Post PCT ’16 and The Wonderland Trail

I’m currently sitting in the Portland airport waiting patiently to fly to Boston. My hiking season is coming to an end and as much fun as I’ve had, I’m looking forward to seeing my people and adapting back into my non hiking life. And showering regularly.

I’ve had a very enjoyable summer. A rich, full, fun life experience. Let me catch you up on what I’ve been up to since I lasted updated this. On 8/26 I got in to Seattle, spent a couple of days there and on the 28th was heading north from Steven’s Pass on the PCT(Pacific Crest Trail).

In case you didn’t recently read last summer’s edition of this blog, I’ll refresh your memory. In 2015 I started hiking the PCT from the Mexican border and walked 2461 miles before the remaining miles of the trail were closed due to wildfires. It was a tough pill to swallow, I felt like I had crushed it for months, my body was feeling good and mentally I was determined to walk to Canada. There was never a point where I felt like I wouldn’t finish.

All of a sudden the trail was closed down and weeks would pass before it reopened, so the unfinished 188 miles hung over my head for a year. It was hard to constantly explain it, like there was this asterisk on my 2015 PCT thru hike. So back to recent history. S+M, Tim Tam Slam, Schemes and myself got back on the trail on August 28th and got right back into our old habits: walking. These women are fun, fast, tough, and formidable hikers. Most importantly they laugh at all my jokes, or a lot of them anyway and at the same time keep me entertained. Plus, Washington state is dope. We had a great trip.

After 4 or 5 days of walking through old growth forests, over long ridges and through these big old mountains we got into Stehekin, WA. This little resort town sits on the end of Lake Chelan and can’t be reached by cars. Stehekin is only accessible by float planes, boats and hikers. All supplies are ferried there by barge twice a week or something like that. Oh yeah they have this bakery there that is legendary. Some bozo tried to tip us off about it like we hadn’t been hearing about since Mexico last year. Thanks for the pro tip bro!

Sadly S+M had to get off trail in Stehekin due to a knee injury. She’s leaving in a few months to join the peace corps in Guinea and naturally wanted to prevent further damage. The rest of us continued north through a spectacular section of trail that included North Cascades NP. The weather was cold and wet but our spirits were high and after a few days we finally crossed into Canada completing our hike. It felt real. Rejoining my friends out there made it what it was. I could have finished this section in July or even waited around last September to finish but wouldn’t have been the same if I had walked it solo or with a different crew. Thanks girls(if you’re still reading).

From where the trail ends in Manning Park; Tami, Schemes, myself and two new friends Jobin and Cougar, took a bus to Vancouver where Tami proceeded onto Portland and Schemes and I spent the day exploring this foreign city. Schemes and I then took a bus to Seattle from where she flew back to Southern California via Colorado for awhile before she goes to Antarctica to study rocks for a few months.

I stayed for a few days in the Eastlake neighborhood with my friends Dave and Nikki from home. They’ve been living, working in and exploring different cities this year but the word is they’re about to road trip back to Mass and get married and all that good stuff. While I was there we went out to the mountains, swam in alpine lakes, explored the city, and ate noodles, it was great.

From Seattle I decided to get myself down to Mt. Rainier NP to hike the Wonderland trail. It took me a day of city buses, walking and hitchhiking to get there but I got there. I then proceeded to crush this trail. It’s 90 miles around the perimeter of the massive Mt Rainier and because of a glitch in the permit system for some reason I had to do a 36 mile day to get to my first campsite. Nbd. #crushcity. It was fun, nonstop nfa hiking from sun to sun for 3 days and arguably the most beautiful stretch of weather I had all summer. Plus the scenery was just the tops! Climbing Rainier is most definitely on my to do list.

From Rainier I hitched south towards Oregon. I caught a series of rides and made it to Cascade Locks where I caught up with my friend Roadrunner who had just recently returned from Burning Man. We had planned on hiking the Timberline trail but the weather up on Mt Hood turned to shit, so we headed towards the coast instead. First we spent a night at her folks house in Salem and her mom gave me a tour of Oregon’s capital. Along with Roadrunner’s dog Shasta aka Santa’s Little Helper we carried on to Pacific City and up to Rockaway beach where we stealth camped for the night.

The next day we drove up the coast stopping at the Tillamook cheese factory, Cannon Beach the home of Haystack Rock of Goonies fame, up to Fort Stevens Park, to the city of Astoria, over to some waterfalls and through an elk reserve. It was a fun action packed beautiful day. A great way to spend my last full day on the west coast. Before returning to her life of living on the Columbia River Gorge and crushing mountains Roadrunner dropped me off in Portland where I met up with Tami for noodles and she put me up for the night. After getting to Canada Tami had returned to her off trail life in Portland but I have a feeling she’ll be hiking the long miles again sooner rather than later.

I’m flying to Boston and about to return to my life in Lynn for awhile. I’m happy about it, excited to see family and especially looking forward to meeting my brand new nephew Will. I’ve got some good stuff coming up too; hoping to get back into climbing and also running again since I signed up for the Stonecat 50 miler in November and I anticipate this winter to be chock full of skiing and snowshoeing. It’s a lot of fun to live in the woods, spend every night in a different place and travel wherever I want to go but the time has come to go home. And as much as I love the Pacific Northwest and the mountains, Lynn is home and I have a nice little life there. Real talk though, can’t wait to do it again!!

“To Live is to Fly” -TVZ


Instagram @endlesspsummer

Thank you to everybody that helped me do my thing. Rides. Meals. A place to stay. Taking time out of your life for me. People were so gracious. If any of you come through Massachusetts make sure to get in touch. I’d love to return the favor as long as I’m not on a trail somewhere. You know when people say stuff like that you have to be careful because there’s people like me that will always take you up on it. S+M, Schemes, Endless, TimTamSlamMt JeffersonRoadrunner and Shasta

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