The hiking distance from Harts Pass, WA (nearest drop off point) to the PCT Northern Terminus at the Canadian border is normally 30 miles. My more circuitous route was about 40 miles, but it allowed me to avoid several of the most snowbound of the mountain passes about which I had been warned against by multiple hikers who had turned back after finding them too risky.
Whereas I hiked close to 80 miles over these first 4 days (north to Canada -> south back to Harts Pass), only the southbound of those “count” as part of my PCT hike. Shrug.

Best pal of 31 years (and counting!) sending me off in style
A journey of many steps begins with one
Nothern Cascades in early summer glory
Sure glad this bridge wasn’t out
The trail disappearing into a blowdown

So far my surgery foot has held up fairly well and although I traversed a lot of snow fields, nothing felt too dangerous. My legs on the other hand look like the adage “death by a thousand cuts”, a collection of scrapes accumulated by crawling over, under and around one of the worst sections of “blowdowns” (fallen trees blocking the footpath) I’ve ever hiked. But perhaps the most unusual development so far is that the temp here in Mazama, WA (20 miles hitch from Harts Pass) will be around 111 degrees tomorrow, the apex of a week of dizzying heat. It’s strange battling deep snow and burning sun in the same instant, but luckily the bugs have also been feasting on us too, ha!

More Cascade wonderland
Whew, it was hard work getting to the starting point!
Before traversing a long snowfield up to Slate Pass, following the faint path line from right to left
During the Slate Pass traverse: don’t slip!
Same traversal, rear view mirror
What to do while waiting 2 hours for an early morning hitch down to Mazama from Harts Pass? Build a stone chair of course! My silver seat pad on top made it comfy.

Tomorrow morning I’ll continue Sobo toward Stehekin, with a river bridge reportedly washed out between here and there, meaning I’ll likely have to circumvent that with another 10 mile section of less-than-desireable trail. Nice. I hope you enjoy the pictures I’ve included. I also made this PCT video playlist of short videos I’ve taken so far and hope to continually add to it with each new post. TTY again from Stehekin, WA time permitting! Max

2 Replies to “To Canada and Heading South”

  1. Congrats on an awesome start. Feeling the itch to get out there myself.

    1. Thanks MAV! I’m currently sitting in the little library in Skykomish, having hitched from Stevens Pass yesterday morning. Will be back on trail tomorrow heading south. Dealing with much more snow than I’ve ever encountered before so it’s been challenging, but good. Had coffee this morning with Don- a local trail angel- who reminded me of Jerry, the Anaconda trail angel who took us to the Montana Folk Festival during our CDT hike together. Wish you were here! Max

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