PCT: Trout Lake to Canada

We made it to Canada! I can’t believe that this hike is over (for this hiking season).  This last stretch of trail brought me a really painful overuse injury so I was relieved to not have to limp on my pain stumps anymore but so not ready for it all to be done.  I still haven’t fully processed this adventure ending for now and lucky for me, we still have the sierra and the fire closure in Washington to come back and tackle so it’s not goodbye for long.  I have many lessons learned, including Diabetes-specific things, so I’ll write more about those soon.  In the meantime, enjoy some beautiful views from the last stretch of trail.

Day 130: Trout Lake to Muddy Creek, 21.73 miles


I knew from the first step back on trail that my feet had not gotten better with a zero in Trout Lake during the storm.  I also knew that this next stretch included the Goat Rocks Wilderness, which some people say is the prettiest stretch of trail.  I figured that if this injury eventually sent me home, I would at least limp my way to the Goat Rocks!

As a result of the pain, I was moving very slowly and taking a lot of breaks.  Nik waited for me at an upcoming creek crossing that was rumored to be intense if the flow was high.

In the afternoon, views of Mt. Adams were plentiful and helped distract from the pain in my feet.  I took a break to filter water with a fantastic view.

I started seeing gorgeous mushrooms.  Big Amanita like this do not grow in the mountains around Los Angeles, so I was loving all the cool fungi.


Day 131: Muddy Creek to Sheep Lake, 21.62 miles


So many cool mushrooms! It was very distracting but gave me plenty of reasons to stop and rest my feet.

Every downed tree or semi-flat rock became an invitation to sit.  I tried to savor the extra breaks and use them as an opportunity to really appreciate my surroundings.  You have to find the silver lining somehow!

This squirrel was swinging around on the top of this plant, determined to get these seeds.

I hiked into dusk toward the campsite where I was meeting Nik.  The mountain appeared again and the views helped get me the last few miles to camp.

Day 132: Sheep Lake to Dry Camp, 15ish miles

I woke up to a soaked tent, partially from a little bit of rain the night before and mostly from a lot of condensation.

These plants looked like wet dogs and they made me so happy.  Today was the day we would hike along the knife’s edge in the Goat Rocks and I was excited to see what all of the hype was about (and hoped it was worth limping 70 miles).

Pika!  Is there anything cuter?!

As we approached the notorious section of trail, the clouds were very thick and we could barely see 50 feet in front of us.  As we hiked up the slopes of Old Snowy before the knife’s edge, we still could barely see anything.  But as soon as we started hiking the knife’s edge…

…the clouds parted and we got views on views!

We looked back and saw this glacier that we had been hiking around and had previously no idea because of the clouds!

The views were definitely worth the limp and we set up camp quickly before it started raining too hard that evening.

Day 133: Dry Camp to White Pass, 11.5 miles

The hiking in the morning was very foggy and cloudy, with drizzle and low visibility.  Thank goodness for wind pants.

We eventually made it to White Pass and the Kracker Barrel (a gas station with a very misleading name).

Day 134-138: Zero and convalescing with friends

It became clear that my feet were incredibly painful even after another zero, so Nik hiked on from White Pass and I got picked up by my friend!  We grew up together and she now lives in Washington with her wife and cutie baby, and she trekked all the way to White Pass to pick me up to stay with them for several days.

Lukester kept an eye on my resupply strategy.

Thank you Celeste and Ashley from hosting this stinky hiker!  And thank you Lane for christening me Auntie “twoush”…which was later revealed to be “trash”.  The kid knows hiker trash when he sees it!

Day 139-140: Night in Snoqualmie and test hike, 4 miles

Once Nik hiked into Snoqualmie, we spent the night and hiked out the next afternoon.  I was dubious that my feet would be walkable, but hiked out with a full resupply anyway with hopes high.

We hiked out little diet cokes because sometimes you have to carry silly things to cheer you up on trail.

Day 141-146: Snoqualmie to Seattle to Stevens Pass to Leavenworth to Winthrop, 4 miles

It became clear that my feet were going to be excruciatingly painful, so I left Nik the next morning and hiked back into Snoqualmie with plans to meet him in a couple days at Stevens Pass.

I caught a shuttle from Snoqualmie to Seattle and spent the night.  The next day, I took a bus from Seattle to Stevens Pass where I would meet Nik in a couple days.

There’s a Mountaineers lodge at Stevens pass that’s run by volunteers and is simply amazing.  They cook you meals and the lodge itself is full of history.

After spending 2 nights at the lodge, I met Nik and we hopped onto a bus to go to Leavenworth for the night.  It was a cute Bavarian-style town and we were taking our time getting to Mazama since there was a resupply package that we were waiting on.

Due to how bad my feet were hurting, I knew that my hiking season was basically over.  That, combined with the large fire closure between Stevens Pass and Rainy Pass (we would want to come back in the future and hike the portion of trail through the Northern Cascades that was closed), convinced us to get up to Mazama to finish the trail starting at Rainy Pass.

