SoBos in vortex
I have made it to Washington! My start date was two days ago, but here we are still waiting in the SoBo vortex.
I flew to Seattle via Reykjavik. It was an exhausting 13 hours flight and travelling 9 hours back in time surely makes one tired. At the bordercontrol I was asked what is the purpose of my visit to the country and I replied I am going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. The controller asked how long I plan to walk that and as I said it would be about five months his reaction was: “Holy shit! Are you a professional?”
I had planned only one whole day for the resupply and gear complementing in Seattle – probably a mistake. That was one of the most stressful days of my life. Completely jetlaged and in 90 F (32 C) I was running around the city and trying to find things in a supermarket. As I was up early there were mostly only drugaddicts (many!) out on the streets, and I felt I was in a dystopic movie. And people think wild animals will be the most dangerous part of this trail! As I overslept on my nap I was too late for the supermarket and had no time to buy all the food. The rest of the resupply for three packages was made in the morning in an Asian grocery store – my boxes are having some really interesting stuff and a lot of noodles!
The REI in Seattle is the most amazing outdoorgear store I have ever seen. Even the store is located in the middle of a green park that makes a huge contrast to the streets outside.
After Seattle I took a couple of buses to head to the hiker hostel in Sedro-Woolley. Everybody around Northern Washington seem to know the trail. A lot of people came to ask questions about the hike. Even the busdriver seemed enthusiastic to do a thru-hike some day.
At the moment we are at least 12 people at the hostel waiting to start the hike. It is more a home of a trail angel than a hostel, and we are sleeping outside around the yard. The first night I slept in my tent with flowers literally in my face, listening to crazy frogs mating in a pond. We have been doing resupplys and driving around the region. Some hikers don’t send any boxes, while others take too much time planning, weighing and counting the calories.
We have also had a barbeque with another trail angel that brought us a huge box of beers, and currently there is a weird chainsaw-rodeo festival in the town and we plan to visit that when killing our time. Some hikers did even resupply in the cannabisstore since marihuana is legal here, unlike in most European countries. Two of us did a 13 miles training hike to a closeby mountain to calm down the ants in our patientless pants.
If things go according to the newest plan we will start the hike in a few days, even if the Harts pass might not have melted down to zero. It will surely be a very different experience from an average SoBo year.
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I wish you good luck and an enjoyable journey.
I will be following your post with great interest as I am dreaming of the same journey in 2025, the year after my (early) retirement. Actually my dreaming includes a lot of what-if planning already, e.g. how to deal with high snow levels at the beginning. If my idea doesn’t reach you too late maybe it be something for you to consider and to check against the present local conditions (e.g. wind blow): For the way to the border leave the PCT right after the Harts pass into Middle fork Pasayten river valley. Then use the boundary trail to goto Frosty pass / Castle pass and join the PCT shortly before the Northern Terminus again. It is a very few miles more distance but you walk at lower altitude and probably snow free (much faster!).
Enjoy the PCT!