PCT: Day 26: Trail? What trail?

Steve on Mission Creek

Miles today: 8.6

Trail miles: 232.1

Elevation: 4835

Spinning on the turntable: Coldplay Live in Beunos Aries

Today we hiked into the Whitewater river area.

Around 9:30 we stopped and chatted with a man named Bret who was hanging out under a tree next to the river. Bret had decided that today was his last day on the trail. Bret said that he can’t sleep (I can relate) and feels worse each day. We didn’t try to dissuade him of his decision but tried to affirm him in having lasted for five weeks.

Unfortunately, Bret came to this realization about 2500 feet too late. To quit he needed to slog his way back up the hill he had descended yesterday afternoon and then hike out a side trail. I genuinely felt bad for Bret, he seemed like a nice guy.

Bret, and others like him, are very interesting to me. There’s such an element of chance to this adventure. It may not necessarily be the best prepared who go the distance and make it to Canada. We saw someone sidelined by a twisted ankle, someone else with a bum knee, others by family matters. It just seems so very unpredictable. I’m trying to maximize my enjoyment each day. Tomorrow it may be me heading off the trail with a injury or family matter.

We knew that the Whitewater river area was severely impacted from February flooding. We were not prepared for the reality of what that actually meant to us.

Trail flood out
Trail flood out

Generally speaking, the trail is gone for about ten miles. Simply not there. Washed away and replaced by rocks. Big rocks, small rocks, baby head sized rocks. GPS shows us the theoretical trail route. We could be standing on the exact GPS trail location, but there was no trail.

Rocky trail
Rocky trail

We slowly, oh so slowly, made our way up stream. It was tedious and really painful on our feet, ankles and hips.

We found a tent site with about 10 others folks. We pitched our tent, ate our dinner, and crawled into bed by 7:30.


  1. MOMnDAD

    And I noted that the battle went not to the strong, nor the race to to swift .. ut time and circumstance happen to all. Eecl 9;11. ❤️ MOM N DAD

  2. Marian Duff

    Just like everyday life, so unpredictable……………

  3. Anonymous

    How wild! I bet you felt so relieved and proud when you saw other campers at the end of your day 🙂


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