Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 163




I accomplished eating a plethora of German food. Sausages,  Brahts, schnitzel, spatzle, saurkraut, herring and sour cream,  etc.  The shoe situation remains a problem.

There wasn’t an outfitter in town that had a shoe over size 12, and I need a 14. I don’t want to stay here long enough to have a pair over nighted to get here on a Tuesday, and no car rentals were open on a Sunday.  I was going to drive to any town I could to get a decent pair of shoes.  In the end I bought some duct tape and did some patch work.  It’ll hold up,  but my feet are still going to get battered by rock. It’s the home stretch,  so I guess I can tough out anything.

Since reaching Washington,  the monotony of the journey has been growing by the day.  My body feels strong, unlike it did at the end of the AT, but my mind is utterly spent. It’s a total reversal from the end of my AT hike.  My mind wanted to stay on the AT with my companions,  but my body was toast.  Here,  at the end of the PCT,  my body could go on forever,  but my mind has has had enough.  Everyone I meet out here seems to be in the same boat; they’re ready to go home and take a break.  It certainly has been fun,  but the human mind can only tag along with the body for what amounts to a marathon everyday,  for months on end, for so long.

The closer I get to Canada,  the wearier I become; like Frodo approaching Mount Doom,  the weight of the ring becoming heavier with every step.  Time seems to slow  and my thoughts become heavier with each step closer to the border.  Being so near should breathe new wind into my sails,  but instead I find myself in the doldrums. I can think of no other way to describe my existence right now other than tired,  very,  very,  tired.

One thing I find myself contemplating quite often lately is the moment of finish.  The moment when I reach the monolith on the Canadian border that signifies the end to another massive journey. I didn’t know how I’d react on the AT,  but it wound up being very emotional.  I have a hard time seeing this finale being emotional, but you never know.  I have faced a lot of struggles and heartache with katana on this trek,  but the worst of it can’t really be associated with the trail.  Either way,  I’m curious to find out how my body and subconscious will respond to the conclusion of all this.

More than likely this will be my final post before I finish.  This is my last official town, and I do not plan to stop long enough to update the blog again before Canada. I know there will be weather before the end,  but my fingers are crossed that it will be manageable.  This is truly a race to beat winter…

Go to Day 164.


  1. Oh boy,there is not much I can add to all these posts. I agree with all of them. I am crying just reading all the wishes and goodbyes and good lucks and the sense of your exhaustion and uncertainty..All I know is that this is an epic accomplishment for you and Katana. I will sorely miss your writing. I look forward to reading about your next big hike. Be safe and we all await the final pictures.

  2. I’ve enjoyed reading about yours and Katana’s adventures, its been an inspiration. Did you ever find the owner of the mystery shoe print you were tracking that always seemed to be just a step ahead? Will you go for the triple crown when this journey is completed at some point? Safe travels !

  3. Kyle – I love the way you write!!! You are so open and honest, gentle, observant, and introspective. I love your analogies of Frodo and Mount Doom. Your description of the emotions at the end of the AT and the question of how you will feel at the end of the PCT had me tearing up!!! I will be so happy to have you come to your final point of success, but boy will I miss not looking forward to your posts and enjoying your adventures with (and for a time without) Katana. I have put several of the sections you have described on my bucket list for future vacation/hikes. Thank you for sharing this journey with us:-)

  4. The struggles and heart ache you are feeling will only make the finish more amazing and beautiful. It takes such incredible strength both physically and mentally to do what you have done and if you never experienced the level of fatigue you are at right now, then you would never know just how hard this has been and how much to appreciate the depth of this accomplishment. I am in awe of you and so proud. I want to thank you very much for taking extra time to share all of your adventures with us. Like so many before me have said, I looked forward to reading your updates and will miss reading them. Katana is such a blessing and I truly believe she feels even better than before. Now go finish carrying your ring to Mount Doom my friend. Safe travels and God Bless.

  5. Thank you for your updates! I’m glad Katana is doing well and enjoyed lots of bacon on her birthday 🙂 Hang in there, Canada is near. What an accomplishment! Safe journey to you both!

  6. Hang in there, you are almost done. The most beautiful section awaits you but you are correct about having to beat the weather. We were at Hart’s Pass this weekend and it was clear that winter is on it’s way with the cold mornings, ice on the trees and snow dusting the peaks. Thrus passing by with both excitement and mourning at the finish of their journeys. Power on; you can do it!

  7. Can hardly believe you have finished yet another grueling epic trail.
    Hope that ending is a good, memorable one.
    Well done you!

  8. Thank you so mich for taking me on this journey with you. I have mourned with you the travels without Katana and have celebrated her return. More than that I have been in awe of your determination and strength to continue when most would have just said “screw it , I’m done!” I look forward to your next adventure … after some down time at home, of course. I’m exhausted! I hope you have a joyous finish to your trek!

  9. I have enjoyed following you on this adventure as I have traveled the entire west coast at one time or another and had a good visual of what you have been seeing. Praying for you to have a strong finish.

  10. Thank you very much Kyle for taking my husband and I on this journey with you. I got a little thrill whenever I got up in the morning and saw that you posted. I will miss you!

  11. It has been so fun to follow you and Katana. Ive enjoyed every mile. I will miss you both. Hope you write another book.

  12. You are strong in both mind and body. Don’t let the exhaustion take away from the beauty of your experience. You are one of very few on finish #2 of the triple. Change the channel in your head. You are a positive person, bring it for this last stretch🌟

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