This it it you guys! The last blog post of my journey on the Pacific Crest Trail.
I speak more on this later in this post, but endless thank yous for following along and making this journey bigger than myself. This trip was hands-down the best experience of my life, and I’m already struggling to find the right words to do the trail justice. I’m coming to terms that I won’t be able to do that- and maybe that’s okay.
Anyway… enjoy, friends. ❤
Day 138: Stevens Pass (Mi. 2461.7) to Lake Valhalla (Mi. 2467.2)
Annnnnnd today I headed out into the final days of my journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. The stretch from Stevens Pass to the Canada Border is a receptionless segment of the trail’s best vistas, unpredictable weather, and sweetest moments. I am READY!
After a quick resupply in Wenatchee and a stay at Wasabi’s parents home, we scooted back to Stevens Pass for just a quick 6 miles to camp. It was flat and fairly uneventful, but I was able to chat with my old college roommate Grant for one of the first times on trail. I also called my mom and dad for the last times. It was a surreal feeling know that the next time I speak to them I will either be…
a) A completed Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiker
Either way, what an adventure!
Day 139: Lake Valhalla (Mi. 2467.2) to Mi. 2489.6
Today I stepped in real life human shit. Barefoot. It was one of the worst experiences ever and I don’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Good gracious.
Obvi, that was my low for the day. Buuuut that’s pretty much the only low! The rest of the day was fantastic, with lots of elevation change, a midday swim in an alpine lake with my donut float, and camping early at a BEAUTIFUL exposed grass shelf with Otter, Baby Carrots, Wasabi, and Unger. Happy happy.
Day 140: Mi. 2489.6 to Mi. 2513.2
Ooooo goodness today was EXCELLENT.
^ Are you getting tired of those intros? I’m not.
This morning I hauled. Not sure what *exactly* spurred me to hike so fast this morning, but I’m not too upset about it. Most of the gang camped at Lake Sally Ann last night, which was about a mile past our little exposed shelf. We caught up to them as they were packing up camp, and this moment really stuck a cord in my heart.
For the past 4.5 months, I’ve had to treasure to wake up in pristine wilderness, pack all of my belongings onto my back, and hike with some of my favorite people on earth. If I camp by myself, I’m bound to run into some within a few hours. We only have a few days left of this magic. Soaking it up as much as I can!!
My speedy pace this morning landed me about an hour ahead of the group, so I used that lead to read and nap at Reflection Pond around Mile 2498. There, the group caught up to me and we hiked the next 2 miles to 2500 together. This milestone felt pretty significant! 2500 miles! What?!?! That’s the proclaimers times five. Or 2.5 Vanessa Carltons. Pretty nuts, you guys.
I pushed off from 2500 a little early and wiggled into a nook in a tree about a mile later. A second nap happened, and there were absolutely zero regrets about it. It made the rest of the day a litttttle tricky to catch up with the rest of the group, but it was perfectly alright. The trail dropped about 2700’ and back up again 2000’. On the climb out of the valley, the clouds and sun did a beautiful dance that made the sky look like it was on fire.
At camp, we ran into Dorian, Drum Solo, and Hitch. Hitch, who I haven’t seen in 2300 miles, is the other girl who named me Peanut!!! It was an epic reunion. After scouting out a good tent site, Lady, Olaf, and I scooted wayyyyy up into the trees and found a tiny flat spot where we jigsawed our tents together. I love these two so, so deeply. They’re my people.
Day 141: Mi. 2513.2 to Suiattle River (Mi. 2538.1)
Oh geez my legs are sore!! Today’s elevation loss/gain was pretty gnarly, but man oh man were the views to die for.
The morning started out colder, brisker than usual. While I began hiking in just a short sleeve shirt and gloves, I definitely didn’t get the usual warmness that comes with elevation gain.
Around 5 miles in, we passed the famous Mica Lake. Well, it’s sort of just popular. We heard rumors of it being the most beautiful lake on the PCT, but prepared ourselves for just another really cool alpine lake.
Yeah, Mica Lake was too freaking notch. The entire time I just imagined how much my former boss, Mica, would enjoy this crystal blue, shimmery lake. You could see the bottom of the lake from every angle, and it all just seemed surreal.
This when I dropped my pack and made a quick decision. I know it’s only 9am and it’s complete glacier melt, I’m going swimming. With this, I inflated my donut pool float and hit the shore. The group began to arrive, asking if I was really going to swim.
Heck yeah!! I removed my hiking clothes, jumped in, and paddled all around with my float. I even scurried out to where then sun hits the water, and felt completely relaxed. An undeserved gift from above.
