The Toughest Section of Trail… So Far…

Day 12
Miles: 10

It was a busy day today. We got up, and ate breakfast. I had a wonderful omelet with toast and hash browns. By the time we finished the post office was open so we could get our resupply boxes.

I was worried I was going to dislike my food or need less, but everything I packed I’m still happy to be eating. I packed three Mac and Cheese dinners but I forgot about the other nights! Luckily the hiker box was full of food and I was able to snag some ramen.

We decided since we’ve been doing higher mileage and we all had so much food from our boxes we would try to make it seven days to Snoqualmie by doing 24 miles per day, skipping Skykomish. It would be a heavy food carry but I figured if I needed to bail out and take a rest day I could always break off from the group and go into Skykomish anyway.

Our group is 8 people right now and I could not be having more fun! Travis is now Trash Panda because when we were working on our resupplies he found some good stuff other hikers threw away instead of putting in the hiker box. Shane is Goofy, I feel like that one is pretty self explanatory. He’s very funny and it all originated from him running into a tree. He was originally Mistake, but all of us felt so terrible calling him that, so his name was changed to Goofy. I’m also traveling with Salty, Crunchy (who didn’t wait for his cold soaked ramen to finish), Will, Megan and Abe Lincoln.

It was a bit crowded on the trail since we all got off of the bus and started hiking together. There was a lot going on as we were trying to figure out where to camp while hiking, and some people were way ahead. We eventually all got 10 miles in and those in front made the executive decision to stop there for the night. It worked out well as it was a large campsite next to a fast flowing river. We had some place to get water and not a lot of bugs!

Day 13
Miles: 22

We hit 100 miles on the PCT today!!! 100 down so many to go!!

The day did not begin so cheery. I started hiking with Trash Panda and Goofy and then it started to rain. Hard. And if you remember, in my first stage of lightening my pack I sent home my rain coat. We were going through the heatwave and I never thought there would be an end. Well, there was. And it rained today. Again, hard. I started out okay, I wasn’t too cold and I figured I’d dry once it stopped raining. But then I began to imagine it raining for three days straight and I started to make the decision that I’m going into Skykomish no matter what if it kept raining. Keep in mind Skykomish is still days away.

The rain stopped around 11, but not before Trash Panda and I had to figure out a bunch of river crossing’s as well as a land slide. We later learned there was a path through and we didn’t need to forge through the rocks. I was stuck between being excited that this was my first rainstorm on the PCT – imagining being a photo in a backpacker magazine that depicted the rain dramatically and being cold and miserable.

After it stopped raining the hike was beautiful! It was all down hill for 11 miles. I had a very enjoyable hike after drying off. There was a spot where there was an avalanche and doing gymnastics around the trees brought back memories of Robinson Creek Trail. Around 15 miles is when my feet really start hurting. I was able to push though and I’m hoping a good night sleep will help repair my poor achey body.

We camped under this really large, cool bridge, again near rushing water. I’ve really been enjoying falling asleep to the river sounds.

Day 14
Miles: 22 (backtracked 1)

I woke up pretty early and the first part of the day was tough. 10 miles up hill and it was not an easy climb. I tried to jump across the first little river crossing, slipped and banged my shin on a rock. Luckily, I was expecting to fall – so it was controlled. I quickly shook it off and kept hiking, at least my boots weren’t wet. About a mile down the trail there was this huge tree down in the middle of the trail. I’ve never seen roots so large in my life!

After lunch, on the downhill I met up with Crunchy. His feet have horrible blisters on them and he was moving so slow. I decided to stick with him and just tell him stories from my first few days on the PCT. I think it did help distract him – Robinson Creek Trail WAS quite the adventure in itself. Once we caught up with Shaggy (Will), we decided we weren’t going to go all 25 miles like we planned, instead we would stop at Mica Lake and camp there. Well, when we got there everything was covered in snow and the lake was frozen. We were trying to decide if we hike the last 3 miles and complete our original plan when clouds started really rolling in from the mountains. The pass we had to go up and over and it looked stormy and dangerous. Instead, we turned around and tried to find a dry spot in the trees to camp for the night.

Day 15
Miles: 19

Trash Panda and I began today going up what we went down yesterday! Getting up Fire Creek Pass was so much fun! There was fog everywhere and we were just guessing where we were going. We saw our first NOBO! He’s doing the Great Western Loop! At the bottom we met up with Salty and Goofy who were so worried about us that they waited all morning. Crunchy, Shaggy and Megan followed and then we all set off to do 16 more miles up and over Red Pass.

I was having such a hard time today. Yesterday was hard, but I was having fun keeping Crunchy entertained. Today my feet were just dragging. This section of the forest was so beautiful, so much green lively moss and huge trees! Today’s hike was worth all of the biting flies and dragging legs. And though the deep breaths trying to make it up hill, I could stop and admire the beauty of the forest.

