Day 124 – September 10

Keeping it short because I’m way too sleepy!!!

I did about 17 miles to the road to hitch to Mazama to get my passport and the first car I saw when I reached the road was MY PARENTS!!!!!!! They drove all the way up to see me (they wanted to go to Canada when I finished but no passports!) I guess they very last minute decided to find people to cover their shifts for a couple days! So so so sweet. And my brother was there in Mazama with my pup Ripley! I was supposed to meet them in Canada but he was already up so… DOG!

I love my family so much!!!!!!

Also, yesterday I saw another bear! This time it was only 5 feet from me! I find it hilarious that I worry about bears all the time but then when it comes to one actually being there, I don’t freak out at all… (I have bear-anoia at night haha) I scared him off with some obnoxious noises.

I was stung by something today and it made me fling my trekking pole across the trail. I don’t know what it was but it HURT. My arm is incredibly sore from whatever it was.


ALSO, MY BIRTHDAY IS IN ONE MONTH! WOOHOOOOOO! Also the day I’ll be picking Lindsey up from the airport!! So freeeeakin excited.

Day 122 – September 8

5526.3 to 2539.9 (23.6 miles) – 
Today WAS a good day!!! The morning was a bit rough, everyone and everything was soaked and cold. It drizzled for a bit, and no one got out of their tents. I heard alarms ringing, but suddenly being turned off (same). No one wanted to move from their somewhat warm sleeping bags. 

When it stopped drizzling, I heard movement! So I started to get up as well. I heard someone yell “SUNNNNNN”, and when I got out of my tent, everyone in the campsite had their face toward the sun, basking in the bit of warm rays that we hadn’t felt in days. I knew it would be a better day! I decided to take it easy today. I got a late start and a few things slowed me down anyways. 

The first ten miles were downhill. I got them done fairly quickly, but didn’t want to slip and fall anymore. But of course, I did. Another log crossing got me!! I used a smaller log as a step to get over the large one, but it was wet and I slipped pretty bad. My leg went sideways and I bashed my knee. I didn’t let it ruin the day, though. I’m still alive and I’m still happy!! Just very excited to be almost done… 

Later on, I reached a junction for the old Pct route. The guide mentioned that it would be a short cut, cutting off 5 miles. However, you have to ford the Suiattle River and not get lost on the overgrown old trail. I suppose if others were with me, I would have done it. But alone, no thanks. Plus wetter feet sounds awful. I pushed on to the big bridge to cross the river, and I’m so glad I did! Since there was no tree coverage, I was fully exposed to the sun! I decided to take lunch on it. The sun would come and go, but I was able to dry out my gear. My sleeping bag most importantly! It was soaked. A girl at camp was worried for me and gave me an emergency blanket… haha. It is pretty cold here at tonight’s camp, if my sleeping bag and pad weren’t dry, I would be miserable. 

After lunch, I climbed about 4,000 feet up in elevation. But it was pretty gradual! I kind of like inclines in cool weather. My uphill hiker legs are stronger than ever after the other night, forcing myself to run uphill to camp before it got dark!

A few men on horses passed by me, heading south. I wonder how long they have been out, it’s been so rough and rainy…. poor horses. Several miles later, I saw a trail junction sign on the tree, with a temporary sign underneath that was informing us of a recent fire closure on that trail. I noticed right down the hill behind the sign, that there was smoke from someone’s fire. I thought maybe there were people camping early or drying their gear. I looked around and saw no one. Someone didn’t completely put their fire out. It really pisses me off that there’s people out here that really don’t even give a sh*t. I dropped my pack, grabbed my water and poured it on the crackling embers. A girl came and saw what I was doing and helped me, along with two others who gave me all of their water. It took 4 peoples full supply of water until it stopped smoking and crackling. On the way back up to the trail, I saw loads of horse crap all over the camp area. It was those men with the horses. Ugh!!!

