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@e.wriggs

@e.wriggs

PCT Northern Terminus

Through desert sands, mountain snows and valley forests we have walked. All beyond now is simply life in the knowledge that we have lived – Ethan “Spook” Wrigglesworth, official PCT completee.

I will forever remember these past 6 months as the most challenging and rewarding both physically and mentally. To those I have met along the way and shared trail time with, I thank you for the memories and for being some of the most awe inspiring people I will ever meet.

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@mollymdws

@mollymdws

PCT Northern Terminus

I walked 2660 miles from Mexico to Canada. My body is mighty but it is my will that walked me here. Walking up, walking down, walking whilst soaked in sweat, walking whilst soaked in rain, walking through miles upon miles of snow, walking over mountains, walking through rivers, walking across sands, walking hurt, walking frustrated, walking bored. I walked for 173 days, almost 6 months of my life, but I got there.

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Mile 2649 to Mile 2653

Mile 2649 to Mile 2653
Manning Park

O CANADA!

I could do the usual thing by describing the weather, topography and sights that greeted us that day, but we all know that on this day, and this day only, the focus was on one thing. It’s hard to explain the emotions that accompany the end of such a 6 month journey. It’s a complete mixed bag of excitement, pride, anxiety, fear and sadness. For 6 months we have put one foot in front the other along a continuous path. That 6ft wide 2,653 mile long path had become home. Each day we relied on it to bring us joy, test us like nothing ever has, bring us new horizons and vistas, and to keep us safe by providing shelter and water. Not only was it home, but all the wonderful people we had met along the way made it a community. Each hiker we met, whether it was for a brief or extended time, cast their mark on our experience. Their inspirational stories, open minds, beaming smiles, and stinky stinky bodies accompanied us along the way and the friendships we made will forever hold dear. To all those absolute heroes, we thank you.

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Mile 2627 to Mile 2649

Mile 2627 to Mile 2649

Windy Pass certainly is as it says in the tin. The wind howled all night, but our spot was sheltered below the trees allowing for a solid sleep for our penultimate night. An overcast sky greeted us as we began our last full day on trail. Wisps of cloud floated above the Northern Cascades and its foot hill forests. This sight brought tears to my eyes, how could we be leaving such beauty after living amongst it for 6 months? Burn area, forest and meadows followed as we descended and climbed to a decent spot for lunch. Golden grasses filled the mountain bowl we sat within and during our break the most cowboy scene unveiled before us as a train of horse and mule were lead across the meadow.

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Mile 2604 to Mile 2627

Mile 2604 to Mile 2627

It was just as dark in that forest in the morning as it was the previous evening. We jumped back on trail and meandered our way through the dense wood until we popped out on a slope which showed us that we were among a valley. The weather was quite miserable, but didn’t dampen our spirits too much as we marched up a long switch back climb to a ridgeline summit.

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Mile 2580 to Mile 2604

Mile 2580 to Mile 2604

Having camped at Bridge Creek, we were 8 miles into a 20+ mile climb. Not a gruelling one but certainly a time consumer. We woke up and set off with the plan of achieving 24 miles which would take us up and over Rainy Pass and beyond. The morning walk was gradual to the pass and took us through forested valleys and along meadowed flanks to the pass trail head.

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Mile 2564 to Mile 2580

Mile 2564 to Mile 2580

Stehekin is literally in the middle of no where. The only way to access it is via ferry or a bus shuttle that runs at regular intervals. We were aiming for the 9 am shuttle from a PCT trail head so, being 8 miles away, we decided to wake up early to ensure we arrived on time. It was dark as we left camp and began the walk through the silent forest. However, as the sun began to rise we could see that there wasn’t a cloud in the blue sky above. Today was going to be a sweet day.

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Mile 2541 to Mile 2564

Mile 2541 to Mile 2564

As far as we could tell the night had been a dry one, though nothing had actually dried off. Ahead of us was a simple day. One big climb followed by a long descent, a Sierra day in many respects.

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Mile 2518 to Mile 2541

Mile 2518 to Mile 2541

Suiattle River

For such a wet night we actually slept very pleasantly, but it was depressing to wake to the sight of our soaked bags sat in muddy puddles. Alas, it wasn’t actively raining at that point so we pulled on our wet socks, packed up camp, and headed on out. A brief but steep incline greeted us and gave us a little sense of what the clouds had shrouded the day before.

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Mile 2494 to Mile 2518

Mile 2494 to Mile 2518

Fire Creek

All in all, the weather had been kind that night. The storm had passed shortly after we drifted off and the rains never got too heavy. Within our little coppice the trees had done their job keeping us safe and sound. We were very much in the clouds as we left camp.

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Mile 2470 to Mile 2494

Mile 2470 to Mile 2494

Lake Sally Ann

We woke up to a tent soaked with condensation, but considering the forecast for the up and coming days we would have to get used to wet mornings. We strolled down to a stream whose waters trickled off of a rock face, collected water and continued on up a morning climb. At the top we took a short break admiring the view of Glacier Peak before progressing along a ridge towards Grizzly Peak. In a rare occurrence the PCT actually summits a mountain, though this particular peak wasn’t the most impressive. It did, however, have beautiful golden meadows which we descended through.

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Mile 2452 to Mile 2470

Mile 2452 to Mile 2470

Lake Valhalla

Having slept with no fly sheet that night, we opened our eyes to a beautiful clear blue sky. Clouds did roll in as we packed up camp, but it just added to the scene as we began the morning’s descent. It was a steep decline down to a lake’s edge, the alpine blue of these waters still amazing us everyday. Rain began to fall as we meandered through a sparse woodland and into a lake filled meadow.

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Mile 2430 to Mile 2452

Mile 2430 to Mile 2452

Everyone was up and on trail pretty sharpish this morning. The density of the forest made for a dark one and there was humidity among the trees. Almost immediately we started a climb, zig zagging up one slope before traversing across to another to finish off the 800 ft of elevation gain. This brought us into a meadow platform with tall firs shooting up from the grasses. Another climb greeted us giving us views of the valleys we had been in the previous day all clad in dense forest.

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Mile 2408 to Mile 2430

Mile 2408 to Mile 2430

Deadhead Lake Creek

A layer of cloud quickly gave way to blue skies as we left our camp by the lake and continued the descent we had started the evening before. The trail took us through a large burn area, now reclaimed by a flowery meadow, and past a waterfall before re-entering woodland. A large climb lay ahead of us, but it was to be the only one of the day and promised a lake at its summit which would make a good spot for lunch.

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