to hike up Harts Pass road, which was a ridiculous incline. We hiked and hiked unil we realized Bert wasn’t coming back (not really sure what happened there lol). We were both super anxious to get on the trail. We ended up hiking 6 miles up Harts Pass road, which kind of sucked since we could have been putting that mileage on the trail. It all worked out though and we finally got there. Me and Riley parted ways and my hike was finally about to begin. About two steps onto the trail I saw 2 huge deer. The beginning was mostly ridgeway with small switchbacks, but before I knew I was mountainside. I had to use my crampons once and right then is when I decided how much I hate snow. The scary part about crossing the snow sections is that one fall and you’re sliding down a steep mountain, ultimately ending in no good outcome. The snow wasn’t bad at all looking back now, but I wanted to be safe since I was alone and had no experience. It started raining and I was so ridiculously cold and knew I needed to pitch camp soon. About 6.3 miles in I saw 3 tents set up so I set up down the valley out of there way. I saw more snow on the mountainside and was not looking forward to that in the morning. At this point I was freezing and jumped right in my sleeping bag. I was at about 6555′ elevation. It rained all night and I’d be surprised if I even slept 3 hours. That night was awful and cold and miserable and I was really wondering why I chose to do this.

DAY 2: July 10, 21.4 miles 

Waking up I felt good that it was a new day, regardless of the night before. No matter how bad the night before is, I always found myself waking up happy and refreshed. It was still freezing and misty that morning but it looked so pretty. I crossed the small section of snow and continued on. What surprised me most about this day was how much different terrain I crossed. At first I was on mountain ridgeways, then entered some stunning forest filled with mist and fog at Galcier Pass (el. 5520). Soon after, I went through a lot of overgrown rainforest which was not fun nor scenic. Rainforest is basically the worst thing on the trail. I finally got back into forest again and was happy, but not for long. Around Mebee Pass Trail there were huge tree blowdowns blocking the trail, which meant climbing over or under them in order to get by. This slowed me down drastically, tired me out, and had me almost losing the trail a few times. I couldn’t believe how bad they were.

examples of some of the blowdowns.

This went on for probably 4 miles but it felt like forever. I thought it would never end. I passed a few people on the trail that day, but didn’t stop to talk. I finally got to Methow Pass and was feeling defeated. It was only about 3:30 and I had done about 14.5 miles but after all those blowdowns, there was no way I could hike any longer. At the top Methow Pass I saw a group of 3 girls; Candy Cane, Crusher and Clementine. They thought it was funny I was using real maps rather than the iPhone map, so they gave me my first trail name, “Old School”. Apparently you get 3 before you get to chose which one sticks. I took a short break talking to them and they convinced me to hike longer with them (which I still can’t believe after how defeated I was feeling). We hiked along Cuthroat Pass along the ridgeway of the mountain and it was unbelievabley stunning. This is still my favourite view from the trail so far and I’m a little sad I didn’t stop to take a picture, I was just so amazed. The ridgeway was huge, beautiful red rocks that steeped down overlooking mountains and forest. We went through a few more snow sections that made me nervous, and I found myself incredibly tired but really wanted to camp with the girls that night. I pushed myself and somehow ended up hiking a WHOLE 21.4 MILES ON MY FIRST FULL DAY OF HIKING. HOW?? That was my full mileage which I assumed I would work up to, but apparently not. We got to camp and I was so miserable and tired I went straight to bed. I definitely shouldn’t have pushed myself that hard on my first day (exactly what mum told me not to do) but I really wanted to stay with the girls. I told them to leave without me in the morning so that I could make sure I got a full sleep, and hopefully I’d catch up with them the next day.

Me, Candy Cane, Crusher and Clementine. So happy and thankful to have met these girls.

DAY 3: July 11, 18 miles

I woke up about a half an hour after the girls and I felt good. I took my time packing up then got right on the trail. A few miles in I crossed Hwy 20 at Rainy Pass, entering the North Cascades National Park.

