Sept 25-27: Into Canada and DONE!! :)

Woohoo!!   Tina reached Canada at 4pm on Wednesday Sept 26th, spent the night a few miles north of there camped with Frost and Halo, and yesterday morning I was able to collect all three at road a few miles further on, get them showered and fed, and then "home" by late in the day.   After two full summers of hiking, cycling, and driving up and down the roads and trails of the Pacific Crest we are alive and DONE!! 

It was well time too .. in the final few days Tina's right hip started acting up, her pants blew out completely (forcing her to wear her tights), the zipper gave out on her tent, her air mattress had to be refilled 5 times per night, and her hip belt was not staying fastened!  My oh my ... it was definitely time to be finished!    But finished we are!   :)

I may write again later on with final notes, but one interesting bit before I go.   Some of you will recall that the hiker Frost (pictured earlier here) we met in Vermont in 2010 during his and Tina's Appalachian Trail thru hike.   Through the rest of that hike we encountered him many times and he summited Katahdin just a couple hours prior to Tina (they crossed paths on the way up and down).    We'd had no contact since then but this year as I was letting Tina out on a logging road in northern California, Frost popped out of the woods!     Just like on the Appalachian Trail we encountered him almost a dozen times afterwards (even though Tina took time off for the ankle issues!).   Guess what?   He reached the PCT's "summit" a couple hours before Tina just like on the AT!! .. and then I met him just before her at the PCT's equivalent trailhead.   And all this is without any coordination or effort to synchronize.    Weird and Wonderful Trail Magic!

Thanks again to everyone for all their support during this year's adventure.

All the best, David & Tina

Sept 22-24 - 41 miles to Canada!

Tina arrived at Rainy Pass right on schedule yesterday and, after 23 hours of clean-up, rest, and re-loading, she headed back out this morning at 11am and hiked north about 19 miles.   She only has 41 miles now to reach Canada and 50 miles to my intercept with her at EC Manning Provencial Park on Canada's Highway 3.    We are starting to believe that we may actually get this done!   

As Tina has been talking to other hikers most have talked about feeling sad that their hike is ending -- and we recall ourselves feeling this way on the Appalachian Trail -- but not us not this time!!    We are ready to be done!! 

As you can see a bit in the photos, the smokey conditions continue.   Sometimes there is just a haze and a light smoke smell but than at other times it gets really thick with fine ash falling on you and other fun stuff.   It just all depends on how the wind is blowing from the Wenatchee Complex and Table Mountain fires.   With each step north Tina is moving away from all that, tho, and so it should be getting better for her (and today was not bad).

The next update probably won't be until after has finished (knock on wood).   Cross your fingers!

Sept 18-21 - Less than 100 miles to to Canada

Tina's still out on the 124-mile stretch between Stevens Pass and Rainy Pass but I thought I'd report that as of about 6pm last night (Friday) she closed within 100 miles of the Canadian border.

The terrain has been vertical with as much as 8000 feet of "up" in a day but Tina has been moving strongly and generally clears 22-23 miles per day.   Tina's reported that a good many hikers are walking well past dark in order to compensate for the shorter days and to make it into the isolated community of Stehekin by noon today (to get their resupply packages at the post office there before it closes).  

In wildlife news, Tina encountered her first bear two days ago (which was busy eating berries and didn't bother to look up) and last night slept in an apparent marmot colony listening to their eeep-eeeps all night long.

Weather conditions have been good but some days on trail (and back here at Cle Elum) are smokey just depending on how the winds are moving the smoke from the Wenatchee Complex fires and Table Mountain Fire.   Today should be better for us both, tho.

If things stay on schedule, I will intercept her tomorrow afternoon at Rainy Pass and will set her back out for the final run into Canada sometime Monday.