Still didn’t let the day go bad! At that point, I only had 4 more miles to where I wanted to camp. Such an amazing few miles! I could actually see the views around me, fog free! Mountains covered in snow, and miles and miles of green trees all around. I finally got to see some parts of northern Washington (finally my views weren’t just blank white….!)

It only drizzled for a couple minutes the entire day! I hope my last 4 days are better weather too. It would be so lovely!

I’m in camp, there’s a group of 4 southbound flip floppers here. They told me about the last two towns up ahead, and one told me about the wolves up here… Oh great!!

*update: I got very little sleep because everyone in this camp has a monstrous cough along with a very bad case of the farts… I was tented in the middle of all of em!

Day 121 – September 7

Day 121 – September 72499 to 5526.3 (27.3 miles) –

I don’t even know how to describe this day. Basically, it was 27 miles of an all-in-one obstacle course, car wash, slip n’ slide. I’ll go into depth, but I’ll start with the positive. 

This morning was pure beauty from the second I woke up. Right when I opened my eyes, the sun was rising behind the mountains, with the clouds turning pink and a deer was walking right past my tent with it all in the background. I felt so good and so very happy to be out here. 

The first 7 miles were downhill, which I knocked out in only 2 hours. The woods below felt like some kind of fairytale storybook. The light was shining through the trees with fog, the birds chirping all around and bright green moss covering every inch of the forest floor. It was so magical. 

THEN!!! The fun was over. It was fully cloudy, my feet soaked and caked with mud, and the first climb began. It wasn’t too bad at first, but every tenth of a mile there were fallen trees you have to climb over, under or around. Fallen trees are one of the big causes to injury on the trail. I fell countless times, slipping in the mud or on the slippery logs. The whole way down was like this. With one of the logs, you couldn’t climb over or under very easily, so I followed previous footsteps that lead up the steep slope to go around it. I slipped in the mud again and fell all the way down. My trekking pole got stuck in the mud and the tip ended up breaking off. 

The southbounders that passed me looked miserable and exhausted, some covered in mud. This frightened me for what was ahead…

The next climb was just about 3,000 feet in elevation gain, over 4.5 miles. Never ending, steep muddy switchbacks. It was already getting late, but there wasn’t any tentsites until the top. It had been raining for several hours and I was soaked from head to toe. I kept thinking about the worst possible situations… “I’m going to slip and injure myself and get hypothermia!!” It was ridiculous. I tried to pull myself out of the negative, and starting reminding myself that there’s only 5 more days left, that I have come so far and done so great. I pushed harder and went as fast as I possibly could up the mountain so I could beat the sunset. 

I hadn’t seen anyone for hours, and I finally ran into a girl heading to the same place. Her and her friend are section hiking Washington, they seemed to be glowing compared to us thru hikers! It cheered me up and I pushed on. I had one last good slip, almost sliding down the side of the mountain… but I was able to grab onto vegetation.  Today has definitely been the toughest and scariest day on the trail. Worse than that day heading up to Muir hut! (Except today I didn’t cry haha!!)
I finally made it up to the tentsite. In the guide, it says that only one tent can fit. However, there are 5 tents here now, all squished in, with everyone too exhausted to go any further. 

I set up my tent, and tried as best as I could to dry off. EVERYTHING is wet. No dry socks, my buff is soaked, my bag and all my clothes are damp. Tonight will be rough. My feet are completely numb. I cooked noodles and poured the rest of the hot broth into my bottle which I shoved at my feet in attempt to warm them. Eating hot food is always nice, but I have never felt so relieved and content. My chest felt warm, and my hands defrosted from the hot mug. 

I am incredibly exhausted, today was the biggest workout of my life. Physically and emotionally! Whew. I’m so glad I made it to camp. It’s hailing now!!! Hopefully my tent can handle all of this… (Note to self: get a different tent in the future for bad weather!) 

Tomorrow will be a good day. I can do this. Goodnight!

