The Gratitude Cafe Pt 3

DAY 19 - Snoqualmie Pass to Twilight Lake

Girl, put your records on.

I had a zero day in Snoqualmie, but ideally hit back on the trail today doing roughly 16kms. I left Snoqualmie around 3pm and arrived at camp around 7.20pm. Snoqualimie Pass is another gorgeous slice of America. I fall more and more in love with these towns and these incredible houses. It astounds me how much real estate in other countries really floats my boat. 

I've pondered for years in purchasing property, but I haven't done it yet. And I think I know why now. Ever since I was a child, aside from wanting to buy my parents a house, I also wanted to buy a place overseas. I've fought with my conscience so much in regards to buying property in Australia. I just don't fall in love with Australia. I come from there. I was born there. I grew up there. But I've never wanted to stay there. I've always felt trapped. I don't just speak in regards to me as an adult. I say this with all truth from when I was a little girl sitting in my bedroom in Kabra, 45 minutes out of Rockhampton. I vividly recall dreaming of being an American. I'd even try to mimic Americans on TV shows and try to live like the kids on Nickelodeon. I remember requesting Dad to even make American style food on the weekends or something. Trying to copy everything about the USA. Why have I been fighting against this? I know where my heart is. I still believe it. I just quash it down deep inside because of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of moving to the country where very little people actually succeed in the industry I'm a part of. I know where I need to be. I've always known and no one ever forced it upon me. I just knew and I have only just realised that I STILL know. It's time.

Back on the trail today was a little rough. It's getting super easy to leave towns though! I didn't even think twice. I wanted to be back out here. It's odd how this feels like home all of a sudden.

However, the PCT was a little unkind in its first stages of trail section introduction. It wasn't a very nice Welcome Back, Mr Cotter! Rocks again, and this time in new shoes. Debilitating again, but I will adjust. Out here, you just deal. 

The trail followed a few dirt roads and wasn't the most enjoyable of terrains. Incredibly rewarding to know I did roughly 16kms (a regular half day) in roughly 4 hours! That's such an improvement for me and considering the shoe adjustment. It's exciting for what's to come. 

Back in the woods around 4:30pm and the sun was beaming down through the gigantic trees again. I'm back to being solo, alone and the tiny speck of an atom in the forest. I do like these sections. They remind me of the fantastical element of my childhood. How the imagination of a child can go infinite places in nature. It can be anything you want it to be. If you want it to be scary, sure. It most certainly will. If you want to feel empowered, sure. It will give you strength. If you want to feel senseless, it has the power to make you feel nothing for a moment. I've experienced all of this out here, but the one that stands out is it's ability to make you revert to being a child. Not the child you were, but the child you are. There's a big difference. Not everyone would like to go back to their childhood. For some, it was difficult. Mine was awesome. No regrets. But I'm not referring to going back to that time. I'm defining the child within us all. She's in there. It's in all of us. Sometimes it's good to stop being so 'adult' and just allow things to be bigger then us. Maybe we wouldn't be such know-it-alls or eliminate some of the adulting stresses that we create on ourselves? Be a child. Feel like a child. It's ok. It's pretty sweet. 

I passed by the beautiful Mira Lake. I contemplated camping there for the night, but I definitely had another few miles in me! So on to the next campsite. 

Another lake. Twilight Lake. I found my campsite. I walked off the trail across some bushland and set up camp on a little island. She's a pretty view.

Cooked up my first meal back on trail and unpacked my house for the night. I had a moment. As I was putting my fly over my tent, I looked around. I looked down at my feet in new hiking shoes. I looked at my ruck sack. I then looked at my tent. My house. I laughed out loud. Bahahaha 'What in gods name am I doing out here?!' I thought to myself. If only people could actually see my reality at the moment. Then I looked at the mountains and knew the answer. Because those beauties are calling my name. I'll keep answering.

