I created a plan to hike Washington in under 14 days which seemed reasonable to me based on how I was hiking. Part way to White Pass, I realized that my plan was flawed because it depended on me arriving to Stehekin after the post office closed for the weekend. New plan: hike Washington in under 13 days. The Oregon Challenge is to hike the entire state in under 14 days. Washington is about 50 miles longer than Oregon and more difficult hiking. Enter the Washington Challenge.
Southern Washington is similar to Southern Oregon in that views aren't as common as I would like and mosquitoes are terrible. However, once I hit the Goat Rocks, the comparisons to Oregon no longer work.
Knife's Edge Traverse below me and Mt. Rainier in front of me.
At White Pass, I see my parents and tell them about what I have to do to make it to Stehekin in time for the post office. They ended up deciding to hand deliver the package to me in Stehekin so I didn't have to rely on the post office.
I started hiking 15-16 hour days as I struggled with snow, dead-fall, and a trail that didn't look maintained since 2016. Each day I made my miles, but became progressively more tired. I did learn that even in moderate mosquito areas, I can cowboy camp.
In the Glacier Peak Wilderness, my favorite section of the PCT, I had a magical moment in 2016 near Red Pass. It was the best sunset I've ever seen.
Sunset from Red Pass in 2016.
As I approached Red Pass, the sun was setting. I knew there was no way that I'd have another magical moment. Instead, I saw clouds dancing in the sky, some of them gold, some of them red, and any shade in between. Actually, it was just as magical in a different way. Unfortunately, no picture could do this justice.
However, hiking in that area did provide some other nice pictures.
Glacier Peak. My favorite area of the PCT.
Mica Lake. This area was the last significant snow I had on the PCT.
The day before getting to Stehekin, I was so tired that my eyesight went blurry. Still, I made it just before the post office closed, but I had to find where my dad dropped off my package for me. After talking with several people who talked to my dad and described the package to me, I found the empty box.
As it turned out, about 10 hikers saw the package, someone opened it up, and despite thinking that the stuff in the box might belong to someone else, everything was stolen. One of the hikers described the "moral conundrum" they all had in deciding whether to take my maps, food, shoes, and Darn Tough socks (they have a lifetime warranty).
These Southbound hikers used excuses like there was no ETA on the box that was only placed in the bear box 2.5 hours before I arrived that the box was a hiker box. Nobody bothered to check that the maps were for the section they just hiked, not the section they were about to hike. They didn't wait even a couple hours to see if someone would come claim the box. Nobody even asked around as I had multiple people who knew who the box was for.
I hiked the final 110 miles angry, which did have the benefit of causing me to hike faster. I did get my maps back, but nothing else was returned. Some other hikers gave me some of their food and the owner of the general store gave me a discount on the food I bought. I also decided before that to use the Stehekin Bakery for a large part of my resupply as I had been thinking about that bakery since I left Timberline Lodge.
I finished the PCT in 83 days. The new monument was installed the day before I got there.
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