the eve

Day 172

A day filled with dark skies, and a mix of snow and rain was to be our last full day in America. Tonight we sjust 21 miles away from the canadian border; the end of this trip.

The day was slightly wet and cold, but the day went by quickly. The miles are flying by, and the end is quickly approaching.

Not much to say today other than tomorrow, we camp in Canada.

-- Ian

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

make up day

Day 170

Today we made up for the crummy day which was yesterday. Luckily, meeting up with Rockfish meant getting hooked up with a trail angel he had gotten in contact with. We kind of sprung three extra hikers, and felt bad -- but there was no service to give her a head up!

So this morning we left high bridge at a whopping 7:20am -- the earliest start we have gotten in a while. We cruised 20 miles to the highway she was picking us up at, and the beautiful weather, and new hiking buddy made it fly by. Before we knew it we were at a road, and in a car with the lovely Theresa.

She drove us into the town of Winthrop which is a wild west themed town with an awesome outfitter, tons of coffee shops, and the best pizza on the west coast. Being a new yorker, I've always taken pizza for granted. Coming out here, I realized what a pizza snob I was and have been disappointed along the trail. Today at East 20 Pizza in Winthrop, my desire for real pizza was satiated. They had tons of great toppings, but they had an amazing cheese slice. When a pizza place can do a cheese slice right, they are good to go.

After some food, and a beer, we headed back to Teresa and partners place. He actually built the house they live on, and it has the most beautiful view I've ever seen from a house. Nestled in the rolling hills of Winthrop, we happily and comfortably sleep on the floor of her place and prepare for the LAST 62 miles of the PCT.

We are ready for this.

-- Ian

Full Circle

Day 169

The mental frustration that grew over the last heinous stretch grew today as we explored Stehekin.

While it is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been with massive mountains, clear blue water and hundreds of red salmon gathering in the Agnus River, it is also CLOSED! Everything was shut down today, except for the post office. If we couldn't get our resupply boxes todayuaV we would have been much worse off.

After receiving the packages we went down to the lake and made a 'lunch' out of old hiker box food. We combined mystery seasoning that I had to cut with a knife, noodles, kinwa and old old old hamburger helper. It was nasty, even for a starving hiker.

After all that we half-hitched, half-walked back to the trailhead and met up with our buddy and only other thru-hiker out here Rockfish. He's from Detroit and an awesome guy who will be joining us for the last 80-miles! More the merrier as we finish this thing out.

Although the mental strain is taking hold, the end approaches quickly.