- Gx

DAY 20 - Twilight Lake to Campsite 468.8km

Blood running in my veins

What a day! The heat! And there's a heat wave to come. This isn't even it yet. So much smoke haze from the Canadian and Oregon fires, so views were minimal today. The hiking was rough. Undulating terrain, intense steep incline, sun beating down, oh and did I mention the heat?! But I pulled another 35km day. I'm in my tent and without a sleeping bag. That's the heat we are dealing with. A fellow hiker, Barry (who has become accustomed to being called Bazza, because he was adamant on acquiring an Aussie trail name) describes this weather as 'barbaric'. It's true. But heads up, it's gonna get worse!

Leaving my little camp site today was a little nostalgic. I'd found my own little island surrounding a lake and was almost a bit HR Pufnstuff with my own little corner of the world for the night. You can see it in the grassy area of this next photo.

It was a scorcher already. I was already sweating and knew I was going to need the electrolytes today. I consumed close to 5L of water today and used about 6 electrolyte tablets. 

The woods were a blessing for majority of the day. To get out of the direct sun and be able to breathe some moisture. It's a wake up call for the desert to come! Water sources were scarce for the day, and every passing hiker was questioning what sources were available in the opposite direction. 

You can tell from the haze in all the pictures that the fires are alive and well. By this time of day, it was unbearable. Having to stop every so many metres to sip water and wipe away the epic amounts of sweat I was losing. I dosed up on my chia seeds for lunch, trying to allow my body to hold some fluid!

The hike itself today was a confusing one. It went through every bit of random that a hiker could think of. Forest, sand, dirt, rocks, fields of corn flowers, back burned wood piles, cut down forests, livewires, dirt roads. You name it. I crossed it today. It was inconsistent and a little distracting. There was never enough time to get used to one section, because before you knew it, you had then changed to possibly hiking in another country all together. I know the PCT seems like a long distance, and it is, but it's not crossing any bodies of water... 

So I have a confession. My best friend, Anna Burgess, knows my love for a wind turbine. We had a running gag once where we both described them as 'stunning' and from then onwards, it became our travel thing. Every time we see a wind farm, it's a picture and a text saying stunning. Because let's face it, they are! They fascinate me. These big awesome things that create power and fly with the wind. It's so freeing to watch them.

Anyways, I didn't see wind turbines, but my confession is, I feel the same way about Livewires. Highwires. Not the powerlines themselves. The structures that connect them. Ever since I was a little girl, they were situated around the outskirts of where I lived outside of Gracemere in Central Queensland. Everyday, I'd watch them go by as I traveled to school on the bus. We would pass by them on foot to the creeks or just whenever we went generic exploring in the paddocks and outback bush. This section has had an influx of them. I'll think more into the fascination.

Towards the end of the day, some slight views began to show. It is going to be a bit heart breaking to walk this section and possibly miss out on Mt Rainier up close because of the haze. Fingers crossed for a clearing!!

I walked a little later into the night tonight. As water sources are scarce throughout this section, it was best to cook at the water source, stock up on water and head another few miles to camp. Of course that meant arriving at camp later. This isn't my style. Half the battle with the PCT is knowing your comfort level. It was certainly getting darker than I preferred and I was a little panicked about that. Hiking alone when the woods are dark, adds a whole new level to fear. The blood begins to pump more, the sweating, the darting eyes. It really puts 'sweating the small stuff' into perspective. This is when life actually gets frightening. It's worth it to worry about hiking alone in the dark. Other stuff that goes on in my life that is considered drama is pure pettiness and insignificant in comparison to this element. The PCT is most definitely changing me and my worry-ometer. 

Because of the haze, the moon was a glistening speck amongst a cloud of smoke. It wasn't projecting any light. So the evening ended with myself camping at a trail head and 3 of the boys (Burgie, Maple & Barry) joined me after. A big 22 mile day. I'm doing ok. 

- Gx

DAY 21 - campsite 468.8km to Arch Rock Spring campsite

Whatever you do.

What an awesome day! I hiked with Barry for a massive chunk today and it's always really cool getting to know new people out here. He's a superbly funny and intelligent guy, so we had indulgingly entertaining conversation and waaayy too much laughter. So much that going uphill was impossible at times and we had to stop to deal. The hike itself today was a pretty straight forward one. No real interesting views and no real self discovery. It was a really nice day just hiking. Nothing loaded and probably nice just to have a generic day out here. It balances out the hardships. 