Sept 14-17 - Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass

Tina's "fully operational" now having hiked the 74 miles with 20K+ feet of climbing between Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass in 3 full days worth of walking and reaching Stevens Pass mid-morning yesterday.   Although a smoke haze seems to cover the state of Washington with its 100+ burning wildfires, the scenery has still been stunning and it seems to be getting better yet with each step. There are thru hikers everywhere but all but a few are new to us.  

Knock on wood, but it seems we have lined up a bit of weather luck.   The forecasts are calling for unseasonably warm (highs in the 70s) and dry weather which may cover the remainder of Tina's hike.    We hope they are right!

Tina headed out from Stevens Pass about 11:30 this morning with about 193 miles left in her hike and 124 miles until her next resupply and intercept at Rainy Pass having averaged about 6000 feet of climbing each day.    From there it is directly on to Canada!

Sept 11-14 step, step, step, and back going...

Tina is camped tonight at mile 2420.7 - 18.7 miles north of Snoqualmie Pass.    In messages sent tonight she said that she's been passing through very beautiful countryside and is camped beside a fabulous waterfall.

Tina had done three short slackpack days of of roughly ten miles each leading into Snoqualmie Pass.   With her feet continuing to get better she departed there mid-morning and headed into the unbroken 74-mile stretch to Stevens Pass, my next intercept.

Our satellite communicator seems to have been broken by a software update installed last night.  This leaves a situation where Tina can send messages to me but I can't send any back.  She was able to contact me via cell in the mid-afternoon to verify that was the case and so at least she knows not to worry about me.

Sept 8-10 - on, off, on, off, on, off, ...

Continuous thunderstorms with occasional hail rocked Tina all through Saturday night but she stayed dry excepting a few minor leaks in her tent that we will be working on today.  Sunday was a walk in clouds and sprinkles but she had to struggle for the 22 miles it took to reach me at Tacoma Pass -- we'd put her out with her new-new shoes too soon.

Today we're off trail again icing and mending.   What's happened is that each time we have put her out things have been fine the first 10-15 miles but then then serious pain develops on the downhills. 

The good news is that her hip+shooting leg pain are almost completely gone and the original problem with the right ankle is down at a manageable level.   Also, she feels like the new-new shoes are not contributing to things -- they are okay.  The new problem is the pain she picked up along the top of her left foot when she went out 5 days ago with the modified old-new shoes. 

Not many pics today with all the cloud walking, but I've added some in from my back road travels including one of Frost.   I encountered him while I was scouting Stampede Pass, just ahead of Snoqualmie.

UPDATE: We got an X-ray of Tina's left foot -- no "Marchers Foot" / stress fracture and so we're headed back on trail tomorrow (Tuesday the 11th) only slack-packing and with low miles.  

UPDATED UPDATE: We just learned this evening that Frost injured his ankle just this morning and is now off trail himself. Sad news but we hope that he'll be back on soon.   As you may recall from our AT adventures, we were magically synchronized with Frost from late Vermont through summit day in Maine.   And the same thing has seemed to be going on here on the PCT ever since Quincy well back in California.   So either he has got to get fixed and back on for us to finish this thing!  :)

Sept 6-8 - Stutter steps

Tina hiked the 29 miles into Chinook Pass arriving there around noon yesterday.   Unfortunately, the situation with the feet had gotten worse (now with the left foot involved too).  We'd modified the suspect shoes that she'd switched at the WA border hoping that'd to the trick but now it was clear we had to get entirely different shoes.  

We did manage to find some that seem passable in that they weren't offending the already-hurt places and so after an evening of icing and re-outfitting we got her back on the trail late this morning.   The report tonight after hiking 19 miles is that things at least don't seem worse.  

If she's able to keep her miles up I will fetch her from Snowqualmie Pass mid-Tuesday in forecast rain.  

Thanks to all for the support and good thoughts!   /David

Sept 6 - Back on the trail

Tina's back on the trail as of a bit before noon today.   She's not pain free, but after nearly a week of intensive R.I.C.E. with some light spinning in the gym, her ankle was very much better. 