After one night in the quirky town, we caught 4 buses to get up to the old western-looking town of Winthrop.  We stayed a full day there and then made our way via bus up to the teenie town of Mazama.

Day 147: Winthrop to Mazama

Once in Mazama, we made our way to the Lions Den where hikers can camp on the property of some amazing trail angels.

They light the trees with lasers at night and it is truly magical.  It was a chilly night, which meant that the coming nights at higher elevation would be pretty cold.


Day 148: Rainy Pass to Creek, 15ish miles

We got a ride in the morning to Rainy Pass and there was a positively huge mountain of packs strapped to the top of the truck.

Fall colors were popping and it was beautiful.  Quickly, however, it seemed to go from Fall to Winter.

It started snowing!

It quickly went from fun snow to very cold, windy snow.  I had mailed my gloves home at Trout Lake for some unknown reason, so sock hands it would be.

The views were gorgeous of sweeping mountain ranges.

As a Southern California girl, it was so nice to actually see the season change in the flora all around me.  The cold temps made my frequent breaks (a necessity for my silly entrapped nerves in my heels) difficult since I would quickly get too cold. Always a new challenge!

Day 149: Creek to Trailhead Parking, 13ish miles

It rained all night and all morning.  My lovely tent, which I had personally resealed a week ago, was leaking so badly that I woke up in puddles.  This was less than ideal with temperatures in the low 40s/high 30s. We waited a long time for the rain to finally decrease and I finally packed away and started limping my miles.

It continued to drizzle throughout the day and I saw fresh snow on the nearby mountains from the previous day’s snowfall.

We climbed and finally reached thicker snow that had fallen the previous day.  It also proceeded to snow more on us, then rain, then hail, then snow some more.  It was way too cold to take proper breaks and even 800 mg of Ibuprofen was having no effect on my pain.  I must have looked pretty crazy with my limp, but I was determined to make it across the border!

The views continued to be amazing and the new dusting of snow only accentuated them.  We made it to our campsite after dark (thanks to my slow limp) and shared a tent.  It was below freezing overnight and our water bottles froze.  I was grateful for the extra body heat in the tiny tent.

Day 150: Trailhead Parking to Spring, 18ish miles

I woke and got an even bigger headstart, knowing that I had to limp over 18 miles.  It was freezing but the skies were blue and I could feel Canada getting very close.

I spent the morning hiking through a winter wonderland of the fluffy snow from the last two days.  The sun was out and it was gorgeous. 

I ate lots of fluffy snow from pine branches.  I was in tons of pain but boy was I happy.

Tree stumps with moss and fungi always look like fairy houses to me.

I finally made it to camp just as the sun set and the moon rose.

Day 151: Spring to Canada, 14ish miles

I was hurting but it was terminus day!

The views only got better, which was almost unfair since the trail was soon ending.

Coffee and the spring water that it was made from.  I’ll miss fresh, ice cold spring water.

Nik caught up to me a couple of miles before the border.  We saw so many hikers, since everyone was trying to tag the terminus before winter closed this section of trail and a huge storm was rolling in.  Everyone was giddy, encouraging, and so happy.

This diabetic, injured girl made it to Canada.  While there are still portions that we need to come back for in the future, I accomplished something that I would have thought impossible a few years ago.  I am incredibly proud of myself and so grateful for this experience.

Haven’t killed each other yet!

Day 152: Hiking into Manning Park, 8.5 miles & Driving Home

I limped the last 8.5 miles into Manning Park, positively freezing in a downpour.  We caught a bus from Manning Park into Vancouver and spent the night. We then took the train into Bellingham, WA and picked up a rental car to drive home.

We spent a night in the San Juans…

…and hugged the PNW coast…

…and stayed a night in a cow shed…

…and eventually made it home. For now.

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Comments 7

  • Tom : Oct 2nd

    Really great pictures. Thanks for sharing them. Hope you feet recover quickly

  • Vrooom : Oct 2nd

    Congrats! Your pictures are the best of any blog I’m reading!

  • Sharry Taylorson : Oct 2nd

    Kristina & Nikolaus,
    You both should be so proud of your accomplishment! Wow, what a feat! Your pictures are so incredibly amazing. I feel like I am looking at the best pictures that National Geographic has ever taken. I have never seen so many jaw dropping pictures of our amazing country. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, feelings, and videography. Blessings to you both! Kristina, praying you have happy feet again soon!

  • Debbie Carney : Oct 4th

    Wondering what was wrong with your feet and if you got proper treatment?

    • Kristina Larson : Jan 23rd

      It turned out to be a lot of things that I angered in my feet, but ultimately I’m doing PT and seeing a podiatrist for plantar fasciitis. It’s been a slow process but it’s finally starting to feel better!

  • Jeff Greene : Oct 20th

    Congratulations! Hope your story picks up again in the Sierra some day!

    • Kristina Larson : Jan 23rd

      That’s the plan…hopefully later this year!


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