THE ENDLESS BEAUTY OF WASHINGTON’S RUGGED ROCKY MOUNTAINS

Capturing the eclipse on August 21st!

PCT DAY 132.. August 15th Zero day with Ginny and Jim!

PCT DAY 133.. August 16th Mile 2089 4200 feet 5 miles

Last day in the town of Bend with our hosts Ginny and Jim.. Spent the morning relaxing and waiting for Tatter’s camera to arrive by express delivery.. once we had that.. Ginny very kindly drove us.. myself.. Tatters and Tim up to the PCT trail junction at mile 2084.. passed all the fires closing the sections from Elk Lake Resort where they picked us up a few days ago! This closure I have now accepted and will just continue from here on through to the border of Oregon and Washington states.. in a few days time.. and then on up through Washington to the Canadian border and Manning Park in about a month!

Camped solo just 5 miles up the trail from the drop off junction.. in thick forest.. as the sun was going down through the trees! All quiet and feeling good! Tomorrow I’ll do as much as I can starting early with my head lamp at 4am.. I have a mountain to climb before the sun comes up around 6.30am!

Goodnight all! Thinking of you and thanks SO much for all your kind messages of support! I LOVE reading.. and re reading them all!

PCT DAY 134.. August 17th Mile 2119.0 4200 feet 30 miles

Well.. I’m almost out of Oregon.. and whomever said it was flat obviously doesn’t know what ‘flat’ really is.. it definitely has its share of ups and downs.. though not a steep grade and the tread is generally always good!

Highlights for today were Timberline Lodge where they filmed the Jack Nicholson horror movie ‘The Shining’.. so took up the axe he used.. for a picture of myself.. resembling the film!!

Further along the trail I passed the gorgeous Ramona Falls.. a horsetail spectacle of water and rock.. not to be missed on this section of the PCT!

PCT DAY 135.. August 18th Mile 2144.6 90 feet! 25.6 miles
(Cascade Locks and Bridge of the Gods!)

The miles hiked today.. were the last in Oregon.. as I’ll be heading over the ‘Bridge of the Gods’ and into Washington State (my last state on the PCT) in a few days time! I descended into the town of Cascade Locks and located the ‘tent city’ that was to be my home for the next few days.. set up on an island in the Columbia River called ‘Thunder Island’.. adjoining the RV Park.. This is where the ‘Trail Days’ or ‘PCT Days’ fair is to be held!

After setting up tent I had 2 packages to collect from the Post Office before it closed for the weekend.. one was my resupply box and the other.. full of every type of chocolate one could imagine.. was a wonderful surprise package from my angels.. Kalina and Andy Milani in Atlanta! Thank you both SO much.. this is a hikers dream.. and every single calorie will be put to good use!

Caught up with Mozart and a number of other hikers I hadn’t seen in months which was great..and said my farewells to ‘Tatters’ who is heading into Portland for a few days R&R.. Looks like it’s going to be a great weekend!!

PCT DAY 136.. August 19th Zero day on Thunder Island (RV Park) Cascade Locks

Today was spent relaxing with almost 200 other hikers and campers on an island in the Columbia River that joins.. and is part of the RV park! The ‘PCT Days’ or ‘Trail Days’ fair had started.. and kiosks have been set up in the same park selling everything a hiker might.. or for that matter.. might not want?!!

One kind couple selling sleeping bags and accessories offered to wash as many sleeping bags as they could in their special machine back at their business in town.. I think they got well over a hundred bags and by 3pm.. I had mine freshly laundered.. (it certainly needed a freshen up as it hadn’t been washed in over 5 months??!!)

PCT DAY 137.. August 20th Mile 2174.2 1200 feet 29.6 miles

Today around mid day I managed to find a ledge of rock.. just off the PCT.. jutting out thousands of feet above the forest floor below.. such a magnificent view.. and so very peaceful! I could even see the snow capped peaks of Mt Saint Helens and Mt Adams in the foreground.. and Mt Rainier between them.. in the distance! Pure magic against the start of my day!!

