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  • Gillian Larson

100 miles in Washington


Once we had crossed the bridge into Washington, I drove towards Mt. Adams, yet another imposing collossus of snow, with glaciers like frozen rivers pouring down its sides. I stopped to cache some food at different camping spots along the way, because this is the end of the road as far as my mother is concerned, and she has to return home to teach a summer school class, leaving me to do the rest of the trail (or as much of it as is clear) on my own. The first 100 miles were at a low enough elevation that I was pretty sure they would be clear of snow, and except for some sections that I had to go around above 6000 ft. on Mt. Adams, that proved to be true. We left my truck behind near the bridge, and I'm going to ride this 100-mile section after Mom leaves, then pick up my truck and return to Oregon to try to complete that short portion around Mt. Jefferson (the area that was once under snow, but is now on fire!) After that, I'll return to Washington, and I'm hoping that Alina and I might be able to connect and ride at least some of the trail together. If we run into snow, I may simply have to concede and leave the rest of Washington for some other time, as I have to be back in Los Angeles to start grad school at CSUN by August 20th, and I don't have the luxury of being able to wait until the trail is clear. But I'm hoping that perhaps over the next week or so the majority of the snow will melt, and perhaps I'll be lucky enough to manage to finish the Washington part of the trail before I have to go back home. I still have about 170 miles left in the Sierras that I have to complete as well, but I think I can do that over the course of a couple trips from L.A.; if I'm unable to ride through Washington due to snow by mid-August, I can't just drive back here on a weekend to get through a section I had to skip, and as disappointing and frustrating as it will be, I'll have to leave it to another time, probably after grad school is over, when I'll be able to wait for the conditions to be right. The PCT operates on its own timeframe, and there's nothing I can do to make it adjust to mine; unfortunately, there's also no way to make my available window of time any larger than it is.

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