The highlight of my day was this crazy powerful river crossing we had to do! I took my shoes off and waded though it, Hoody’s arms outstretched in case I needed it. The water went above my mid thigh. After getting across, Goofy and I tried to have lunch there but there were so many flies that were biting us we had to keep moving. It was exhausting not be able to take a break because as soon as I stopped I had a million flies on me.

The most difficult uphill so far occurred in the last four miles and it was Red Pass. But when I turned around, there was the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. My photo does not do it justice.

After this really long hard day, I quickly set up my tent, got into dry clothes and made a dinner I found in the hiker box – Thanksgiving dinner, just add 1.75 cups water. It was so good. This meal was exactly what I needed to bring my spirits up tonight. Megan also got a trail name – Nemo. Like Captain Nemo from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. Now everyone in our group has a proper name.

Day 16
Miles: 22

I did not want to get out of bed this morning. Accidentally sleeping in my puffy meant that I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. I had to maneuver my sleeping bag so I could find a dry spot to sleep in. So, I got up at about 7 am instead of 5 am, talked with another camper and was on my way out of camp with Trash Panda and Nemo at 8am. The day started out WAY better than yesterday. We were crushing miles and before we knew it we were at Lake Sally Ann and debating lunch. Only being at about 8.5 miles for a 22 mile day, Trash Panda and I decided to push on while Nemo went swimming. Then we ate lunch at a little stream 12.4 miles in and this is when it started to go down hill for me.

I’ve noticed that at around 15 miles and anything after that is when I’m the most uncomfortable. I debated with myself whether to press on to Snoqualmie with the group or bail and reset my battery in Skykomish. I was, again, having a really hard time. It stops being fun for me after 15 miles especially when I get to camp soaked in my own sweat, there’s no sun because I’m coming in at 8:30pm and I’m honestly just so exhausted.

It was like the group read my mind. When I walked into camp the rest of the hikers greeted me with “we’re going to go into Skykomish tomorrow”. I felt so relieved that I wouldn’t be left behind from this little trail family I am apart of. I’m so grateful to have them and any negative thoughts I have while hiking disappear when I get to camp. I might have to go back down to doing 15 miles a day. But let’s see how I feel after a shower and sleeping in a bed.

Day 17
Miles: 15

We all woke up early and were joking around all morning. Making the choice to go into town was good for all of us. I really enjoyed my hike today as I walked with a few day hikers and they asked me a bunch of questions about how I’m doing the PCT. Of course I’m happy to answer all of them, it’s so much easier to ask someone about this stuff than it is to Google it.

I met Travis for lunch at this beautiful lake. Putting my feet in the water is exactly what I needed after two long hard days. There were a lot of day hikers as it is the weekend. You can tell the difference between a day hiker and a PCT hiker by how much they’ll talk to you. The day hikers don’t really stop, but all of the PCT hikers I’ve met will happily stand around for a few minutes to chat.

We got to Steven’s pass pretty quick after that. I asked this nice family if they could give us a ride to Skykomish. I felt bad asking because we smelled so terrible. They left the windows open and asked us questions about our hike. When we arrived at Skykomish they dropped us at Cascadia Inn and said they were going to take a look around.

We checked into our rooms, I had a room with Meghan, and then I showered. It felt so good to stand in the warm running water after being cold each night getting into camp. Meghan said she’d get my laundry for me while I showered and ate. I ordered a burger from the deli and it was sooo good, I had everything on it.

We all hung out, ate ice cream and then shortly after went to the bar and got dinner. I ordered the seafood mix so it came with a pice of fried cod, two fried shrimp, two fried oysters and so many fries. Big surprise, I ate it all. My hiker hunger is real and I feel like a bottomless pit.

After dinner, we all hung out and chatted more and then it was time to go to bed. Meghan and I stayed up so late chatting, but it was so full of laughter and silliness I wouldn’t exchange it for sleep. I’m feeling refreshed and relaxed. I’m excited to get back on trail again tomorrow.

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Comments 3

  • Ralph B. Mahon : Jul 19th

    You are an inspiration to those (how do I say this) physical issues?
    If you ever get a chance, watch the movie, Soul Surfer.
    She lost an arm from a shark attack, but it didn’t stop her from becoming a professional surfer.
    Wishing you a fun filled adventure, and lifetime. 👍

    Reply
  • Charmaine : Jul 20th

    I’m living the dream through you. My legs won’t let me hike anymore. I appreciate you doing your articles on the PCT. I can almost feel like I’m there. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • Morgan Balog : Jul 27th

      Thank you so much for leaving this comment. I’m really glad you’re enjoying my posts and that you feel like you’re here! I’ll definitely keep adding photos to bring out that effect.

      Reply

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