Why Dan, would you want to spend 5 precious weeks of the short Alaska summer hiking in Washington?
Three reasons I think:
1. As a boy we lived in Coulee Dam, Bridgeport, Entiat, Winthrop and Connell, Washington, all part of what I consider the greater Columbia River basin. The eastern Cascades was a playground where as a family we fished, hiked, berry picked and camped. Places like Chelan, Stehekin, Methow, Twisp, Mazama, Harts Pass, Chewack, Tonasket, Loop Loop, Omak, and Okanogan were household words. As I age out both mentally and physically, the urge to revisit the wonderful Okanogan Wenatchee Forest of my youth was irresistible.
2. My wife of 35 years, Alison (Catwater), hiked the PCT NOBO last year and soon yearned for another long through hike such as the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). When I mentioned my poorly conceived notion of section hiking the PCT from Canada to Oregon she leaped on it…and the planning began. At least, I thought, I’ll get to see more of her than I did last summer.
3. Just to see if I can.
Nine months later (no, no baby) we found ourselves heading for Mazama (thanks to brother Dave and wife Teresa, and Rick Luebbers and Vickie Colton) where we met Jackie Dwyer (thanks Nick Merrill) and Puff Puff (Alex Mason), another 2016 nobo hiker (thanks Martin Van Horn).
On July 15 about 12:30 pm the 4 of us began the 31 mile hike north to Monument 78 at the US/Canadian border under threatening skies. Sure as shit it rained. For 3 days. The views were less than stellar, the camping was forgettable, and the hiking was tough; I had bad thoughts. But as we approached Canada the sun began to shine, we dried out and began to smile. At the border we pranced around for multiple photos and hilarious video clips (thanks Puff Puff) all the while slipping back and forth across the border thumbing our noses at US Customs and Immigration. And then we turned south….