But I did wake up to this scorching sunrise! A literal ball of burning heat. I could immediately feel that today was going to deliver a tough temperature and water sources were few and far between. 

With a decent amount of water in my pack, I attempted to lift my house/life/backpack and put it on my back. Yep. I broke a nail. I know. I know. So lame. But if you understand my nail love, this was slightly disheartening and I hoped that it was no implication for what was to come for the 20 miles ahead! And I'm glad it wasn't. 

Right before entering these woods, I encountered a cat or lion of some sort. I don't have google to research what it was. A cougar? A mountain lion? A bobcat? It was medium sized with spots all over its face. I wasn't making any noise coming towards it, but the minute we locked eyes, I upped my volume and sang what was playing on my iPhone. It hurried away and into the bushes. I kept making noise as I passed it and continued to look around me, as these cats tends to stalk you as you walk. I was a little wary for a few hundred metres and kept my wits about me as I entered into these woods. 

I never saw it again, so I went on my merry way. After exiting the woods, a beautiful Washington meadow appeared. As warm as the morning was, it was actually the freshest the air had been in days. 

The haze was still so promenant today. The views are nothing to write home about, so I won't waste this blog on that. Plus it's late and sleep does call!

The terrain was switching all over the place today, but this was one of my favourite sections. A back burn meant trekking through thousands of burnt trees and I enjoyed getting through this next selection! No uphill, no downhill. Just normal for once!!!

That section lead to this government funded meadow cabin. I would've camped here, but a waste of mileage when you arrive around 3:30pm! There's still so many more miles you could attempt. So another 7 miles it was!

The views throughout this section of Washington have definitely been limiting. It's been fine though, as I have been more 'socially' hiking, it has helped pass the time but also distract from the lack of landscape and scenery. There's been so much conversation and laughter throughout this section, however, I'll save those stories for my autobiography. ;) 

Onwards and upwards, PCT.
- Gx

DAY 22 - Arch rock spring campsite to American Lake campsite

You got what it takes, you can win. 

Yep. A full 12 hours hiking and 36kms covered. Today was epic, rough, fulfilling, tiring, exhausting, soul destroying, uplifting and conquering. It was a lot. A full solo hike day. No company. Just me. It wasn't as satisfying as the other times, but I think there's a reason. 

Let's take a moment to try and feel what this PCT was like today. It still takes me 1.5 hrs to pack up camp and have breakfast. That is annoying the hell out of me and I'm trying to get faster. I've even tried to get up earlier, but that's just giving me less sleep. I've even tried prepacking everything the night before. The time consuming part is the morning preparation for my feet. Blisters and bandaids and strapping tape. The feet are still aching. Not a day goes by without any pain, yet. Apparently the pains never go away. That information is diabolical and also unfathomable right now. How will I continue to walk in such pain for 4 months!?!

So the day started fine. Trekking well. One hour goes by. Oh, my toe is stinging. Let me take a look at that. Find a rock. Pack off. Shoe off. Hmmm nothing out of the ordinary. Shoe back on. Pack back on. Hike. Another hour. My big toe has a hotspot and is beginning to hurt. Find rock. Pack off. Shoe off. Great. A blister is starting. Feet disgustingly dirty from the new dirt terrain. First aid kit out. Attend to it as well as possible. Shoe back on. Pack on. Hike.

Another hour goes by. What's the feeling between my toes? Ohhh dirt and sand has fallen through my shoes. Great. That's a beautiful feeling! Pack off. Shoes off. Empty shoes. Empty socks. Put everything back on. Hike. 

Another hour. Ugh. Pain in the balls of my feet and arches. My shoes are too tight! GREAT! Attempt to loosen shoes without removing pack. Almost died from capsizing. Pack off. Loosen shoes. Pack back on. Hike. 

Another hour passes. What's going on with my hips? They are stinging? Great! The heat has caused some burning hotspots on the side of my hips from my back pack. Find shade. Pack off. Attend to hips. Mosquitoes attack. Pack back on. Hike.

Half an hour passes. I stop to have a refuel. Pack off. Sit on the ground. Attack of mosquitoes and biting flies. Argh! Search for the Mosquito spray! Pack back on and move. Hike.