Day 120 – September 6

2471.4 Lake Janus to 2499 (27.6 miles) –

Woah. Today was intense! Left camp around 7, hoping that it wouldn’t rain. The day ended up being somewhat warm and the sun peeked out every once in a while! I hiked without any breaks until almost two. My belly was pretty angry about that. Actually… the endless supply of perfect blueberries along the trail slowed me down quite a bit. So worth it. For lunch, I stopped at a campsite and made an apple, almond butter and granola burrito thing. It was beyond tasty! I found another backcountry pit toilet and took a luxury forest poop. 

I headed up another big climb, trying to go as fast as I could so I could fit in two extra miles for the day. I hiked and hiked non stop, with the most glorious views all around. It started to get foggy and chilly, but I was sweating up a storm. My hands and cheeks were numb, but my pits said otherwise. 

Not very many northbound folks were around today… I only saw a couple. I saw quite a few SoBos though, weird. I passed one and she said “ohhhh goodness. You have NO idea what’s coming….” That spooked me a bit. But I got this! Only 6 more days! Very tough days….

I set up camp in the fog and made dinner. One of the best dinners I’ve had on trail! A giant avocado, sweet potato and bean burrito. Belly is very very happy. A deer came through my camp! So pretty. 

I’m extreeeeeemely tired. G’night!

Day 119 – September 5

2461.6 Stevens Pass to 2471.4 Lake Janus (9.7 miles out of town) –

Left Stevens Pass at around 1pm after a very lazy morning. Chatted with Smoosh, Hummingbird and KingBird until I could finally get myself to get off my butt and head out. When I finally left the building, I ran into Coppertone (a former Pct hiker and current trail angel). He told me about some fun things to do when I get to Minnesota, he’s from there. I’m so stinking excited!!! After that, I started walking to the trailhead.  Once I reached it, I looked at the lodge, back at the trail, looked at the stormy clouds above, and then back at the lodge again…. And started heading BACK TO THE LODGE. What was I thinking? I don’t know. But I sat back down and ordered a chai tea latte…. Whoops. After some more laziness, I realized Canada is only a week away… I jumped up, said my goodbyes and headed to the trail again, for real this time! 

I hiked about 10 miles, through the prettiest terrain. Loads of moss, streams, huckleberries and OH I SAW MARMOTS! I missed those little chunkers. Makes me miss the Sierra! 

I plan to reach Canada by Monday the 12th. Possibly the 13th if I have to wait for my passport to reach Mazama. My brother is leaving tomorrow to come get me! I’m excited for him to drive up, it will be a great experience for him! ONE WEEK UNTIL I GET TO SEE MY DOG! AHHHHH! I miss her terribly, he’s bringing her with. 

Only 178 miles left!!!

8:44pm: there’s definitely a bear in my camp. I hear branches breaking and bark being pulled apart (they do this to find insects). I’m spooked and now I can’t sleep. There’s tons of berries all around me… Ahh!

Day 110 – August 27

2253.2 to 2280.8 (27.6 miles) – 

My body is mush. My feet are throbbing and my knees hurt even to the touch! What is happening?! I’m 350 miles to the finish why am I falling apart NOW?! But holy moly… Today was a real adventure!

I was solo the whole day, but I really crushed it considering I woke up late, and got into camp early. Plus the weather has been absurd today. I didn’t see anyone at all until 10am. Once I got into Goat Rocks National Forest (and realized it was Saturday) the day hikers started pouring in. So many of them!! I understand why though. Goat Rocks is SO BEAUTIFUL! Reminds me so much of the Sierras. I miss it. 

