Pacific Crest Trail: Notes From the Northwest

Our trail correspondent dreams of seeing the sun again.
pacific crest trail marker

Trail marker on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon. (Photo by Amanda Jameson)

I finally feel like I'm in the Pacific Northwest. Yesterday, the clouds swept in and made for a gorgeous walk, refracted light playing on every surface. It got a little less awesome in the evening, when the wind picked up: Walking through a cloud down a mountain still dotted with snow patches and half a dozen different winding trails is not my idea of fun. Nor is being unable to escape the howls of wind for the night, even after stuffing in earplugs. Today, though, was calmer.

I'd had high hopes about today: The elevation profile was such that I thought I could get 35 miles in, making today my biggest day yet. But coming off of a 32-mile day, and it being far too windy to cook last night, even under the cover of my vented vestibule,I chose a calorie-laden morning, with macaroni and cheese and coffee. Afterward, I got slowed down stopping to dry my things and walking through the forested grey of the day. I tried to listen to various podcasts to break it up—The Trail Show, Sounds of the Trail, even Stuff You Should Know—but it didn't seem to help me move any faster. I probably could have made more than 28 miles, but a couple of my friends stopped early too, so we sat close until the evening's rain chased us into our tents.

Listening to the pitter-patter of rain interspersed with the slap of droplets on our rain flies, the idea of ever seeing the sun again seems distant and unlikely. The weather report, grabbed with the dregs of a 4G network at the top of a hill, suggests we will in a couple days—but not before we deal with a full day of rain first. I'm not looking forward to being damp, but subjected to the whims of the weather, what's a thru-hiker to do?

After that full day, though, I should make Timberline Lodge, home of an infamous breakfast buffet, where I will warm my bones and my resolve with enough eggs and bacon to power me through to the Washington border.