Miles 32.8 – 19.6 >>> 13.2 (21.2 km)
As people may know, the US does not allow border crossings from Canada to the US on to the PCT. Therefore southbounders have to walk up to the border from the south. There they have to touch off at the border and then turn back to begin their real PCT. There are talks to implement a system similar to the one that allows northbounders to walk into Canada, by prearranging paperwork. Alas, it’s not implemented quite yet.
There are a few different trail options to make it to ‘Monument 78’, the touch-off point at the border. The most often used method is probably to enter the PCT from Hart’s Pass and then hike the 30.6 miles up to the border. This is also what I decided to do.
We got up in the morning and had some rudimentary breakfast. We made our way to the Winthrop ball field along highway 20, where we set up shop to get a ride up to the trail head.
It took a surprisingly long time for someone to pull over. Eventually a travelling rock climber, who lives in his van, took pity on us and gave us a ride.
He was only able to take us to Mazama, but that gave us a chance to have a last coffee at the Mazama store, before we put our thumbs out again.
It didn’t take long to get a second ride. And what a ride. An old International Harvester Scout from the 1960s.
The gentlemen was only able to offer us a lift to the end of the sealed road but we didn’t mind. It was such a great drive. He even offered shower and sleeping quarters at his private residence on our way back from the border. Thank you so much.
Shortly after, a couple of young hunters gave us a ride up the rest of the way, on the back of their pick-up truck. We had rain and sleet all the way up to Hart’s Pass campground and I was freezing cold.
Then – drumroll – the big moment: I put the first, tentative step on to the Pacific Crest Trail … and it was wonderful.
It was 30 July 2018 at 11:30 am.
Oh my, it was so exhilarating to know that I was on my next big adventure.
The scenery was breathtaking, but cold. Me, having lived in tropical Australia for the last ten years, wasn’t really used to snow and ice any more. But I didn’t mind in the slightest. I was supremely happy.
Especially because the scenery was so amazing.
The snow on the ground only added to my excitement and made the landscape look amazing.
It felt so good to be on trail and the excitement just grew and grew all afternoon. Especially having all those stunning views around me.
Eventually we made it to a camp site opposite Pasayten Peak at mile marker 19.6 south of the border. We set up camp around five. John and I were both tired, even though we’d only done 13.2 miles (21.2 km). We had dinner and soon crawled into bed.