PCT: Day 161

PCT sign post

Miles today: 22.7
Trail miles sum: 1804.9
Trail location: 2487.2
Elevation: 4776
Spinning on the turntable: 2Cellos: Score

Noelle hiked out with me this morning and then returned to the van after ten miles. It’s wonderful when she hikes with me and terrible when she leaves. The loneliness is crushing and the silence seems absolute.

PCT Washington
Hiking with my friend

While hiking up a steep incline, with a steep drop off, I managed to place my left hiking pole into a section that had no path. I lost my balance and went flying over the incline. It sounds far more dramatic than it was. I ended up turtling in the bushes for a moment. I crawled back to the trail and continued on my merry way. I’m thankful it wasn’t worse. I was interested in the viscosity of the blood. It was thicker than I would have thought.

PCT Washington
Took a little tumble

The ripe berries are everywhere! I’m far enough away from civilization that most day hikers aren’t hiking here, thus the trails are just loaded with ripe berries. I’m eating up hiking time by stopping to eat berries all over the place. I’m the most fond of the huckleberries.

PCT Animals
Frog in hiding

Rain is in the forecast. It adds a sense of urgency to the hiking. I can handle the rain, but it’s the turning of the season that has my rapt attention.

PCT Washington
Beautiful mountain views
North Cascades
Grateful for blue skies

It’s crazy how quickly the trail can change from a relaxing dirt path to a climb through rocks. Today I am grateful that it isn’t raining.

The leaves are turning as we enter our third season of hiking. It’s hard to believe that it’s time for the leaves to start falling to the ground, but they are in fact, beginning to fall. In June I was walking over leaves that had fallen to the ground last fall and then lain silently in sleep under the winters snow. Now I’m beginning to walk on leaves that have just begun to fall. The hiking season seems so long, but it’s so very small in certain sections.

Flowers of the PCT
Dew on the spiderweb

Tonight I eavesdropped on my fellow campers as they reunited after months of separation. They were happy to see each other and saying goodbye at the same time. Each group is hiking a slightly different schedule from here to Canada so it was both hello and goodbye.

I suspect that I could completely disappear from the trail and no one would really notice. I’m so very jealous of their relationships. There are no big send offs with other hikers in my short term future.

As frustrated as I may be, I also know that I haven’t really tried all that hard to cultivate relationships out here. Most of the time I’d rather read a book than talk with other hikers at night…and I’d generally rather camp alone than camp with other hikers.

1 Comment

  1. Ashley

    Steve- I’m so far behind on your blog, I don’t even know how! I am so proud of you. I’m sorry this particular day was so challenging. I’m glad you kept going, and I’m glad you have the bright spots of when Noelle hikes with you!! Hugs!!!


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