Ok.. so here’s another rather unfortunate story??! I left the overflowing campground in Cascade Locks at 4am and with the aid of a head lamp.. negotiated my way across the ‘Bridge of the Gods’ spanning the Columbia River.. and for the first time.. entered Washington State.. As I was looking for the PCT trail sign in the dark.. my right foot buckled and gave way as I’d stepped half on the bitumen road surface and half in a pothole! My worst nightmare hiking the PCT had just become a reality and with a painful crack.. something tore loose in my right ankle as I collapsed in a heap! #>!?# DAMD!!

I picked myself up.. and tentatively put weight on my foot to see if anything was broken.. fortunately it wasn’t.. So.. determined that ‘foot or no foot’.. I was going to finish this hike.. I set off up the mountain! At least it wasn’t broken.. and if it was I’d have carried it to Canada?!!

The day’s trail wound up and down through the gorgeously lush forests of Washington.. and thankfully due to copious amounts of Ibuprofen.. I was able to continue from Cascade Locks through to Trout Creek!

By the evening though.. when I removed my shoes I found that my ankle had swollen to the size of a golf ball?! =#?!# DOUBLE DAMD!! I soaked it in the cool waters of Trout Creek.. took another Ibuprofen and promptly went to bed.. hoping that tomorrow morning at least.. the swelling will have gone down??

PCT DAY 138.. August 21st Mile 2197.2 4000 feet 23 miles

Set my alarm to wake up at 4am.. but when I checked my foot it looked more like a football!! OHHHHH??! #=?# Consequently I had a granola bar and chocolate kindly provided by Kalina and Andy..before taking 400mg of ibuprofen and went promptly back to sleep resetting my alarm for 6am! In the light my foot did look significantly better.. so I limped around packing up camp and set off.. albeit at a VERY slow pace for the first couple of hours! After that and once I had maneuverability.. the pace quickened and I was almost able to hike normally.. ignoring what little pain there was!

The sun was up and as I scaled the first mountain I found a spot on a ledge at about 9.30am to watch the eclipse through the special glasses I’d picked up in a hiker box a few days ago.. again.. generously provided by some caring Trail Angel.. The sun all but disappeared as it was due to be a 98% eclipse here in Washington state.. and 100% eclipse in Oregon! Certainly something I have never seen before.. as the world took on a distinctly eerie evening glow..

Some section hikers that just happened to be on the ledge with me viewing the eclipse at the same time.. turned out to be doctors from the Czech Republic!! Fortune smiled on me as they very kindly put a compression bandage on my swollen ankle.. That seemed to cure all and off I hopped finishing the day by Sheep Lake having covered another 24 miles!

Camping solo with just the chip monks.. birds and as always.. the unfortunately ever present ants.. flies and mosquitoes! Had a little trail magic about 5 miles before camping courtesy of Mark and Anne whose son ‘Double D’ is also doing the PCT.. And my foot.. though still swollen does feel a good deal better! So goodnight to all.. from a peacefully content and very happy ‘me’!

PCT DAY 139.. August 22nd Mile 2226.4 3800 feet 29.2 miles

Today’s hike was all about the Ibuprofen and negotiating rocky terrain unfit for injured feet?! Consequently the day seemed never ending and as such.. it was with great pleasure that I ran into two through hikers.. ‘Simba’ and ‘Coco’ whilst we were all topping up our water bottles at ‘Mosquito Creek’?!

Simba informed me of a tiny town called Trout Lake.. about 19 miles east of the PCT that served great burgers and shakes.. AND is known to be super hiker friendly! My spirits improved.. I hiked on and caught the same lift into town as Simba and Coco.. kindly provided by trail angel Denis!

After both burger and shake.. we headed over to the General Store across the road where Bev.. the landowner and storekeeper kindly offers her front yard up to hikers for the night.. and all for free! So set up my tent and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and swapping stories with the other 10 similarly lucky hikers that had chosen to visit the likes of one tiny.. but extremely friendly and accommodating little town called Trout Lake!

PCT DAY 140.. August 23rd Mile 2253.2 5100 feet 26.8 miles

With my foot feeling better by the day.. I set off from the trailhead just outside Trout Lake.. climbing up through the forest into first the foothills.. and then the actual slopes of Mt Adams.. high above the tree line!

