FALL IN WASHINGTON

Day 140 – 9\18\15

27.5 miles

2544.2 total miles

PCT mile 2509.5

Today was a bit of a hard day for me.  We woke up in a dry area but outside it had been raining all night.  It was going to be a damp day, but it looked like there were a few breaks in the clouds.  The day started with a big descent followed by 1 of many of our ascents, and the first one kicked my but.  I have been pushing so hard since hitting Washington that my butt is starting to cramp up.  

   The difficulty of the Sierras was tough, you would climb 3000-5000 feet at one time but you wouldn’t have to climb again all day.  You usually walked off your pain in a large flat area in-between Passes.  The difficulty of Washington is just as tough because you will only ascend 800-2000 foot hills but there is no flat spot to recover.  You are either walking up or down steep hills all day.  Also in Washington you have the cold wet weather which plays with your mind.

    But today Washington came out swinging.  We had astonishing views of glacier peak and all its surrounding snow filled mountains.  It seemed like we would spend a tiny bit of time hiking in the forest then out of the blue we’d be standing on a cliff looking out for miles.  The fall colors are beaming right now.  I feel like I’m in a Starburst commercial.  Purples, reds, oranges, pinks, blues, yellows, too many colors to list and they all play together so the contrast is marvelous.

     After finally setting up camp.  We had an awesome dinner just as it started to rain again.  I feel bad for ultra-light hikers without good rain protection this year.  We had had a ton of rain, good luck to them if there are any still on the trail.

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6 Comments

  • Amy Wirkkala says:

    Hi,

    I am writing because I am seriously thinking about hiking the PCT next spring. I just don’t know if that is the path (pun intended 🙂 ) that I want to take. Since you seem like you have been on the trail a few months, do you recommend giving up everything in your life to hike the trail?? Any insight you have I would greatly appreciate. I admire what you are doing and hope I have the courage to do it myself.

    Sincerely,
    Amy Wirkkala

  • ragerats says:

    Dear Amy
    When my girlfriend Jessica aka J-walk first asked me to do the PCT with her I laughed and thought she was joking. I had never backpacked a day in my life. But I looked into it and saw that it looked like fun. I did a few over night hikes and that’s when I realized that I seriously had a chance to try. Maybe I wouldn’t make it to Canada, but I could sell all my stuff, quit my job, and cancel all of my bills. I did about a year of research and planning and finally the day came to get on the plane to Mexico. I had my set backs, I had a plantar fibroma on the bottom of my foot, I started with a terrible sinus infection, and my backpack weighed about 55-60 pounds, but I had come way to far not to try. I remember stepping out of my car and walking up the hill to the terminal at the Mexican border and it was a struggle. But it was the start of a new life, a chance to start from scratch and see new places and meet new people. I kept an open mind and tried to wake up everyday with positive thoughts. It’s not impossible, as a matter of fact it’s not really even that hard. I had some serious problems here and there, but I knew I wasn’t going to die. The weeks felt like months and the months felt like years. I felt like one summer was a lifetime. It was as though time just stopped. When you work every day your Brain just goes into cruise control and the next thing you know, your summer is over. But out in the wilderness you are completely in the moment and time stands still. When I hit the Canadian border I felt like I was on the trail for 5 years.
    This was by far the greatest experience I have ever had and I would do it again if I could go back in time. You can do it too, it’s not that hard if you keep a positive outlook. Sometimes your gear will break, and the rain will soak you. You might run low on money or have a hard time hitching into town. You might lose something or have rodents tear into your gear at night. But you will adjust and keep going. And I can seriously say looking back on the whole thing, it wasn’t that hard unless I got in a negative frame of mind. That is the best advice I can give. Be positive and happy and great things will come.

  • sky evans says:

    Wow! Great pictures. Are these colors for real? If so, again. ..wow.

  • Rees Hughes says:

    What wonderful photos of autumn in the Washington Cascades! Stunning . . . good luck with your race with the coming winter to finish the trail.

    I maintain a website where I post photos and stories from the trail (PCT, that is). It is a labor of love that I have been doing for the past four years. With your permission, I would love to post some of your recent photos. I know that a broader audience would appreciate them.

    I will give you full credit and link to your website.

    Rees Hughes

  • ragerats says:

    Yes sky evens all of the photos in Oregon and Washington are unedited. The colors of Washington in the fall were unbelievable.

    And Rees Hughes I’ve been finished for a month. I will finish my blog in the next week. I’ve been very busy putting my life back together. But you have my permission to use any photo of mine that you want.
    Cheers.

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