PCT Washington – Introduction

Prelude After our rest in San Francisco and short tour of Vancouver area we arrived at the Canadian/Washington border eager to start on the trail again.

Our arrival in Canada was somewhat premature- we had intended that it would be the finale of our grande crossing of the USofA walk on the PCT. Instead we touched down at Vancouver airport on Friday 12th June from San Francisco. After being discouraged by the snow depth of the Californian high sierra, our new ‘great idea’ was to fly to Canada and resume the walk southward. Finishing at our trail exit point of Walker Pass, south of the high sierra. To get there, though, we still had 2000+ miles to walk through Washington, Oregon and north/central California.

We settled in quickly to Vancouver. It had less of the out-and-out commercialism of the south and a lusher, more forested look to it. A boat trip out of Vancouver Island to spot Orca killer whales was a wonderful diversion from the walk and made us lust for more of the sea and coast. We both vowed to return for a more extended stay. On the two hour bus trip east from Vancouver we met 2 other hikers (Paul & Holly) who were thru hiker refugees from southern California as we were. They were intent on the same plan as us to complete the walk southward from here. They looked lean, fit but tired due to the 48 hour bus journey from the south the had just completed. We felt our flight and week’s rest was justified.

Our destination was Manning Park, a small resort and campsite tucked away in forest and rolling hills, 8 miles north of the USA border. After a hearty breakfast we left at 9.30am on June 16th– our second leg of the walk was about to begin……….

The PCT in Washington We could expect a great contrast in conditions between Washington and Southern California. The Cascade mountains dominate the centre of north Washington, an alpine range of jumbled snowy peaks cloaked with dense forest of lush mountain-hemlock at lower altitudes. To the south, a range of dormant volcanos take over with Mt Rainier being seen from afar. The trail travels through the forest and over alpine passes and often maintains its height above forest as it contours round the sides of mountains.

Chipmunks and ground squirrels are the most commonly seen mammals whilst deer are abundant and both brown and black bears can be seen.

Next, we start hiking south from Canada……..

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