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Day 136 – August 17, 2022

SoBo Mile 14.7 to 30.6 (Harts Pass)

15.9 trail miles | 15.7 tracked miles | 2,900 ft elevation gain | 78.8 F / 26 °C

Powering through the climbs on my way back to Harts Pass and crushing miles through exquisite scenery on yet another perfect day, I could feel the elixir of youth flowing through my veins.

The strength that I’ve acquired over the last 4.5 months is carrying me faster and further, but all roads come to an end, and Harts Pass is where this adventure wraps up.

My friend James generously braved the dirt road up to Harts Pass—which is widely considered one of the worst roads in the US!—and drove several hours to pick me up and take me home to Seattle.

James and I at Harts Pass (along with too many flies)

I am grateful for James’ help and for the assistance of fellow hikers, trail angels, and everybody who has contributed to making this adventure successful in one way or another. I deeply appreciate the unwavering support I have received from my parents, friends, and coworkers. I couldn’t have succeeded without all of you.

The epic road to Harts Pass. It’s not for the faint of heart. Or for Honda Civics.

As a page turns, I thought it would be fitting to echo the closing line of my favorite movies of all time, German film Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others.)

Why did I leave behind a comfortable and safe lifestyle? Why did I walk day after day until exhaustion while carrying a soul-crushing load? Why did I shiver in the biting cold and sweat in the sweltering heat? Why did I struggle through snow and mud and push through pain and hunger?

Das ist für mich.

One week later, the road to Harts Pass washed out and became impassable to car traffic, posing another challenge for hikers returning from Canada.

A couple of weeks later, wildfires spread through the North Cascades, spewing toxic fumes over hundreds of square miles and obliterating views. The northern terminus of the PCT eventually closed for the remainder of the season, crushing the dreams of hundreds of hikers.

Roughly around the same time, a norovirus outbreak spread on the trail as the NoBo bubble was coming through White Pass and then Snoqualmie Pass. The epidemy likely started at Mike Urich cabin, where I spent the night on August 2nd.

Completing a thru-hike of the PCT is a matter of physical and mental strength, determination, planning,… and sheer luck. Good fortune seems to always be on my side, and for that, I am thankful. Thanks for reading.

The Big Picture

3D path
3D video

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