Aug. 20th. Distance 8.2 miles. Ascent 1014 ft. Descent 2064 ft.
Morning came quickly and here we were, on the final leg of finishing the PCT in Washington State. After the usual breakfast of oatmeal, an orange and coffee, fitting everything back into the pack was becoming easier and easier and my pack was several pounds lighter.
We hiked back to the PCT and headed north. Of course, even on the last day its not supposed to be easy, so we started with a 1000 ft climb, before the long descent to the trail head. Once again, the weather was spectacular. We did not witness a raindrop the entire 7 days, and hiked primarily under cloudless blue skies.
The trail took us high above Shoe Lake, peaking out at ~6500ft. Shoe Lake is an area that receives so much hiking traffic that its now closed to camping to allow restoration. From this high point, we began the long descent, transitioning from alpine meadow back into forest. We passed dozens of hikers heading south for day hikes or a weekend out in the wilderness. These folks ranged from families with children to college students to retirees – a full cross section.
With only ~8 miles to go, we made great time, arriving at the trail head right around noon. We hardly had time to get someone to take the usual end of the hike photo before Dave pulled up in his Civic, cooler of beer and snacks in tow. Logistics could not have worked out any better!
Having started this endeavor with a trek from Rainy Pass to Manning Park in 2007, its been 6 great section hikes, culminating in what I consider to have been the most epic scenery at Goat Rocks this year. I’m only left with one small question – where do we roam next year….