I spent most of the day circumnavigating this mountain of glaciers.. before descending once again to the forest below.. as the trail continued its quest to the north.. ‘on on’ as it were.. towards some invisible line demarcating the boundaries of these two great nations.. the United States and Canada!

PCT DAY 141.. August 24th Mile 2277.4 6000 feet 24.2 miles

WOW.. what a day! The hike was like nothing I have encountered yet on the PCT! Climbing up through the granite sentinels at Cispus Pass with views into the spectacular canyon below.. surrounded on all sides by the jagged.. snow capped peaks I was yet to climb! As I later descended Cispus.. the valley opened into a wonderland of rivers and creeks cascading from sheer cliffs above in varying waterfalls of every shape and size!

I then climbed the steep ascent and traversed what is known as the ‘knife edge’?! A two mile long path literally cut into the ridge line of the jagged peaks I’d seen earlier.. with sheer drops on both sides to the valley floors.. thousands of feet below.. This in fact is the highest point on the PCT in the state of Washington at just on 7500 feet! An adrenaline rush for sure.. all on slippery shale.. and all with the most incredible 360 degree views.. Mt Adams.. Mt St Helens and Mt Hood behind me and the towering Mt Rainier ahead.. Views of thousands of miles of endless wilderness.. some of which behind me.. I had already traversed.. and the challenges ahead.. of those yet to come!

Camping just a thousand feet down from the ‘knife edge’.. by a clear.. gurgling.. ice cold stream.. fed from the snow still clinging to the peaks above.. with two other through hikers I’d met in Trout Lake.. ‘Double D’ and ‘Top’ as well as a few section hikers.. either heading north like us.. or south.. What a day.. and what an immense treat for those yet to hike these awesome cliffs of towering ice and rock!!

PCT DAY 142.. August 25th Mile 2299.5 5200 feet 22.2 miles

Woke up this morning to the first frost of the coming winter.. and the first since the Sierra?! Time is certainly moving on!! Slept in late.. probably due to the frozen conditions outside.. but once up the views over the snow covered mountains we’d crossed yesterday were spectacular! Washington state has certainly surpassed anything we saw in Oregon.. and is without doubt the most stunning scenery after the Sierra!

Today’s hike was once again through majestically forested valleys followed by equally awe inspiring mountains.. the tops of which had breathtaking views of snow capped Mt Rainier and the jagged peaks beyond!

Stopped briefly at the single gas station that ‘is’ ‘White Pass’ for refreshments and a small resupply before covering another eight miles into the wilderness and camping with 3 other hikers (‘Ambassador’ from Sweden.. ‘Triple S’ from Germany and ‘Action’ from here in Washington) on the shores of an unnamed lake.. in one of the thousands of equally unnamed valleys!

My memories of yesterday and today will always be of some of the most stunning scenery I have ever seen!

PCT DAY 143.. August 26th Mile 2323.3 5700 feet 23.8 miles

Today I had intended to do more miles.. but the terrain here in Washington is extremely steep.. both the ascents and descents! Combine this with the extremely rocky trail.. and it invariably makes for a much slower pace?! I am also particularly aware of the ease at which my weakened foot could again roll on this ground.. so a slower pace is secondary to making sure the ankle heals properly! Anyway covered just over 23 miles for the day.. again with magnificent views of Mt Rainier and the forested valleys below..

Hit a bit of trail magic just before the day ended.. with a couple who had set up tent.. and were serving free sodas and cookies! Camping half way up a mountain at a place called Sheep Lake.. I think the second lake with the same name in as many weeks?!! This place however is a very popular spot for day/weekend hikers and their families.. and as such.. because it’s a Saturday.. I have a number of families camped around me.. Great to hear the laughter and squeals of delight from all the kids out on such an magnificent adventure with their parents!

PCT DAY 144.. August 27th Mile 2349.3 5100 feet 26 miles

Some days you feel it.. and some you just don’t?! Today was one of those days I just didn’t seem to have the energy for hiking?? I don’t know why.. but there it is.. so I just pushed myself on.. the whole day.. until I got to a spring with a tent site! Springs of water coming straight out of the ground are the very BEST of water sources.. clear.. fresh and ice cold..

Hiked.. as I’ve now hiked for the last few weeks.. solo.. and barely saw another soul! Camping again tonight with ‘Action’ a super guy from Pennsylvania..