Finally a view!! With all this haze. There's been NO views. Thinking that view is great, I keep hiking uphill. It's uphill and treacherous, but it's still incredible to finally see something after days of average. At the top of the ridge, I walk around the corner...

ARGH!!! There she is. Mt Rainier. Absolutely breath taking! Pictures do not do this justice - AT ALL!!! 

Continue hiking. Feet pounding. Take 2 ibuprofen. 

A gorgeous lake! HEAVEN! But I can't swim in it because of all the feet taping that I've done. That's just a recipe for disaster!

Crossing Chinook Pass is delightful and soul destroying as I see all the caravans and wish that I had maybe chose to travel around the USA in a Winnebago instead of walking 4600kms. I keep trudging on. It gets to the hard part of the day. About 10kms in 2-3 hours. 

Passing so many lakes. The mosquitoes attack again. Pack off. More repellent. Pack back on.

Keep hiking. Ready to call it quits for the day. Oh great!! I have to go to the toilet! That's a whole other level of difficulty. Pack back on. Hike.

Oh I don't have enough water for the next few miles. Attempt to get water at next stream. Seriously nearly die this time trying to refill my bottle without taking my pack off. Almost dead. Soooo... pack off. Refill bottle. Pack back on. Choose to attempt the last 2.5 miles in 45 minutes. 

Finally found my camp spot for the night. Hallelujah! 

An hour and a half later, dinner with mosquitoes and finally inside my tent. 

I have to attend to these feet... that dirt is just going to have to stay there until a shower in town!

It was a rough day. Now, add a big heaping of PMS to that. Being a girl and hiking is all sorts of rough when that's happening. Everything is so heightened. And there's no couch, blanket, DVD player, internet and food to help ease that tension.

Ladies! Hope you can relate!! Peace out for the night.

- Gx

DAY 23 - American Lake campsite to White Pass Kracker Barrel grass campground out the back near the tank! Ha!

What a day! This last section has been rough. Another 35.5km day today. It just doesn't get easier! I'd be lying if I didn't have moments of quitting lately.

It's as if you get out of tent in the morning and your body is in so much pain, you limp and hobble around campsite trying to pack everything up. It's a consistent thought most mornings that 'This is the end. This is where the trail ends for me. I can no longer move. I am quite literally RIP'd on the PCT.'' Then, within 30 minutes, your body is hauling ass uphill and that feeling of immobility and a bed ridden future has disappeared. You still hurt and feel like your body has been hit with a meat cleaver, repeatedly, and then steamed rolled on bitumen, but for some reason, it's working. You are still at least moving. How? I will never know. It just goes.

And then the mind helps a lot. These views just put the cherry on top. It is so incredibly worth it to see this. It's pure magic and revisiting Mt Rainier around every corner is a nice little push along the PCT.

There was some beautiful and fresh morning hiking today. It was a lovely typical Washington morning. The grass was still covered in dew and the air was clean and crisp. The trail along this section has definitely been so much better maintained than what I was dealing with further north towards the Canadian border. It's smoother to walk on and actually a lot wider in sections. 

One of my favourite things about Washington has been these purple flowers. They sometimes completely cover fields and are almost like a granduous purple carpet welcoming you to an event! Except the event doesn't have a glamourous gown, flowing hair, lashes, champagne and photographers. And that, I am not complaining about. Especially being covered in an overwhelming amount of dirt throughout this section. No one reeeaallllyyy needs to see me! Ha!

It was another warm Washington day and the smoke from the fires is still blazing through. It's definitely been a difficult section for views, but every now and then, one starts to show and the haze actually emphasises the layers upon layers of background mountains. It's reflection from the sun also creates an orange hue.

Coming closer towards White Pass, things became really green. It was like the Emerald City. Evergreens still lining the trail and green meadows for miles. These are some of my favourite sections to hike. It's like frolicking through someone's farming property on a daily basis!

Now this was a sign. I'd been hiking behind horse shoe foot prints all day and I knew I was going to see my first trail horse today. I had a feeling. 

