After the PNT

Thursday September 12 – Wednesday September 18

I slept great, being indoors and on a nice bed. In the morning I explored the apartment complex, which had a big pond.

The resident swan, Ricky, was quite friendly and came over to say hi.

In the afternoon, I walked over to the Fred Meyer to get some food for the next few days.

Apparently the pumpkin spice foods are already out on shelves… it’s time to go back into the woods and hide!

The view from the store parking lot was great. Rainier is a big mountain!

In the evening, Steph, Rob and I all went to the local climbing gym. It had been a year since I’d put on a harness, so the usual 5.10’s now felt quite difficult.

The next morning, I did some more planning for one of my upcoming hikes, “Lowest to Highest”, a 130-mile route in the Mojave desert. Of course, ice cream was needed to aid the process.

At lunch, I picked up a super cheap rental car, and drove to downtown Seattle. On the way, there were over a dozen “Bikini Espresso” coffee shops. Seattle is fascinating.

After exploring Capitol Hill and Chinatown, I met up with my CDT trail family! It was awesome to see them all at the same time, and we hung out and talked late into the evening, way past “hiker midnight”.

I was sad for the evening to end, but it was 11pm, and everyone had to get home, and I had to drive two hours by 8am tomorrow. I drove partway, and camped at Snoqualmie Pass. I was very happy to see that the Aardvark Express food truck was still doing business.

It’s a delicious Asian fusion establishment that is very popular with PCT hikers, since that trail goes right thru here. After another hour of driving, I arrived at Vantage, a volcanic rock climbing area on the Columbia River.

Rob and Steph were already there, as was Tom and his dog Beau.

I spent the day climbing, and flailing up some hard cracks. Fun, though! Especially the offwidth crack. The next morning, Sunday morning, I departed and drove four hours to Portland. As I drove down the freeway thru the gorge, I had to stop at Cascade Locks for the view, and an ice cream.

I had a fun visit in Portland, getting in a nice long trail run in Northwest Park, and seeing trail friends on Sunday night (AT), and Monday night (PCT). It seems that Portland is where thru-hikers go to retire, ha!

The next day, Tuesday, I got up early, and drove all day. I took a brief break after four hours to stretch my legs. I ran a mile down the PCT at Willamette Pass, so fun!

I had left Portland at 8am, and arrived to Lake Tahoe CA at 6:30pm.

Long day, but it was worth it! I hadn’t seen my friends Kim and Jeremy since their wedding, so I was stoked to hang out for a couple of days. And of course the dogs too!

I will start the Tahoe Rim Trail on Thursday the 19th, a trail I’ve been meaning to finish since 2015, when I hiked part of it. I feel ready to hike again!

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