My foot.. though still swollen.. is definitely feeling a whole lot better and today only had to take two Ibuprofen in the morning to get me going.. even by this evening there is practically no pain! Hoping it continues to improve..

PCT DAY 145.. August 28th Mile 2377.3 3400 feet 28 miles

Woke up this morning to the smell of wood smoke.. which startled me at first.. until I realized that yesterday I’d passed a forest fire deep in the valley 20 or so miles back?! With no wind overnight the thick smoke had found its way through the mountains.. and now lay stagnant in the early morning mist! Later in the day this was to disappear.. but all morning the air was acrid with the smell of the forest burning so many miles away!

I continued hiking solo.. though as is nearly always the case.. I know who is several miles in front and behind me.. ‘Action’.. ‘Hui’ and the ‘Coronel’ as well as a lovely couple ‘Piker’ and ‘Laundry-Matt’.. we’ve all been leapfrogging each other now for the past few days.. chatting at springs or creeks when ever we catch up!

Camping again tonight in the forests of Washington with ‘Action’ (tonight’s his last night on the trail) and tomorrow I’m heading into Snoqualmie for resupply!

PCT DAY 146.. August 29th Mile 2390.6 3000 feet 13.3 miles

A short day today as I just had to make it into Snoqualmie.. a little town on the trail for resupply! The day was mainly smoky due to the fires burning in Oregon.. and also heard that they’ve closed a 50 mile section of the PCT from White Pass on.. due to a new fire there?! So am really lucky that at least that’s behind me.. Feeling sorry though for all the hikers south of White Pass.. that it will affect.. including poor Grizz and Lovely Heart?!

Staying tonight at the Summit Inn here in Snoqualmie and sharing the room with two others.. ‘Action’ and ‘Sky’.. an Israeli guy we met today.. it all helps keep the costs down! Also had my first shower and wash in 11 days.. so feeling scrubbed and fresh.. having removed all the dust.. grime.. sweat and dirt of almost two weeks on the trail!!

Tomorrow setting off for Skykomish.. another little town four days up.. but off the trail. Goodnight all!

26 thoughts on “THE ENDLESS BEAUTY OF WASHINGTON’S RUGGED ROCKY MOUNTAINS

  1. We can only imagine how much determination you had to have, in order to carry on, walking and walking, under so much pain! You will definitively feel so happy with yourself…to have done so much! And still managed to dump the ‘devil over your shoulder’ and remained positive and happy! You are an Angel yourself! Very well done! 12 days to go! Remember, we all love you! Xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris we so enjoy reading about your truly amazing adventure. Hoping your ankle is on the mend.
    You are on countdown now and so we wish you all the very best for the remainder of the trail. Lots of love, Susan and Martin x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Luv the Peter Pan photo, you are clearly having an amazing adventure with all the delights of overcoming obstacles and achieving beauty in the small miracles along the way, people where/ when you need them and ever more stunning/ changing scenery. Your trip is an inspiration and joy to see and reading your updates is both beautiful and painful. You are nearly there 😃 Keep safe xxLee

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chris you are absolutely amazing. I never knew that you had so much grit and determination and we are SO proud to be your Parents. Your photos are just awesome and the blog just carries us along with you. Please take really ,really good care on this last section. Amazing! WHAT an achievement. our love always.X

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow Chris , what amazing beautiful and rugged scenery, quite a journey , the eclipse stunning, bugger about the ankle, and those feet , a podiatrist would have a field day , your an inspiration to us all , we are all very proud of you ,not long now , enjoy the last few weeks , thinking of you ,and there in spirit xo John Shirl Teah and Chloe

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Magical pictures of your ever changing surroundings – your feet and ankle are another thing altogether!! Can’t believe all those miles you have covered; not far to go until you will have not only “talked the talk” but “walked the walk” and achieved your goal! We have all been so lucky that you have shared your journey and taken us along too, trailing in your wake! Now the end is almost in sight …. don’t be slap- dash taking care of yourself especially that ankle!!! You will have to change your name from Rattler to Hoppity! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We are so enjoying reading of your “adventures”. Please take good care of the ankle and feet, there’s a great podiatrist here on the peninsula, and most of all take great care of yourself.
    Marrea and Warren

