Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Run For The Border

Day 164 - September 17
Mile: 2617.3 to 2643.8 (26.5)
up/down: 5400/5600 feet

We were up early with the goal of getting as close to the border as possible. Many climbs and descents and rough footing kept us from getting all the miles we hoped for but we still did pretty good. Hummingbird, who had never done anything marathon distance before, did two in two days.

Some time ago Hummingbird named her backpack "Gollum" after the creature from Lord of the Rings who at the end rode on Frodo's back. While getting her Junior Ranger badge the other day at Stehekin, she had to write a Haiku:

Gollum is heavy
He rides on my back daily 
Canada is close

And that sums it all up. 

A couple miles out of camp we were at Harts Pass, the last trailhead accessible by vehicle. This is where southbound PCT hikers must start from because our paranoid government won't allow crossing an unmanned border from Canada into the U.S.  Hikers have to go 30 miles to the border, touch the monument, and go back. Tomorrow when we get to the monument will continue 8 miles north to Manning Provincial Park. Besides our passports we are carrying permits issued by the Canadian government allowing us to cross at an unmanned border. 

After Harts Pass we climbed up to the ridge and stayed there for the morning crossing a number of named passes. Thankfully Windy and Foggy Passes had neither. Even with the storm coming in tonight we had nice weather all day.  

After lunch we dropped off the ridge into a valley only to climb back up to Rock Pass. Stunning views all around in this area. 

Then it was down and up to Woody Pass, the most Sierra like in all the northern Cascades. We continued to follow the ridge finally peaking out at 7100 feet elevation before dropping down a thousand feet to Hopkins Lake at dusk. Our primary goal today was to put that 7100 foot peak behind us and get down to somewhat lower elevation before the storm hit. We did just that. 

As I lay in the tent typing this the wind is gusting and a few sprinkles of rain have started falling. We have 6.3 downhill miles to the border then a rolling 8 miles into the park and a meet up with our friend Kwan from Vancouver. Hopefully the storm will let us get this done without too much trouble. We'll see. 


  1. What a wild ride. Glad you beat the storm. It is going to be so nice to have you home! Alas, I don't expect you will be for long. :)

  2. Since I haven't received posts for the last couple of days, I check every few hours to see where you are on the trail. You two are incredible. I'll be watching you cross the border. Thank you for an amazing journey!