I don't know what it is, but I certainly feel a sense of safety out here when I see these footprints. Horses are a definite spirit animal of mine. I've been fascinated by them, ever since I was a little girl. There's something so strong, yet so vulnerable about them. So hard working, yet so gentle. So playful, yet so bold. I love singing to them or speaking to them. Looking them directly in the eye and creating a new connection. They definitely give me a sense of comfort out here and I have been yet to see one!

And then he appeared! Like a knight in shining amour! Commander. What a beautiful boy. As he and his rider came towards me, I stopped and the biggest smile came across my face! I think the owner hadn't received that reaction much before. I beamed at him 'My first trail horse since Canada!!' And he as gobsmacked! I stopped and chatted for a while and was very lucky to even hike the trail with this beauty. His rider was so lovely to me too, he even offered a trail ride on one of his black mares back at his ranch!! I would've taken it too, if I didn't have this thing called the PCT! 

It truly made my day and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It was a really difficult uphill climb before this, and this beautiful boy kept me going. The right time. I needed him. I know there are Trail Angels on the trail (which are more southern based, I've yet to experience any trail angels) but to me, these are the real angels of the trail. They are guidance, strength and light. Such a treat! I was one lucky gal. 

Then finally, after saying goodbye to the beautiful horse and his most kind rider, I arrived at White Pass! No accomodation available anywhere for the night. The owners of the store were incredible to us. Barry, Maple and myself, slept out the back of the store and lodge beside a tank. THE FUNNIEST THING EVER! It was such a fun evening. We chilled out, snuck into some amazingly generous guys lodge and had a shower, one by one, ate pizza and went to bed laughing about where in the world we are and how we got here. I've met some incredible humans.

As hard as today was, again, it finished with an abundance of laughter and fun. As a full moon began to rise over the mountain, I thought, I like it out here.

- Gx

DAY 24 - White Pass Kracker Barrel camp at tank to tentsite 592.1km

So a morning of errands. Laundry, postage, resupply. I shipped out my bear canister. I had enough. The weight on my back is too much for body. So, bear proof bag it is!

Maple's ankle is playing up so he stayed back in town a little longer. Barry and I headed out around 2pm and did roughly 16 kms before camp. 

It was a constant uphill for the first 12.8 kms! Rough when getting back to the trail, however we both only 'nero-ed' (nearly a zero day). We pushed through to get back to the trail. It's strange in the towns now that all the Nobo's (north bounders) are hitting the resupply locations. It's almost a little claustrophobic. They seem like lovely people, but at the moment, many of the ones I have crossed on the trail are extremely bitter and not very light individuals. I know the trail is hard, but a lot of the ones I have crossed simply want 'the trail to end' or 'they have had enough'. 

It felt overpowering in town and I simply wanted to be back on trail. So we hiked out as soon as we could. It's almost a little embarrassing to be a part of so much hiker trash. These towns just fill up with people and it's a little gross. Almost as if hikers own the place. There's no sense of gratitude. 

A big shout out to Terri and the ladies at White Pass kracker Barrel store! They are incredible and so generous with their patience and time with all the hikers who hit their store. Eternally grateful! 

There really wasn't much to see out here today. It was just uphill and to campsite. A 16km hike to set up tent. Big elevation profile tomorrow with an attempt at knifes edge!!

- Gx

DAY 25 - Campsite 592.1km to Nannie Ridge Trail/Sheep Lake campsite

I hiked with Barry all day today. It was awesome and so necessary, because we hiked along the top of this...

The knifes edge. I cannot describe how absolutely magnificent this was. It was f****** hard!! So much incline and I'm grateful to have had Barry to keep me laughing the entire day! It would've been so easy to give up. We took the alternate PCT route and hiked another few hundred feet up the Old Snowy route and it was beyond words. 

The terrain was rough and a major scramble. I actually have a video where you can hear a rock avalanche happen, just after we both crossed it!! It's actually out of this world. 

And to be still hiking on snow with glacier lakes! It was just the most incredible day. I'm so thrilled I took the alternate route, as there is probably very little chance that I will be back here again. It's breath taking, exhausting, yet exhilarating! Every view is worth every step. It burns. It kills. It's a struggle, but it's unlike anything I have ever hiked! 

The trail then lead down to some beautiful cascades that flow into the Cispus river. The scenery was so green and magical and apparently probably one of the last decent views in Washington. Oregon becomes flatter and less amusing. 

