“The Pacific Crest Trail wasn’t a world to me then. It was an idea, vague and outlandish, full of promise and mystery.” ~ Cheryl Strayed
Wild – From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I first learned of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) from reading Strayed’s book during Winter 2017 while living in Northern Virginia. I mostly read this book snuggled on our living room couch – the one reserved for company – with a mug of Starbucks home-ground-and-brewed coffee, Pepperidge Farm Shortbread cookies, and a cozy blanket. I cannot remember for sure how I learned of Wild, maybe it was a book recommendation listed at the bottom of those Barnes and Noble receipts you get after purchasing similarly themed books or a suggestion I saw on the Goodreads app.
Unlike Strayed, Larry, the pups and I hiked a portion of the trail in Washington. The Lodge Lake Trailhead, located 53 miles east of Seattle, is where we first set foot on the PCT. This hike was like no other to-date; it rained almost the entire time. Larry and I were not in the slightest dismayed, we know there are many a waterlogged hiking adventure in our future. There was something more exciting about hiking the PCT than any of the others we have visited in the Pacific Northwest. Other than the Appalachian Trail back East – the West Virginia portion of which we have hiked – the PCT is a nature-time-out with much acclaim. I think we felt privileged to even know about the PCT, let along set foot on it.
Our initial goal entailed hiked from the trailhead to Lodge Lake – which we achieved – only deciding to hike an additional 0.5 mile beyond the lake. Given we have fallen quite a bit from our 15-mile day hike endurance achieved back East, we are slowly yet surely rebuilding our stamina. While looking paltry to some, the total 5.07 miles we hiked on the PCT in King County sufficed – given it was at the time only the second trail ranked moderate we have done since moving to Washington.
The greenery of the PCT’s surrounding vegetation was awe-inspiring. The sound of trickling rain and our boots beating the rocks strewn about the trail were relaxing and rejuvenating. Deeply breathing from the gut seemed effortless. We passed a few hikers along the way; some were alone, a few with whom I assumed was a significant other, and still people with their canine hiking pacers. I created stories about them having read Strayed’s book too – after which deciding to see the PCT for themselves. We chatted a bit with some, nicely greeted others without breaking our stride. I think the unspoken rule of hiking regards being cordial to passersby without killing their hikers’ high with long-winded conversations.
Larry and I plan to hike even more stretches of the PCT in Washington in the near future. Eventually we will make our way south to Oregon and ultimately the Golden State. I can hardly wait.