The Life of a PCT Thru-Hiker: Washington Edition

Our message for this post is simple: the Pacific Crest Trail section through Washington is special. At least we think so. After five years of living in this state, there’s no place we’d rather be… except maybe somewhere warm and sunny during the thick of winter, but that’s beside the point. As soon as our feet crossed the Bridge of the Gods on the OR/WA border, we felt at home and excited to see new areas of the Cascade range.

Goat Rocks Wilderness

Even with our love for Washington in mind, we’re still able to admit that things start out a little underwhelming considering the hype of this section. But you’ve got to have faith! As you climb out of the Columbia River Gorge and towards Mount Adams, you’re mostly in the heart of a forest. Everything is green and lush. Streams are abundant but the views are limited. That is, until the trail takes you around the base of Mt. Adams, where you catch frequent glimpses of the 12,280 foot volcano. It’s easy to then think, “Huh, the guide books weren’t kidding.” Best of all, you’re just getting started.

Mt. Adams shining pink in the alpenglow at sunset.
Photo by Amos Almy

Once Mt. Adams is in the rearview and you continue north, the next big landmark is Goat Rocks Wilderness. If you ask a PCT Thru-hiker what their favorite section is, 9 times out of 10 (maybe more! This is a made up figure after all) they will chant Goat Rocks – Goat ROCKS! Rather than over explain the spectacular nature of this place, I will shut up and let the pictures say it all.

This stretch has some of the best ridge walking on the entire PCT. Three volcanoes can be seen from one place, two of them looking equally massive from your vantage. Doesn’t this just make you want to dance?!

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And so it begins

Today I woke up inspired and ready to begin the planning process for my Appalachian Trail 2014 thru-hike. I am currently a senior in my university’s Creative Writing program and will begin my Northbound adventure next March.

I think it started with National Geographic documentaries and PBS specials back in 2010. Right away, I was inspired to explore the East portion of my country and become acquainted with terrain I had always overlooked. My boyfriend Lucas and I have set this goal together–the trail has been of interest to him for the past five years.  Summer/fall 2012 he backpacked through Israel, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, etc. for approximately four months. When he returned to his hometown after numerous nights of sleeping in a hammock, and our communication picked up, I told him about my vague plans of the hike. Long story short, AT partners turned into a relationship and here we are, at the beginning stages of preparation!

Rock climbing 3-4 years in a family-sized Florida community brought upon a growing passion in both of us;  to reconnect with nature and enjoy the mountains, the woods, boulders, trails, and lakes for what they are and in their natural form. I am energized by every exposure to the outdoors. As a Boy Scout (I used to be a part of the coed program called Venture Crew) I am also concerned with the preservation of the land and live by the principle Leave No Trace Behind. My goal is to become integrated into a natural environment opposed to inhabiting the land. I also want to help others experience this sense of connectedness as well.

I cannot promise you any deep insight into the meaning of life, or what we can do to change the world, but I can share with you my passion for nature and document our journey along the way.

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