The Fight To The Finish

Tomorrow this hike enters the third and final phase – Washington. Talking to previous hikers, Washington is the most beautiful state. It is also as challenging as California.

First, the resupply strategy completely changes. To this point, I resupplied in town. This is not an option in Washington. All the resupply points have nothing more than a gas station at best. All my resupply boxes are being sent from home. My daughter Julia in charge of this.

Second, the race is on. The weather is a concern. Rain and snow become more likely each day. My gear is for three seasons. Winter is not one of the seasons. I should be in good shape, as I’m entering in late August. Hopefully, my rain strategy will ensure I keep dry.

Third, the terrain becomes much more difficult. The climbs like Northern California are back. I will still need to do 25 mile days. Fortunately, I’m in shape to do it now.

My evacuation points are much more remote. I may not have phone reception, even in these little towns.

Finally, there is still the fire question. The Northern Terminus remains closed. There are four closures as it stands.

That being said, my health is excellent. I have no injuries. I’m hiking at full speed. I have some concerns about my lack of reserves. I’ve increased my calories in my food bag. I lost 20 pounds in the Sierra Mountains. I don’t have 20 to loose now. The Northern Cascades are as physically demanding as the Sierra Mountains.

Mentally, I’m gunning to finish this. My morale is high. I’m confident in my conditioning. I’m frustrated that is probably all for naught, as I don’t expect to be able to get to the Northern Terminus. However, there is no question that the hike has been a success.

The only gear issue is that the zipper to my next insect netting is still broke. It has been too cold for mosquitoes, so this has not been an issue. The tent keeps me dry, and that I know works. All other pieces of gear are fully functional.

Body says go. Mind says go. Gear says go. Will the trail let me get to Canada?

3 thoughts on “The Fight To The Finish

  1. JP, I dont know if this will help you & sure all will change by the time you get to this location but thought I would pass it on. (This was the trip I was suppose to of done, but do to a accident my sis had I needed to stay home, so my friend did it solo, some day!)

    The first fire closure I encountered was before Stehekin at Cloudy Pass. We were rerouted down a trail to Holden Village. From there you caught a shuttle bus ( only one a day) that took you to Lucerne Landing to catch a ferry to Stehekin. When I arrived at Holden Village and saw the closure ahead, and the convoluted reroutes (they were still working out the details), I was ready to give up. I got a room for the night, and after much thought, decided that I had come too far to quit, and needed to see this through to the end.
    Once I arrived at Stehekin, the rangers at the visitor center were so patient and helpful with plotting out my plan to take the alternate route.
    The trail was closed at Harts Pass, but the only road in was closed, so there was no exit there. Instead, the reroute involved getting off at Rainy Pass (Hwy 20), hitching 19 miles west, to the East Bank Trailhead, and following that for 31 miles to the border. You cannot cross into Canada, so you either have to hike back the 31 miles (which I did),or prearrange for a water taxi to pick you up at an exact time for $195 (up to six people), to take you back down the lake to reach the highway. After plotting my route, it was going to take the same number of days to finish as the original route, and with the exception of the day I hiked to the border monument and back, they were fairly low mileage days. It definitely helped ease my mind once I realized it wouldn’t be a difficult trek after all.
    I arrived at the monument at the same time as a hiker from Germany called Knockout, who I had met back in Skykomish at the Dinsmores, so we took pictures for each other, then started our hike out. It began raining just minutes after leaving the monument, and continued raining off and on for the next 2 days.
    After hiking out of the park (this was all within the North Cascades National Park), my friend Liz picked me up at Hwy 20 to whisk me down the mountain for food, shower, laundry, and great conversation.
    It has been an amazing ride, and I feel incredibly blessed to have taken it.

    Liked by 1 person

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