Bittersweet, or Hetch's title idea for today- 'Shmoltze' haha

Day 171

Leaving Teresa and Dave's beautiful home was tough, but the great breakfast and promising skies helped get us up and running. Dave drove us into town to pick up some needed supplies and we stopped at the Rocking Horse for some killer coffee!

Driving up to Rainy Pass the sky started to fall and by the time we were saying our goodbyes it was raining. As we ascended over 2,000 feet the rain turned into ice and then heavy snow. The beauty of it was that our pace didn't slow!

When we began ascending everyone was the most talkative they've been since our stay with the McCinn's in Skykomish. That and it is excellent to have Rockfish inboard. He has hiked all three major long distance hiking trails before, including this one, and additionally bagged a repeat on the appalachian trail in a two piece section hike and this trail will be a repeat! All those epic trails total totaling about 13,000 miles! He is one of the most experienced, easy going and genuine people I know. To think we get the chance to bond with him at the end of all this is the ultimate ending to this ultimate adventure. He also films all his adventures and it was great to hear about all the cool things he's captured along the way. Truly a great addition to the crew.

Anyway, the snow came and went as we flew over Cutthroat Pass, a truly epic area with razor spines and fury larch trees. The swirling snow only added to the feeling that I will miss these moments when we reach Canada in a few days. Afterall, we have only 6,000 feet of elevation gain and 45-miles left. We're all going to miss this. The comradeship, the adventure, the epicness you feel in the amazing lands we've trekked through. At the end of the Appalachian Trail I was broken, at the end of this journey I am inspired.... to live passionately, stay balanced, and to live simply.

When I leave this trail in a few short days I leave behind one very real love, the mountains, the great west. However, in return for that loss I am given back what is most important- family, friends who are family, and being with the one I love.

- Andy