One by one, the rest of the crew descended on Mica Lake, convincing each other to jump in and swim around. Soon, we had 12 hikers paddling around the lake, freezing their tushes off.
This has gotta be one of my all-time favorite PCT memories. Seeing the whole gang jump in together. First, Wasabi and Unger, quickly followed by Karaoke, Olaf, Lady, A-Team, Bamboo, and Flicker. Finally, Otter and Baby Carrots made a splash. Good freaking times.
The rest of the day was pretty “meh,” with lonnnnng switchbacks by the dozen up extremely tall hills. The views were incredible, but damn…. they wore me out- I’m exhausted! Looking forward to an easier day tomorrow.
I hiked the majority of today by myself, something a lot of us are choosing to do in order to properly digest the finale of this journey. Canada is just around the corner, and I don’t think any of us are prepared to go home. I’m honestly wishing for just a few hundred more miles.
Oh!! Today at lunch Olaf ate her white rice with the bottom-of-the-bag sour patch sugar added in. On purpose. She had me try it and I involuntarily spewed it everywhere. It was DISgusting, but I admire her creativity.
Day 142: Suiattle River (Mi. 2538.1) to Mi. 2564.3
Yeah. So. There’s apparently a snowstorm coming in on Sunday and sticking around the rest of the week. Hahahahah PCT 2017, man.
Anyway- today was alright. We basically just had one giiiiiant hill, up and over. It was pretty much canopied the entire time, so views were limited. We also decided to tack on a few extra miles to the day in order to catch the first shuttle into Stehekin tomorrow. I was originally against the idea, but this means more time at the crazy famous Stehekin Bakery tomorrow…. and I’m ALL about that life.
At camp tonight, we had a huge group of us gathered around in a circle with our tents. Guthooks (my PCT iPhone app) has a comment on this area as “The Hilton of Campsites.” I wouldn’t go *that* far, but it’s pretty dang nice and roomy. Plus, it sets up for the shuttle tomorrow! Boo yeah!
Day 143: Mi. 2564.3 to Stehekin (Mi. 2569.4)
Oh sweet Stehekin, you have my heart.
This morning we made the quick 5-mile hike to our final National Park- North Cascades!!! When we arrived in the Park, the salmon were spawning in Agnes Creek, which was so. freaking. cool. Icey blue water with fiery orange salmon dancing around. What a beautiful scene (that I failed to take a picture of). This is something I’m noticing- taking pictures isn’t at the top of my mind anymore. Until now, if I failed to take a picture, it was because I was too lazy or tired to get out the camera. Now, it’s because I’m so captivated and consumed in the moment. Taking out a clunky, digital device yanks me out of the magic of the moment and it’s no longer a priority. This trail is evolving my relationships with all the things I used to prize so much. I like it.
Our shuttle group into Stehekin was absurd. Probably two dozen hikers that we’ve been bounced around for weeks has compressed into this 9:15 shuttle to the remote, unincorporated community of Stehekin.
Let’s talk about Stehekin for a second. We are in the middle of a 10 day stretch without service. This town is no exception! Stehekin, located on the end of Lake Chelan has 75 total residents. And guess what- you can’t drive to it!! There are a few roads in the town, but all the vehicles have been barged there. Literally the only way to get to Stehekin is by horseback, hiking, or by ferry on Lake Chelan. The town has a bakery, a post office, and a small country lodge. The bakery (ohhhh the bakery) is run by beautiful, tatted millennials and the lodge is country themed with dirt floors. What?! This place is MAGIC and the sweetest escape.
The shuttle dropped us off at the bakery, and we spent a pretty lengthy amount of time shoving our faces with the world’s best pastries (seriously- not just hiker hunger. these were mind blowing). After, we walked .2 miles to Wasabi’s grandmother’s cabin right on Lake Chelan. Wasabi’s hookups have made Washington even more special.
I spent almost the entire day laying in the grass at the cabin on the shore of Lake Chelan, reading a paperback copy of The Alchemist I picked up in the community library (a small little shed), and feeling all the weight of just 90 miles left of the Pacific Crest Trail. Woo boy.
For dinner, Wasabi’s grandmother treated us to a fantastic buffet dinner at the local lodge. It was the biggest treat and 10000% made me feel even more spoiled. Today I hiked into one our Nation’s most incredible Parks, ate at the World’s Best Bakery, spent the day reading next to a crystal-clear lake, and then treated to a BBQ buffet. I do not deserve this.