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey dear Chris, those poor feet…they ‘speak aloud’ for the inexplicable part of your story. But they will be healing for sure, with the whole trail soon embodied in them. As Mr. Frost summarized in 3 words his learning about life: it goes on, with out feet coming along😊. Enjoy the last strech of your amazing and beautiful journey, incl. nicely oscillating between the joy of arrival and the wish to lengthen those last days just to delay that arrival a bit… Happy Trail & stay on your track! Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amazing stories Chris! Will read them to Ali and Hannah tonight which I know will excite them tremendously. What an achievement to walk off what muss be torn ligaments and the scenery is breath taking. Being afraid of heights myself i wouldn’t want to switch with you on some parts of the trail. Keep on walking and take good care of yourself! The Muellers from Berlin!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Chris! Well done. You’re nearly there! Washington state sounds/looks magic. Go easy on the ankle and a piece of advice from your auntie Angie – when you do your next walk, take a compression bandage! Keep on keeping on xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So sorry about your ankle Chris. You pushed on showing your determination you’ve showed throughout the PCT! You are a mighty person to be admired and that we do! Take good care of yourself. Love you lots x

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Chris, it’s taken me a couple of days to read, re-read, and digest all that you have been through since the last blog, all I can say is you are an inspiration to us all, you are so determined to work through this, no matter what pain you endure, you’ve decided you are going to do it, and do it you will! What grit and determination, gonna miss reading your adventure story once you have completed the last section, sure you will welcome the chance to rest, and reflect on this monumental journey you have undertaken, stay safe mate, love you loads J & D in Bulgaria xxxx,

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chris, you continue to amaze and inspire us. Wonderful, emotional narrative and beautiful photos. You make us feel part of your amazing journey. Truly hope your ankle’s now better – you just keep on persevering, and we become lost for words. Stay strong and safe. Warm hugs, David and Sally xx

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Chris you are truely amazing Not long to go now We have loved keeping up with your awesome photos and your blog Look after you ankle and feet I hope they are feeling better now Enjoy and take care Love Floss

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Go Rattler!! So happy to watch you press toward Washington; although, of course, it is hard to not be out there with you any more. How fantastic that you’ve been hiking with Tatters and could make Trail Days and see Mozart and others (and get your sleeping bag washed!) 🙂 Watch that ankle…don’t push it! Thought I saw you with some trail runners on in some of your newer pictures…hope they work out!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Chris this is just incredible reading your journey! We’re all totally in awe of you! Your adventures are truly inspiring and just hope your ankle is being looked after. We love you heaps. Keep safe and focused. Jen, Russell, Michael, Tash and Mattias xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow Chris how do you do it?? We’re all just in constant awe of you and amazed at your sheer determination especially with the ankle! As Angie says, wear that compression bandage! We all love you heaps xxx Jen, Russell, Michael Tasha and Mattias

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Chris – We’ve really enjoyed following your adventures on this blog. Thank you for all the effort you’ve put into it. What a hardened trail warrior you’ve become in the past few months! And now you’re almost within sight of the Canadian border. We both wish you fair weather and no more trouble from forest fires in this final, home stretch of your odyssey. Almost done! All the best, Paul and Marci

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Your journey is really inspirational. The way you have kept moving ahead with determination and positivity gives us strength. The beautiful pictures you share makes us feel we are part of your journey. Hope your ankle is better now. Take care and be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Chris, we are full of admiration for you, this trip has been amazing, the wonderful photos which we have enjoyed immensely but your determination is something else and those poor feet! But your nearly there.
    We have some news, our baby granddaughter has arrived, Georgia India, exciting for us.
    Hope the ankle is fully recovered.
    Love and best wishes
    John and Wendy xx

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Rattler- hope the journey finished well! I’ve been reading back on your blog lately and reminiscing a bit. I heard you were planning on finishing on the 9th or 10th- hope all was successful. Julianna, Everett, and Thomas say hello!

    Like

  22. i check back daily to see if you have posted an update! Hope all is well and that you could still salvage the rest of your miles with all the fires / closures. Keep us posted when you can

    Liked by 1 person

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