After crossing the Hwy, the trail kind of disappeared into a few paths, so I took out my maps. A few moments later I saw Clementine, who had just ran into trail angels. They gave us some fresh fruit for lunch. We continued on trail, met with the others and stopped for lunch. The last few miles of the day definitely dragged out (as usual) and my blisters on the back of my heels were making me dread each step. Candy Cane and I finally got there and plopped ourselves down on the campsite, removing our shoes immediately. We layed there for a bit until the other two came and then we set up camp. Like every night, we made dinner and went straight to bed, preparing for another early morning the next day. It was the first night I didn’t go to bed miserable and I was excited for a good day tomorrow.

DAY 4: July 12,

Today was the day we would get to our first town! I still can’t believe I made it on my original schedule. We woke up super early hiking 6 miles to catch the first shuttle into Stehekin. There were quite a few hikers there that went into town with us. Our motivation all morning was the famous bakery that the shuttle stopped at before entering town. This is acclaimed to be the best bakery on the entire trail and we were stoked for some fresh, warm food. It definitely didn’t disappoint. Stehekin is a small, small town that had a tiny log cabin as a school, a variety store, a lodge and a post office. No internet or cell service anywhere. Definitely a different lifestyle.


We hung out for a bit, did laundry and talked to our new friend Forest Ninja who was an older lady who’s done many sections of the PCT. She had so many stories, advice, and tips for us and it was lovely talking to her, we were very thankful. I picked up my resupply box, shipped my extra food to my next stop, and then went to wait for the bus. A few minutes later we saw the bus race past us and we realized we were waiting at the wrong place. A man in town offered to drive us to the stop, so we jumped in the back of his pickup and luckily got on the shuttle. We did about 8 more miles once we got on trail. Today was a really hard day for me mentally on the trail. I had to stop looking at the PCT as a whole because I was starting to really doubt myself. Definitely wasn’t my favourite day but I knew tomorrow would be something new.

The Dreaded Resupply…

So one thing I learned today was how much I hate resupplying… Since I had extra time in Bellingham, I decided to make enough boxes to send to myself for the Washington section. This was going to be nice because it will also put less stress on the beginning section of my hike, especially when I’m still trying to get in the swing of things. 

Some people get super technical with there resupplys (as you probably should) by making spreadsheets, adding calories, measuring out portions, etc. I didn’t have the time, patience, or tools to do this, and honestly I can’t imagine putting anymore work into than I already did.  

I ended up making 3 boxes; one for Stehekin, Stevens Pass and Whites Pass. There is one resupply in between these stops called Snoqualmie, but I’ve decided to resupply in town since it has a good store. Washington is the best section to resupply because the towns are small and don’t have much to offer, so it worked out good. 


I shipped my boxes through UPS and shipping was about $60 in total. To ship boxes from Canada, ONE box was going to cost $80!!! Insane. Definitely not worth it. 

After packing up all my food, I can definitely see myself using a bounce box along the way. Right now everything is very go with the flow, but I am glad to have the Washington part of my trip planned out so I can focus on getting a good start to my hike! 

Anyways I’m FINALLY off tomorrow morning and I’m not sure when I’ll have service again! Might be a while til you hear from me! I’ll try to update as soon as I can. 

A SOBO Start

So this past month my start plans have changed probably 20 times. It seemed every day I was considering another option. 
One of the hardest things to plan as a SOBO hiker is your start point. Because you can’t legally walk across the Canadian boarder into America, most hikers start at Harts Pass. From Harts Pass, hikers often go North to Monument 78, then turn around and go South to get the full mileage and see more of the PCT. 

My original plan was to head South from Harts Pass, but they were changing multiple times due to flights, timing, ride shares, and SNOW. In the end, my plans took a full circle and ended up matching my original ones so it all seemed rather silly. 

I flew into Bellingham on the 5th and was hoping to start my hike on the 7th. I started talking to a fellow SOBO Riley, who was also looking for a ride to Harts. She was planning on starting on the 9th, so I decided to wait so we could start together, split costs and be more eco friendly. Trail angel Chris is driving us and we will be meeting Bert “Detour” who is driving 4 other hikers to Harts Pass as well. We’re gunna have a full party! Riley is going North but the other 4 hikers are heading South so we decided to start together and see how it goes! 

One thing that is incredibly important while planning your hike is to just go with the flow and don’t get too attached to plans. There are always so many different options and solutions. Things will always fall into place as they need to!