30 miles of the Washington PCT

 


In preparation for the Backcountry Rise 50 mile race, Susan and I decided to run a 30ish mile route as our last big run before the race. (editor note we later dropped to the 50k) We had originally thought we would run the last 30 miles of the Oregon PCT heading towards Washington (Lolo Pass to Cascade Locks) but we saw a posting on Oregon Hikers that said there was a lot of blowdown from winter storms that made large parts of the trail nearly impassable. After dealing with that on Hunchback Mountain we decided to come up with Plan B. Luckily Plan B was literally on the other side of the river. We decided to run the first 30ish miles of the PCT in Washington going north. Yassine and a few other folks had also done it recently and confirmed the trail was in great condition. 

Running in a cloud and happy about it

We decided to start at the Bonneville trailhead and run the PCT to Wind River, which meant we needed both our cars for shuttling. The great thing about this route is it is only a 20 minute shuttle between the trailheads. It is probably an 1.5 hour shuttle to do the Oregon section. We left Susan's car at a primitive parking Wind River Road hoping it would be safe overnight and headed off in the van to camp overnight at the other trailhead. 




We got an early start around 6am not know what we might encounter nor how long it would take us. The first ~6 miles of the PCT we were pretty familiar with because we had run a month or so early as part of our Table Mountain route. The first 10 miles is also pretty much uphill and there isn't a lot of water until mile ~16, this is one of the major reasons we decided to run northbound direction.

Nice cold mountain water



We thought after the Table Mountain turn off we would be running a new section of the PCT for us, but as we started talking we realized we had run this section before but just the opposite direct. We ran it as part of our first 50k in 2012 -- Bunker to Bonneville. We had fun reflecting on that race and everything we had done since 2012. 


We were stuck in a cloud for most of the 10 mile climb, normally we would have been irritated by it and getting wet but after a week of 110+F days we were very happy to be damp and cool. After reaching the top of the climb we had some nice downhill that went on a lot longer than I expect that ended at a glorious creek, where we filled up our water bladders with nice cold mountain water. By this time it had started to get quite warm and we were very happy to have cold water. 

Susan and Bear Grass


After the first creek we had our 2nd major climb but not nearly as long or as much elevation gain as the first one. It was actually pretty nice after the long downhill (at least for me anyhow). After that climb it was nice and rolling to the car. We had several water crossing with lots of cool and refreshing water.



This section of the PCT doesn't have the views like the Oregon side but it also has a lot less people and I think is equally as nice. Plus you can't beat a 20 minute shuttle for a point to point route. And if you are so inclined you can stop at Backwoods Brewing in Carson on you way back to pick up you second vehicle. 



My strava route.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mt. St. Helens Circumnavigation

Hiking the Dolomites - Alta Via 1

Three Fingered Jack circumnavigation