The Next Hike

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After feeling antsy last week, low in the winter blues, things are a bit on the upswing now. The increasing light has been nice. I feel like a cranky bear coming out of hibernation. Or the groundhog. Light is peeking on the horizon. I visited my close college buds this past weekend and the NW escape plus time with friends was uplifting. I also revamped my resume and applied to a few jobs close to home within the past week – and in the process realized that many of my resumes from previous years have also been created in February – a pattern in my life that has surely been driven by the seasons. Late winter is time for change and reinvention. (Note to self: how to spend all winters in New Zealand to get that perpetual sunny disposition?)

So I thought that with this more optimistic attitude and creative energy I would delve into planning my next hike. My thought is to keep it to a section of the PCT. After all, I started the PCT in 2014 need to finish it. Time to make a little more headway. Jared and I hiked the southern 1,100 miles in 2014 and I’ve since hiked a few hundred more miles in Washington. (Only ~1,200 miles to go!) This summer could be a good opportunity to hike a slightly bigger 250-700 mile chunk. The section I hike will ideally be easily accessible by bus or train to get to the trail (a ride that is relatively inexpensive, reliable, not terribly inconvenient for anyone, and no sketchy hitches necessary).

The hike I’m thinking will start somewhere in Oregon and I’ll hike northbound to Snoqualmie Pass. Start as far south as Ashland or as far north as Cascade Locks. Snoqualmie Pass is at mile 2,393 northbound on the PCT. The starting point options and numbers look like this:

  • Cascade locks at mile 2146 (247 mi hike)
  • Government Camp/Mount Hood at mile 2091 (302 mi hike)
  • Santiam Pass/Bend and Sisters at mile 1983 (410 mi hike)
  • Willamette Pass at mile 1907 (486 mi hike)
  • Crater Lake at mile 1823 (570 mile hike)
  • Ashland at mile 1718 (675 mi hike)

I’m leaning toward starting at either Government Pass, Santiam Pass, or Willamette Pass, which would mean a 3-4 week hike. A start in late June would mean wrapping up in mid-late July.

The terrain of that section would be the usual ups and downs, maybe more. The elevation ranges from near sea-level at Cascade Locks – actually the lowest point on the PCT – to a high around 7,000 feet around Sisters, Timberline, and Goat Rocks. Lots of volcanoes would be en route. Could be a solid hike. A good tentative plan…

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