Tonight I’m exhausted. Physically, mentally, and spiritually. Full transparency- there’s been a little bit of conflict on trail that made me aware of my frustration with the church. It is so easy for us to get caught up in little things and completely misrepresent what Jesus is all about!! I think that’s where Evil likes to dance. In the details. In pride, entitlement, and laziness. Our tunnel vision distracts us from the bigger picture of love, grace, and undeserved sacrifice. A lot of thoughts on this topic- but MAN I’m pooped. It’s time to sleep.
Day 144: Stehekin (Mi. 2569.4) to Rainey Pass (2588.9)
Big day big day!
Did we go to the Bakery for a third time in 24 hours? Yes, yes we did. And I snagged a fresh Pesto Swiss Mushroom croissant and oh my goodness. The amount of expletives I said after biting into this pastry was a little alarming. This might have been the best thing I’ve ever eaten ever. Wow.
Let me lay out where we’re at leaving Stekehin. We are 80.6 miles from the Canadian Border (what!?) with another 9 miles after that to get to Canada’s Manning Provincial Park, where we’re getting picked up.
The snow comes tomorrow (Sunday), and we’re trying to finish by roll into Manning Park Tuesday afternoon. Otter and Baby Carrots are about a 3/4 day ahead, and we reeeaalllly want to finish by them. Let’s do it! The hill out of Stehekin isn’t that fun. While it’s gradual, it is 25 miles long. Woof.
We rolled into Rainey Pass a few hours before dark and Wasabi’s dad and friend were waiting with some beautiful pizza trail magic. We chatted, caught up from the last time we saw them, and planned to hike just up the trail. Unfortunately, we only hike .1 miles before running into MORE trail magic hosted by the PCT Washington Singles Society (or something like that). They served us hot chocolate and promised us a pancake breakfast in the morning, so we stuck around.
Before bed, I read an excerpt of The Little Prince to Wasabi and Unger before snuggling right in between Lady and Olaf. This is our last night cowboy camping on trail, and I will absolutely miss this. We were basically able to have a sleepover nearly every night on trail. I miss it already.
Day 145: Rainey Pass (2588.9) to Mi 2613.8
This morning I had a bit of a late start (6:40, eyo!) and visited the trail angels from last night for some final magic before Canada- pancakes!! These are the last non-PCT folks we’ll see until we complete the trail, which is pretty strange. Bye, muggles!!
Today it really, really hit- it’s officially ending. The snow has come and it’s time to wrap this party up. I spend most of the day reflecting on the past few months, and thanking the Lord for such a wonderful journey. There are no words. Gah, I’m an emotional mess right now. Yayyy.
At camp, it was just Peanut and the Pink Ladies (Wasabi, Olaf, and Lady). I couldn’t have asked for a better second-to-last-night of camping. We’re staying up way too late airdropping all the photos, reflecting on memories, and eating ourselves silly. It’s also ridiculously cold.
I am just so thankful. I do not want this to end, but I am so excited to complete this journey. I just wish I could complete it and continue it all at once. Booooo!
Alright, last full day tomorrow. Let’s do it!
It’s 2:05am and I just leaned outside my tent to pee. Looks like winter came early this year! There’s probably a half inch? of snow on the ground. Hahahaha, 2017. Check-mate.
Day 146: Mi 2613.8 to Woody Pass (Mi. 2638.8)
We are currently camped just 11.2 miles away from the PCT Northern Terminus- the Canadian Border. I am overwhelmed with gratitude, excitement, and a bit of sorrow to see this journey come to a close. Tomorrow morning I will cross into Canada, earning the title of PCT Thru-Hiker (Class of ’17)!
We chose a pretty fantastic year to hike the trail. Nicknamed “the year of fire and ice,” 2017 brought its fare share of wonder and hardships.
The desert brought the Superbloom. The Sierra gave us record-shattering snowfall, incredible vistas, and unnerving snowmelt, where we lost friends to dangerous creek and river crossings. In Northern California we experienced record heat, while in Oregon we viewed the eclipse at near-totality and dodged devastating wildfires. The logistical nightmare of wildfires continued through Washington, the land of magic and dreams. In our final state, we summited volcanos, ate our hearts out at bakeries, swam in lakes, and enjoyed an incredibly remote 10 day stretch through the North Cascades- the final days being… wait for it… in snow. Fire and ice.
I joined a trail family around 1250 miles ago and DANG it’s good to have these friends. While there’s hardship, hurt feelings, and tough conversations with any family- these 7 have brought me so much life. Tonight we lie 8 tents deep in a 2 tent campsite, airdropping photos left and right, laughing our heads off, and ~naturally~ eating ourselves to max capacity.