The majority of the day was windy, cold and cloudy. Up ahead was Knifes Edge (this crazy ridge with steep cliffs on both sides). I had been looking forward to it for the past couple days. The views from up there are to die for. But of course, right before I reached Knifes Edge, it started raining, I couldn’t see a thing, and the wind was blowing me all over the place. My pct guide app says “terrifying in bad weather”. So of course, I was a bit freaked out and I started asking folks who were heading south if they thought it was a bad idea for me to head up. Most people bailed and were heading back to their campgrounds to escape the wind and rain. They thought I was crazy. But one couple gave me a bunch of fruit leather and wished me luck! I took that as a sign that I should just go do it, so I threw my rain jacket on and started heading up. When I reached the start of it, the sky started clearing a bit and the rain stopped. THE VIEWS WERE SO STUNNING YOU WOULDNT BELIEVE IT! Washington, you’re great. The ridge wasn’t as scary as everyone made it seem, it was really fun! The rest of the hike afterwards was pretty tough on my feet and knees. Super steep up and down, with loose rock and gravel all around. 

My feet have never ever hurt this bad. I don’t know what to do. I’m using different shoes, and I guess my feet aren’t used to them? I don’t have any other pairs at home. I’m hoping my feet get used to them and I won’t have any crazy problems. I’m so close to the end, it would devastate me if I injured myself! I elevate my feet when I sleep, and massage them when I can. Wish me luck!

I got to where I wanted to camp, and there was one other tent. There’s another girl here, she’s section hiking Washington solo! We spent the night talking about food and sharing stories. She spends a lot of her time working on organic farms! Pretty cool stuff. She referred me to some interesting things. 

Only 11 miles to White Pass tomorrow! I can’t wait to pick up my resupply and be lazy for a bit. I don’t have any food left really… One bar, half a bag of green beans and a tiny bit of mustard… I cut it a bit close there. Fooooood!!


Day 109 – August 26

2226.9 to 2253.2 (26.3 miles) – 

Somehow I woke up at 5:45am this morning… Am I okay?! I actually miss waking up that early. I think I’ll try to do it more often. It was pretty chilly, but after a bit of uphill, I was a little too toasty! 

We started the day well, with a ton of motivation and a lot of energy. Most of our day was spent talking in old man voices, playing the harmonica (very terribly) and laughing at each other’s farts… We got great mileage in before noon! However, when we got to the water/lunch spot at 1, we ended up staying there for almost three hours. Whoooops. 

Penny and I were set on doing at least 30 miles today, to make up for yesterday. But you know how that goes!! At around 5pm, we found a note left for Penny, that her lover boy left for her, letting her know that he’s right up the hill and wants to talk. I decided to push on, she said she would either catch up tonight to camp or try for tomorrow. I ended up hiking solo for 7 or so miles to camp. I reached the pond and tentsite hoping friendly folks would be there, but it looked like I was going to be camping solo considering the time. After I built a fire and set up camp, an older fellow named Slim Jim rolled in and asked if he could camp nearby. Of course I said yes… the next tentsite is 3 miles away! Plus, it would be nice to chat around the fire and not camp alone in the woods! I have been paranoid lately for some reason. The other day with the bear noises got me spooked. Slim Jim and I had dinner, talked a bit and said our good nights. 

I currently hear something crunching around near my tent… Eeeek!


Update: I had a bear attack nightmare dang it

Day 108 – August 25

2209.5 to 2226.5 (17 miles into town)
Packed up and was about to head out and then Penny started boiling water for tea… Then we sat forever. Tea on a cold morning will always suck me in! It was an easy 6 miles to water, where we met some folks who were heading into Trout Lake. Apparently that town has incredible huckleberry lemonade… So we started thinking about heading to the road to get a ride there! We had no expectations to get a ride, though. I didn’t mind if it was going to work out or not. 

When we reached the road, there was a table and chairs set up and an entire menu of things that a trail angel brought up! He made root beer floats, had snacks, resupply snacks, and a hiker box! Also, the cutest dog evvvvvver. I MISS MY DOG SO BAD! Ahhhh!!!

Soon enough, we were offered a ride into town. When we arrived, I ordered my lemonade and uploaded photos. Such a cute little town! 