We made it to camp. Only 16 miles today, but with that HUGE climb up to the knifes edge, it was absolutely worth it to drop some miles. I need to pick up miles tomorrow, so up early it is. I've really enjoyed having a more social time out here, these last two sections. My blogging is a little lacking, but I'm updating where necessary. Trail family is really important out here. It's what gets you through some tough days. And in all honesty, I haven't stopped laughing for days now! I'm loving every minute out here.

And with that, it's sleep time for some big mileage tomorrow.

- Gx

DAY 26 - Nannie ridge/sheep lake campsite to Killen creek campsite.

I solo hiked 40.16kms today from 7:45am to 6:15pm. A record so far for me on the PCT, and it was actually steadily easy. It's a good sign that my hiker legs are getting better and I am obviously getting stronger each day. A beautiful morning of meadows and ridges was how it started. 

The haze is still promenant and obvious throughout this last section of Washington. It's still beautiful to see all the mountains, but it does take away a lot of the depth and levels associated with these passes. The detail in all the terrain is so much more complicated and the haze just puts a soft lense on everything. 

Back into the woods for a bit. I love the woods. It's so fascinating how my fear of the woods has dissipated. I actually find them comforting to traverse through. They create shelter from the warmth and even a gentle breeze sometimes. They create an incredible acoustic for me to sing in and also a haven to feel a sense of care. You feel so small in the woods. It's almost like the trees protect you and give you a section of love and support. 

But I have an equal love and adoration for ridges. Walking atop of mountains and peaks is so freeing. That feeling of a minuscule existence in the woods suddenly envelopes into this euphoric gigantism, and actually makes you feel like you are suddenly bigger than ever before. Walking on top of the world is mind blowing at times. It's so strange to think that we can go from feeling so insignificant, to suddenly the highest form of living creature. It's a sure reminder of life itself. Sometimes we are on top in the game of life, career, relationships and finances. Then sometimes we are at the bottom. It's how you behave as a human throughout both of those realms and in-between that is most significant. No use being a jerk at the top, right? Gotta remember the woods. 

Then today's trail went a bit 'straya'. Dirt, sand, flat, hot, and dry trees. This stretch went on for a while and was a little tedious. I definitely sang for nearly 10 hours straight today. I truly love singing and music. I don't know who I would be without it. The PCT has definitely cemented my love for pop, rock, country, folk, rnb, rap, all sorts of genres... but I haven't listened to one music theatre song... hmmm

After the boring section, I was getting closer to tonight's camp. On my left, there was suddenly a huge rock formation. I looked up and saw Mt Adams!! I had no idea I was getting so close to that glacier peak. 

I continued on through sand and dirt, which was strangely odd when Mt Adams was surrounding this area, yet I was walking on the driest of terrain so far. Of course, a volcano structure. 

I started to slow down a lot for the last 2 miles. I knew I was going to get to camp an hour earlier than expected, plus my body was starting to feel the huge kilometres. I'm glad to have done that 40.16kms today, because my distance to Trout Lake is only 24kms and the elevation profile looks ok! 

Tonight's camp spot is outrageous! I arrived and heard the rush of an amazing waterfall! Sublime! I put down my gear and went to fill my water bottle. As I turned around, I was gobsmacked! I had no idea I was camping underneath Mt Adams!

Prime location! So beautiful and so serene. It's a treat after such a long and not as entertaining day. 

Barry showed up about 45 minutes later. He's ridiculous. He leaves camp about 1.5 hours after me, has a significant lunch break and rests throughout the day, and still makes it to camp only 45 minutes after me!! I don't understand... 

Either way, it was great to see him and catch up on his day. We cooked dinner and watched the sunset on the mountain. It was breath taking! The sun setting into the haze created a pink and orange hue. It was as if the mountain was on fire. It was pretty spectacular to capture. An absolute ace campsite.

Hoping to get into Trout Lake by 2pm tomorrow. There's a tough river crossing in the first 4kms. It's going to be freezing cold, as it's pure alpine water! Apparently it could be mid-thigh deep. Strange to have come 702.88km and to be tackling my first river crossing now. Wish me luck! 