All of this feels so good. An end of a journey. Tonight someone asked a question of “do you feel any different?”
This question surprised me, so I’ve been spending time thinking about it. Annnnd I don’t think I feel any different. This is what I can parallel it to-
Remember how on your birthday folks generally, sometimes comically, ask you if you feel older? I almost always never do, but it doesn’t mean the growth isn’t there. It’s subtle, and reveals itself through time in different scenarios.
I think that’s what the PCT will be for me. I didn’t reaaaally come out here for a life change or “to find myself.” An incredible, transparent family and a few years living solo has helped with that discovery in identity.
However, the trail has brought confidence. I’m now able to look at an obstacle, find a different angle to view it from, and tackle it. All in. Just like the “impassable” aSierra, some things are designed to teach endurance, reflect grace, and spark wonder.
These 145 days have also brought healing. While forgiveness and friendship had been dealt, I realized there were still some unaddressed wounds from years back that still whispered lies against my makeup and the man I was created me to be. Pressing into the discomfort of these wounds wasn’t fun, but I’d say it was pretty necessary for growth.
My trail family has taught me a LOT. We routinely ditched our clothes to swim in aline lakes. We laughed until we cried, oooooo’ed at the beauty surrounding, and ate an absurd amount of berries together. Conflict came, and we faced it like any PCT challenge- with patience, grace, and endurance. Thanks, fam.
This hike has hardly felt my own- the unreal support from friends, family, and strangers has made the trail feel more like a relay than anything. There are several stories of people relating to my -somewhat silly- allegorical stories in raw ways, which brings a wave of warmth and encouragement. The social grapevine weaved its way, and I’ve been introduced to countless friends of friends that have been inspired by the nature of the trail and expanding capacity to chase dreams. Thank you, thank you, y’all.
Tomorrow (okay, technically today… #4am) I’ll finish my hike from Mexico to Canada. Thanks for joining in on the journey, friends. I’m a blessed guy.
Today’s update: couldn’t have asked for a better last full day! Wasabi, Lady, Olaf, and I stayed in our snow-covered tents until 7:30a, and then hit the trail. Accented with a dusting of white, the mountains lit up with glory… which made the hike pretty slow going at first- too many photo opps!
We crossed over multiple passes, including Harts and Rock. I was lucky enough to have some killer conversations with Wasabi, Lady, and Olaf throughout the day. Canada was definitely on the forefront of the mind the entire 25 miles. Even the snow + ice can’t dilute our excitement. In fact, it probably adds to it!
With 8 tents in a tiny site, several inches of snow on the ground, and 11.2 miles to go, it all feels pretty dreamy. Happy (cold) (emotional) camper right here.
Day 147: Woody Pass (Mi. 2638.8) to CANADA!!!!! (Mi 2658.9)
Welp, we did it friends. This morning, September 19th, at 11:48am I hiked across the Canada Border, completing my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.
On April 25th at 6:45am I shoved off from the Mexico Border, completely unaware of how much this Trail would capture my heart. The ever-changing terrain, indescribable community, physical challenge, bone-chilling vistas, and spiritual growth all contributed to the best 5 months of my life. It is heartbreaking to know that it’s over, but I’m confident this experience will seep into all areas of my life.
I could not have asked for a better time at the Northern Terminus. My best friends and I celebrated each other with tears, high-fives, dancing, and hollering. In addition to the eight Suncups, Otter, Baby Carrots, DG, Pacer, Drum Solo, Dorian, Hitch, and so many others finished at the same time. My only wish is that GQ (Evan) was there too…. but he finished a bit before me, which is still so great. I’ll see him soon ;).
In April, my prayer and desire was that this hike would be much bigger than myself. By pure the Lord’s grace and goodness, these 147 days of iPhone notes have been able to resonate with those facing life’s own climbs and valleys. Whether it be loss of a loved one, divorce/separation, financial struggles, or simply waking up, facing the day, and doing it again… I have been blown away at how this little blog has surpassed any expectations I had for it. I have learned the challenges we face in traditional society can be tackled with the same framework as the trail’s: grace, discipline, patience, love, and Nutella.
To every single trail angel, friend, family member, and stranger that has supported me through this experience, THANK YOU. I cannot explain how much your encouragement over these months has meant. I have never felt community like this before. Adequately describing how my heart has been changed by you guys is an impossibility.
It has been an absolute joy to share this experience with you. Through these scrappy entries, you have welcomed me into your homes, around your dinner table, and in those evening bedtime reads. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Andrew “Peanut” Glenn