We only did 17 miles because we ended up having trouble getting back to the trail before dark. Oh well, I’ll make it up!

Day 107 – August 24

2184.7 to 2209.6 (24.9 miles) – 

Penny and I started around 7am after a super great night of sleep. Of course there was another big climb! But we hiked to some picnic tables at a parking area near the trail where we found trail magic (WOOO!) first trail magic in Washington! There was water, beer, Gatorade, pastries, cookies, clif bars, carrots, pita chips, dip, and a trail journal. I couldn’t eat most of it but seeing people’s faces glow when they reached it made me so happy! Further up the trail, we met an older woman picking huckleberries. She was the kind lady who left all the trail magic! We chatted a bit and she told us about all the berries and we started to devour every huckleberry along the trail… Our bellies are full of the most tasty berries I’ve ever had! We ended up hiking 10x slower since we stopped every 5 seconds for pickin

Later, we reached Bear Lake, the last water source for the next 10 miles and also where we wanted to camp. It was only going to be 20 miles in, so we continued. It started to get dark and we couldn’t find anywhere to camp. I heard loud rustling noises in the brush nearby and nearly pooped myself. Penny grabbed onto my pack as I screamed like a baby. We started to get paranoid so we began to sing old nursery rhymes in ugly voices as loud as we could as we continued as fast as we could down the trail. 

It grew completely dark and there was still no luck with finding a place to knock out. Penny can basically sleep anywhere with her hammock, but I needed to find a flat space on the ground. We thought about splitting for the night but I was being too big of a baby to stay somewhere alone. As we kept hiking on, we spotted a giant bear sized hole in the hill next to the trail which spooked us, so we started making crazy noises. Right in front of us was a tent with someone sleeping inside… Whoops! Way to freak someone out. 

Soon enough, we found a decent spot in the woods where we could finally knock out. I’m exhausted! 

Penny update: day two no cigarettes is complete! She feels great, and hasn’t gotten all crazy grumpy like she usually does when she doesn’t have a cigarette. Yay! However, she had the worst case of the farts ever known to man. Help.

Day 106 – August 23

Rock Creek 2163.7 to 2184.7 (21 miles) –

This morning I headed out of camp solo. Last night, just penny and I set up camp and about an hour later, Griz, Brad, Crafty and the puppy showed up. I planned on waking up and heading out super early, but ended up taking a while longer trying not to pack up loudly or wake anyone up. There was another big climb this morning that took me a while to defeat. When I reached the top around 10am, I decided to stop and eat. Right when I was about to start hiking again, Penny and an older section hiker named John caught up. John is such a nice dude!! So optimistic and kind hearted. He’s hiking from Seiad Valley to Canada for his summer. Go John!

Update on Penny: Day 1 of quitting smoking!! Even with being around other smokers off and on all day, she didn’t give in! Woooo!!!!! She’s super motivated and excited to be quitting so far. I know she can do it. She decided to part from her trail boyfriend because she knows he’s not good for her to be around in order for her to grow. Sometimes you have to give things up to better yourself. 

Its my “lady time” and I ate the majority of my snacks in a day and a half. I still have 4 days until my next resupply. I. Love. Snacks. If anyone wants to send snacks I have 3 more resupplies left! I can’t stop eating send help…

If I average 23 miles a day, I can finish he trail in 20 days. By September 12th! This is so crazy. I can’t believe it’s almost over. In a way I feel sad, but I’m also incredibly excited about life after the trail. My brother just got a new car to come pick me up, and we get to road trip together back home. It will be so fun! And then a couple weeks later is my birthday. Lindsey plans on flying out and then we will take our road trip to Minnesota where I’ll be living for the next year. I plan on making so many positive changes to myself and the way I’ll be living. Change is so exciting. I look forward to everything!

Photos: a beautiful view with Mt. Adams far in the background, I saw a giant slug, spilled almond butter down my jacket, and uh… Penny spends 70% of her days laughing at her belly