- Gx

DAY 27 & Day 28 - Killen Creek campsite to Trout Lake to campsite 697.2km

I've combined these two days into one post entry. Mostly because not much happens when you are getting into a nearby town, but you are running around like a headless Chook trying to get everything done in time before hitting the trail again. It does definitely represent how much more stressful everyday life is when you exit the trail. Stressing over silly things like postage and printing. Technology... as much as it has made life so much more accessible, it sure has made life so much more complicated. Life without phones is SUPERB. I am in no way referring to life without music or audio books etc, but life without Messenger and emails is way less stressful. I think it's a wake up call to us all. We should all really think about communicating before we communicate. We are all so contactable these days, I suppose we never stop to think 'is this bombarding someone?' It's difficult, because there is a fine line, but sometimes we request so much off people via emails, text messages, phone calls, that the real stress is not our everyday jobs or surrounding elements, it's actually these goddamn electronic devices in our hands, pockets, bags and hip belts! Put your phone done for a while. Do it for a few hours a day, then a few days! You won't regret it. I promise you.

The final day into Trout lake was rough! So rough, I hardly took a photo! The best part was Mt Adams still hovering over me throughout the first sections of the day. 

It was actually incredibly beautiful to be surrounded by such an overpowering force of nature. It's beauty actually radiates with the skies above and almost carries light with it. It's a sight!!

The terrain surrounding quickly started to change, metre by metre. There was an abundance of previous backburn and it was a scorcher!!

It really should've been the easiest 24 km but it was almost unbearable. The sun was beating down through the sticks of trees. There was no shade, but even worse, no water. It was dry and hot. This went on for hours on end! Trying to make it to Trout Lake in time for our ride to the town. After a pretty slow and unbearable trek, we made it to Doug. Doug the awesome Trout Lake local who gives rides to and from the PCT. I deleriously hopped on board and we drove in to Trout Lake. 

Wow. A car. It's been too long! I miss driving. A lot. Driving is so therapeutic for me and it's definitely one thing I miss out here. I think it's making me consolidate a possible road trip after the PCT!

Barry and I arrived in Trout Lake and immediately headed for food. It was such a hot day, we headed to the lake for a swim. THE BEST! It was so refreshing and cold. Just what the doctor ordered. When hiking, one does not bring swimmers to the lake. You just jump in. Heaven. 

We stayed above the grocery store for the night in a 3 bed room for $25!! YEP! $25. Haha it was like being in boarding school. Maple joined us for the 3rd bed and it completed our little trio again. We were celebratory in seeing that Maple made it through that last section - bad ankle and all. There truly is a trail family out here. It's super exciting when you see your hiking buddies catch up!

The grocery store at Trout Lake is run by the most incredible of women. They are EVERYTHING and more! They are generous, thoughtful, understanding and so patient. They truly are the heart of the PCT. Trout Lake has been one of my favourite destinations so far. These women create this community. Thank you, Bev and Dorris!!

So after errands, showering, laundry and a nights sleep, we refuelled our bodies and planned to head back to the PCT.

Then we met Gary! The most awesome human who happened to be giving his first official 2017 hiker ride back to the pass... so in the back of a ute I rode, on a couch, with 4 of my fellow hikers!! Absolutely LIVING. This is life. We were all like giddy kids on our first day of school, but it was unlike anything I have ever done. A bunch of back packs, hiking poles and 5 hikers shoved in the back of a pick up! You just don't do that every day! 

Then, just before we drove off, the most generous local came offering his home made raw cheese!! Oh my. The deliciousness of this cheese! Straight from the farm. Trout lake. You are one amazing town. 

So in the back of the truck we drove. 

The hike to the campsite was intense. Up, up, up! But I kept up and the boys and I did roughly 10 miles. Good re-entry to the trail. 

We arrived a little late to camp, but sat around the campfire tonight. It was something I don't often do out here because you are so tired and exhausted at the end of the day. So, I was thrilled Max the Swedish guy is a pro at fire building. Watching him build a fire is like a work of art. It's magical. 

I called it a night to blog and am now planning tomorrow's day. Onwards we go.

- Gx


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