Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 171

​Day- 171

Date- 10/3/16

Location- Near creek

Elevation- 4,295 ft

Distance Traveled Today- 18.3 miles

Distance Traveled Total- 2,606.9 miles

Weather/Temp-  cloudy, rainy, sunny, 60s

Injuries- cut on palm

Pain level- low

Spirits/Morale- somber

Days without shower- 8

Hunger/craving- low


Last night was probably one of the coldest nights I’ve experienced on trail. Everything was covered in ice and frost when I woke up this morning,  including my sleeping bag.

Not wanting to take the chance of getting caught with wet gear on another night as cold as this one had been,  I decided I wouldn’t leave the road until my bag dried.  The sun was out,  but I wasn’t taking the chance of the weather going south after I hiked out,  then not having a chance to dry everything before dark.  So I stayed near the road,  dried my bag and ate pancakes until almost 10 am.  Then hiked out.  I also cooked and shared the pound of bacon.

This ended up being a good idea, because around noon it became overcast,  then sprinkled in the early evening.  Most of the day was pleasant,  but it was obvious the good weather we’d been blessed with was on its way out.

I’d have to say that the hiking today was some more of my favorite of the entire trail.  Wide open views of the northern cascades, as well as views of the trail ahead and behind,  like a scar on the mountainsides.  The colors were amazing,  and even some of the pine trees had turned orange.

I feel genuinely sad today.  Every time I think about leaving this place and ceasing to be out here every day, I feel my eyes fill with tears.  I feel more emotional now at the end of this journey than I did on the AT. Perhaps because I know what’s coming.  I was so excited to be going home soon,  but now I’m not.  The urge to withdraw from everything is very strong.  I don’t want to talk to anyone back home,  or even think about going back.  I want to hold onto this feeling that I’ve taken for granted in the later stages of this adventure.  That feeling I’ve craved to recapture since the moment I stepped off the AT nearly 2 years ago. Now,  at the end,  I realize that feeling is about to escape me again very soon.

When I stopped for the night in a small pine grove near a large creek,  I decided I was going to have my last fire of the trail.  It has been sprinkling on and off and the forecast has called for the weather to get continuously worse each day from here on out.  I painstakingly made my fire with the wet branches around the campsite, heated up my pizza,  then proceeded to lay in the soft dirt with Katana,  entranced by the flames for the next several hours.  It was very therapeutic for my sad, nostalgic state.

Go to Day 172.


  1. For your future book. The trees that are orange are Larch. Most trees with needles – Conifers – don’t lose needles in Fall/Winter.
    Beautiful Fall photos. I am too old to do what you have done but not too old to appreciate your journey. Thank you for blogging it.

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