Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 159

​Day- 159

Date- 9/21/16

Location- near creek

Elevation- 3,238 ft

Distance Traveled Today- 21.4 miles

Distance Traveled Total- 2,412 miles

Weather/Temp- cloudy, light rain, 60s 50s

Injuries- none

Pain level- low

Spirits/Morale- anxious

Days without shower- 1

Hunger/craving- low


Checked out early-ish and was hiking by 9 am, tackling a nearly 3k foot climb right off the bat. Once at altitude, the views were once again staggering. I feel like I’m just repeating myself over and over again when it comes to the views out here.  They are simply non stop,  constant, breathtaking…overwhelming, possibly too much.

The rocks stayed constant,  but so did Katana’s perseverance. I don’t consider them an obstacle for her anymore.  If what we’ve encountered so far has had no affect,  then I’m not concerned about the future.

Less than ten miles into the day’s hike,  the lip of my shoe caught on a rock as I was taking a step, the pressure ripping my shoe in half. I can still walk in it,  but my shoe feels funny and obviously leaks pretty good now.  Now every time my shoe catches on something, my foot pops out of the giant tear.  Another obstacle to overcome.

There were some jets flying low through the mountains creating a deafening roar that went on forever. I managed to get some cool shots of one of them.

I solved another noise mystery today as well.  For the past few weeks I’ve been hearing this sound like a very loud human whistle,  or even a rescue whistle.  I’ve heard it intermittently, and until today, chalked it up to some new regional bird species.  Well,  I was wrong.  As we were trekking along a barren stretch of rocky trail cut into the side of the mountain,  I heard the sharp whistle.  Then I heard it again, and again,  and again. I stopped to look around and eventually pin pointed the source; it was a Marmot.  I’d seen probably a thousand marmots in the Sierra Nevada, but not a single one made a peep.  These Washington marmots are obnoxious.  The little bugger was standing on a rock far below,  looking in my direction,  periodically screaming at me.  Warning me?  Warning other marmots?  Establishing his territory?  Who knows.  Marmots scream,  of that I’m sure.

We finished up the day with a descent made up of probably 50 short switchbacks.  The constant 180 degree turns are maddening to me. I’ll take a steep climb over endless switchbacks any day,  but I guess the horses require them.

The weather is supposed to be decent tomorrow,  but I don’t trust any forecast.  I’ll probably be erecting my rain fly every night for the remainder of my time in Washington.

Go to Day 160.


  1. The marmots here in the Sierra are in full voice now too. Might be a seasonal kind of mating thing, perhaps. I was serenaded by them all last week when backpacking there.

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