O Canada! I Thru Hiked the PCT!

Wow. What a journey. I walked 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada across three states and through the diverse, ever changing landscapes of the west coast. I walked through the blazing heat of the Mojave desert, the snow capped passes of the Sierra mountain range, the wildfire haze of Northern California, the green tunnel of Oregon forests, and the craggy mountains of the North Cascades.

I walked along roads and under interstates. I post-holed in the snow. I crossed many creeks and traipsed along scree. I hiked 78 miles one day, 25 most days, 2 one day, and 0 many days. I climbed over 315,000 ft of elevation gain, the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest 10 times. I summited the the highest peak in the contiguous United States. I summited one of the volcanic mountains that makes up the Ring of Fire. I saw rattlesnakes, marmots, cows, mountain goats, and picas. I swam in many an alpine lake. I cowboy camped under the stars on warm summer nights and I shivered in my tent in the PNW rain. I saved someone from heat stroke. Someone else saved me from hypothermia.

I pooped while staring down a bull about 100 ft away. I pooped in Canada.  I had to carry a wasted bag of Doritos because a mouse had eaten through the packaging. I hitchhiked on a tailgate of a pickup truck, a school bus, and a convertible. I ate wild blueberries and huckleberries. I ate over 400 Clif bars and 130 dehydrated meals. I ate cacti tacos in California and Alaskan caught fish in Washington. I also ate more pizza than the average person should be able to handle.  I did laundry in many public bathroom sinks. I may have also bathed in some public bathroom sinks.

I loitered outside many establishments. I rode a bike through Portland with my trail family while wearing matching cheetah print thrift store outfits. I rode a bike through Yosemite Valley with granite rock faces towering overhead in all directions. I walked along the rim surrounding the deepest volcanic lake in the world. I outran wildfires and dodged lightning storms.  I twisted my ankle and scraped my shins. I tripped and fell many times.

I met people from all over the world and gained lifelong friendships. I laughed so hard I peed my pants. I cried because I was so tired. I cried of joy from the beauty surrounding me.  I felt lonely and I felt connected. I felt sad and homesick and I felt happy and present. I felt frustrated and I felt competent. I felt tired and I felt exhilarated. I felt joy, lots of joy. I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. Wow. What a journey.

How does one wrap up the end to such an adventure? How does one describe the emotions of touching the Northern terminus of the PCT? I am still processing everything that has occurred over the past five months. For now, I will simply have to leave it with the words written above. I do want to thank everyone who has followed along this journey with me for their support. Your words of encouragement made it fun and honorable to continuing writing about my experiences. I also want to encourage anyone and everyone who has ever had even the slightest desire to attempt a thru hike to do it! It is really easy to make up excuses (jobs, finances, houses, responsibilities), but if there is a will there is a way. Make a way to have the best adventure of your life. It is worth it. Thank you for following along, world. I must now reenter society….

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Comments 12

  • thetentman : Oct 1st

    Congrats. I enjoyed your hike on my couch. Good luck with whatever follows.



  • David Odell : Oct 1st

    Congratulations on finishing your PCT hike. Enjoyed your excellent journal. David Odell AT71 PCT72 CDT77

  • D Dog : Oct 1st

    Congratulations Emily !!! I will miss your articles 🙄. All the best with your future !!

  • Ralph B. Mahon : Oct 2nd

    78 miles in one day!

    • Ralph B. Mahon : Oct 3rd

      3.25 MPH for 24 hours, if no stops???

  • Ralph Crandell : Oct 2nd

    ThankYOU for taking me along. I continue to be truly inspired. May life continue to treat you with the greatest respect. Ohh, and ThankYOU for leaving your “donation”in Canada lol

  • Reindeer : Oct 4th

    Loved your blog, I felt as though I were right there with you. Thanks for sharing, it’s an awesome accomplishment.
    Your last post with it’s full overview is incredible.
    Good luck with your future.

  • Brad Phoenix : Oct 7th

    Good job and thanks for sharing. It was fun following your through hike.

  • Paul : Oct 15th

    Congrats! I have enjoyed following your adventures from the UK and thanks for sharing your amazing pictures, I can’t possibly imagine how odd it must feel to re-enter society after all your have achieved this summer!

  • Kelly Groen : Nov 26th

    Beautifully written! Congratulations on finishing 🙂 Also, I’m very curious about what’s happening in the picture where you’re all in one line? Some sort of coordinated dance?


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