As I am writing this, we are back home in Berlin. We came back one month ago and we are slowly getting used to "normal life".
The last bit of the pct was absolutely gorgeous, if not the most beautiful part of the pct. We had to walk through snow, rain, rain and rain, but the early fall color range and some sunny days made it doable.
In the beginning of Washington we got a bit lazy. Sleeping in, waiting for the rain to get less, walking to 22 miles and stop... We thought we could take it easy since there was this Blankenship fire going on for more than a month and the trail was closed for about 100miles.
One afternoon as we walked into Stevens pass (this was where the closure started) we directly got a hitch into town. By coincidence our friend leopard sauce was also in the car. The first thing he said was: "Did you hear the good news?.." "What?!.." "The trail opened again.. This morning!" OMG.... We were happy and shocked at the same time. This meant either skipping it and miss maybe one of the most beautiful sections, or hiking it in up tempo.
We choose the last option and leopard sauce came along. We wanted to walk it all..
At this point we had to say goodbye to a big part of the gnargnar group. We thought to walk all together till the end, but since they had a visitor coming by, and we suddenly had a tight schedule, we had to go separate ways.
The first day after Stevens pass was probably the hardest of all. Snow came down and made big puddles on the trail. Since our feet stayed wet and the temperature was low, we were literally freezing. We couldn't pause and we started to understand what frost bite could be like. For three ours that morning, we didn't got warm, only in the afternoon the snow and rain stopped for a bit and slowly our socks started to dry out.
In the end of the day we arrived at glacier peak side hills and found fields with thousand of delicious Huckle berries. Suddenly the horrible morning where we slowly died, seemed to turn into a day of stunning views and other treats from nature.
We loved Washington. The last days were again very tough though. We night hiked and walked crazy high mileages. The last days where a bit of a struggle to get to the monument. I was just totally exhausted. Felix of course, was still doing fine ;)
Still there were some moments where we were sitting on the top of a pass having lunch and where we weren't sure if we liked the fact that soon it would be over.
Arriving at the monument felt a bit weird. Almost as an anti-climax. After 4,5 months and 2650 miles you arrive at this wooden thing and than after 8 more miles to Manning park, you stop walking. No cheering, just an uncosy bar with luckely some other happy-sad co-hikers to talk to.
After that, time went by really fast. Within a blink of an eye we jumped from a very nice visit in Vancouver to New York and finally back home. Our bodies stayed stiff and sore for about three weeks and were complaining about not becoming enough movement.
At home we miss the fresh air and realize that our lives here, most of the part, take place between four walls.
But of course we were happy to see our families and friends and know that we cannot hike forever, which makes this journey even more special. We started running again and we will pack our backs tomorrow for a four day hike in Sachsen, Germany. After that we will run the 15km sevenhill run in my home town with our dear friend Ivo aka methinks :)
The trail is tattooed in us, it changed us forever. There isn't a day going by that we don't think about it. It was just.. Well I have no more words for it.