I’ve attempted writing this post a few different times and I’ll say I’ve really struggled. A large part of that was not wanting to process that we are actually done. Then as it gets further away, it seems like a surreal experience that is difficult to summarize. So instead I’m doing this post a bit differently, here are some excerpts from both my & Level’s journals.
8/30 “Camped last night in a cool secret spot where we were laughing lots. I felt so good just enjoying life so much out here. In the morning we lazily got up and moving. At the water source we saw Two Pack n Rocky and Two Pack is so entertaining. Singing, dancing, and so friendly to everyone. They told us the news, the Canadian border is open! We can hike to the monument! We sat and watched about 10 hikers’ reactions. **Due to the fires throughout the west coast, numerous parts of the trail had been closed off. Some of these sections had detours, often adding more miles/days of hiking to our journey. One of the closures was 30 miles from Canada, so we would not be able to cross the epic ‘finish line’. But, luckily as you read here, it opened up!** So many hikers were jumping up and down, screaming in joy about getting to finish their hike properly. As we hiked down the hill, ‘Not Phil’s Dad’ had trail magic! He was a gentle soul who fed us chips, salsa, hot dogs, and actual local beers. We lounged with many familiar people, met ‘Google.’ Good day- but then had phone service at camp and looked at jobs and apartments and the glow of the phone just has this sickening feeling. It’s addicting, yet it sucks all the good energy and happiness. Technology is a slippery slope. I MUST refrain in order to keep my happiness. It was so stressful that night- hardly any sleep. But the universe gave me rain to calm my spirits and help me sleep. Thanks Universe.” -Curdles
9/1 “Woke up, short hike into town. Got coffees at the cafe but no open seats, so we went to Lee’s Grocery where we sat, charged, ate, and resupplied for 5 hours. Pizza was only $3 for huge slices, I had 3. Hiked up the big climb out of Snoqualmie and felt so much better than sitting in town. I need to remember in real life how good exercising feels. Almost to the top of the climb, saw Louis who said ‘Surprised to see you guys’ Curds said, ‘Why, you thought we were staying in town?’ He says, ‘No, we must be moving really slow…’ Not sure if he meant to insult us…” -Level
9/3 “Forgot to mention about true love. It’s when you hand wash someone’s stained undies. And, yep that’s what I did. I’m becoming a sweet gal. This morning we had a big climb with knowing we had to get on the Motivation Train – Toot Toot! And I did. With the section-hiker ‘Numbers’ deciding to hike behind me and chat the whole 7 miles. He made me laugh as a few times he yelled ‘Curdles!’ Then had me look at the view or asked if I was drinking water. He was nice though and I was thankful he helped me keep going. Gorgeous views like no other. Sat atop and snacked. Hiked quick to stay ahead of a big hiking group. Ate launch atop a rock with a view. Talked with another hiker about her bag. I think the universe is teaching me about second chances and not to judge. So I am trying to be friendlier and put in social effort. Found my FAVORITE camp spot on the ridge, not too cold, sunset, mountains, amazing.” -Curdles
9/5 “Ate tons of blueberries on the way to Steven’s Pass. Go to the Steven’s Pass lodge and rummaged through the hiker box. As we walked down to start hitching we saw Big Boy, Baby Blanket, and Patient Zero getting into a truck so luckily we could fit it. Found out Baby Blanket is from Gorham, ME. We all got dropped off at Safeway & did our resupply for this week, shopped for another week’s supply box to send to Stehekin, & shopped for our ‘now’ food for the motel. Curds and I we are so excited. Got to our room & drank beer and wine, then went to the hot tub & chatted with Cheesesteak & Calamity.” – Level
9/7 “Happy 5 month Trailaversery!! Celebrated by waking up to a snuggly bed at 9am. Made PCT sign on cardboard and walked down to hitch. Bonnie, an older woman with flowing white hair picked us up, after turning around specifically for us. My favorite hitch yet. It was a 40 minute ride which seemed nearly too short. She had never heard of the PCT- simply wanted to help. She was giggly, chatty, and a good listener. My role-model for that age. She gave us chicken Marsala and we gave her sour cream and chips. It felt good that she didn’t think half eaten sour cream was gross. Then we gave hugs and well wishes. Saw Shenanigans! (super cool dude). Played huge checkers with Level- I lost. Hiked 7ish miles, it was sprinkling. Felt a full emotional moment, positive one while hiking by myself. Trail is home. Level and I now communicate so well. Honestly, he told me how he felt I wasn’t connecting as we got back on trail and I explained my internal processing of the past few days. No judgement or defensiveness- just good, open communication. Ate the Marsala for dinner- so good.” -Curdles
9/9 Beautiful morning weather, this Glacier Peak Wilderness sectio neasily become one of my top. It was grassy, nice views, great clear bright blue skies, plenty of blueberries. The second half was also nice with mossy dense forest. I raced up the last climb to get a camp spot, but we had to hike on because they were all taken. Found a nicer spot, cooked in tent. I love Curds and her wonderful attitude.” – Level
**At this point of our trip, I stopped writing in my journal. I felt like I had to hold onto every moment in the present time & for some reason I just couldn’t get myself to write. Instead I would lay and listen to the sounds, look around at my surrounds, or just close my eyes and sleep. Thankfully Level kept writing every night. **
9/12 “Got maybe 1-2 hours of sleep due to it being soooo cold. Hiked down from Cloudy Pass to Lyman Lake & the sun came out!! We really appreciated it after a cold night. The village of Holden is really cool, we should visit some day. Got to camp early so we can prep for the night, lay emergency blanket down, and eat.” -Level
9/14 “Made breakfast, eggs & the meats my mom sent. Found our packages at the Post Office. We were the no namers… we sent ourselves boxes without putting our names on the boxes. That’s why they couldn’t find our boxes for over a day. Took bakery shuttle, had more cinnamon buns. Hiked 5 miles out, chatted with section hikers whom were amazed at our journey. 5 DAYS TO GO!! Happy and sad. Now is the sweet spot, almost done so we can enjoy.” – Level
9/16 “Hiked 3 miles at 2 am due to spotting a mouse. Found a spot up on the ridge. Woke up at 8 am to cold rain/snow. Rainy until about 3 pm. Set up camp at 4 pm. Didn’t want to be up on the mountain, wet.
9/19 “Tagged the Border! 😀 Wooooo. Hiked back so that we only have 10 miles to Hart’s Pass.” -Level **Reaching the Canadian border did not mean that we were finished with our hiking miles. We had to backtrack 32 miles to get back to the nearest United States roads. So we continued for another day and a half until we were actually off the trail.**