In 2018 I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, but due to various fires, three gaps remained in my continuous footpath. In 2019, I closed the first two of these gaps by hiking from Steven’s Pass to Rainy Pass and from Seiad Valley to Ashland. On both these occasions, I got a jolt of energy just from being back on the trail. I started walking north from Stevens Pass, and thought I had gone eight or nine miles. I checked my phone and I had gone 20. These two sections left just the final 60 miles of the trail to hike.
In Summer 2021, Clax, Fievel, Super Soaker and I all agreed to meet up and finish the hike. We rented a car and drove up to Rainy Pass from California. In the few days leading up to our hike, fires closed many nearby trails, and we worried we would once again be thwarted by fire. Luckily, the trail stayed open, and we enjoyed a mostly smoke free hike.
The last 60 miles of the trail were stunningly beautiful. We all agreed we were glad we all got to come back and enjoy them together. Some local hikers remarked that many hikers do not enjoy these last few miles because they are just looking forward to the finish. Many hikers experience this section in heavy rain, smoke or even snow. We were lucky to get to experience it in clear weather.
It felt just like I was back on trail, watching the Guthooks miles tick up, and being with the same people I hiked much of Oregon and Washington with. As we neared the border, I felt the power of a greater force, the miles passed by effortlesly, and all of the colors were brighter and more vivid. I felt superhuman, willed on by the thousands of miles of hiking that had lead to that point, like when two magnets get close together. It felt incredible to touch that northern terminus knowing I had a continuous footpath from Mexico to Canada. My friend Matt met us there and we hung out for a while, and then walked back south.
With Hart’s Pass closed, we took the beautiful PNWT over to Ross Lake, and walked south from there. After hitching back to our rental car, we returned it in Seattle, and I took the train back to California.