She's left with an apparent nerve pinch issue that developed during the hobbling she did while she was compensating for the original ankle injury.   That provides her with a nice shooting pain from her left hip down to her left calf as she takes each step, but the doctors here took a separate look at that a couple days ago, gave her a prescription anti-inflammatory to perhaps help with that, and cleared her to get back on the trail.

Anyway, when we arrived at the White Pass trailhead today we found the mother and young daughter thru-hiking team Mama Bear and Monkey at the trailhead also gearing up.   Tina had been hoping to meet them and so now it has come to pass.   They were fiddling with a busted Platypus water valve when we arrived.  I was able to supply them with a replacement and then all three hiked out together.

As I type this (7pm) Tina is still moving and has covered ground within her normal speed range and is over 17 miles in.    Keep your fingers crossed for her! 

Aug 28-31; ... and so much for plans!

Tina hobbled into White Pass late yesterday evening having suffered all three days while she was out as she nursed a very sore right ankle and, later, a very sore left lower back -- we'd put her back onto the trail too soon and now things were considerably worse.    To ice the cake she had a couple other things going on too that made us think she needed antibiotics as well.

This morning was spent at Cle Elum's medical center where, I'm happy to report, Tina received prompt and diligent attention.  The good news is that there are no stress fractures and no need for antibiotics either.   The bad news is that we are going to be icing and elevating this ankle for several days to get the inflamation down and then Tina walking without substantial pain.   We'd gotten our hopes up to finish the trail by September 15th but that goal is clearly off the table now.

Cle Elum (80ish miles east of Seattle on i-90) is a nice place to rest up, tho, and so there are definitely worse fates!

In other news, Tina has now passed through the beautiful but terrifying Goat Rocks Wilderness.  We'd been warned by other hikers about the extremely hazardous trail through there and Tina was not to be disappointed.   The dangerous parts were too scary to risk taking pictures but long sections were  extremely narrow and slippery/loose trail on extreme side slopes with two or so miles of that walking a knife-edge ridge steeply-sloped off in both directions.

Tina had the additional fear that her ankle might give way or that a pulse of pain in it might cause her to flinch when no flinching is allowed!  And as things developed, Tina did fall twice with one of those requiring a "quick cat-like twisting maneuver" to avoid going over the edge!

This event marked only the fourth time in Tina's life that she was so fearful that her legs were shaking .. #1 was being stuck on a knife-edge during a solo summit attempt on Fountain Peak; #2 was her Mount Washington traverse in 70mph winds with 15 foot visibility; #3 was the descent from Mount Whitney on the huge snow chute that existed last year; .. and now this at #4!

Fun fun!

Aug 22-27; 431 miles to go!

After a half-day's rest, Tina crossed the Bridge of the Gods last Wednesday and hiked into Washington.

Immediately things changed.   The trees and vegetation were different, the terrain got decidedly more vertical, bear sign -- which had become scarce -- suddenly was common again, she experienced her first sustained rain, she started encountering elk .. and huge slugs!   Our friend Sweep (of the Tripp & Sweep we met last year) even had a mountain lion jump down onto the trail 50 feet in front of him and then casually saunter away!   All this adds to the excitement that Tina and the rest of the hikers are now feeling as the end actually becomes imaginable.  

After Tina entered Washington, I picked her up three days and 83 miles later on a forest road outside of the tiny town of Trout Lake.   I had planned only to resupply her there and delay moving my camp up from Oregon, but something about her new shoes resulted in some form of tendinitis in her right foot and ankle and so we decided to go ahead with the 2-day move in order to give it a rest.

As I "released" her this morning, the foot and ankle were still hurting (but less) and she'd switched back to her old shoes.    I haven't heard a report yet but as I type this she has hiked 23 miles today and is still going -- a hopeful sign!

If able, Tina is now planning to hike the rest of the way (the 431 miles) without any more days off.  Keep your fingers crossed!  :)