2003: The Year I Hiked The PCT For The First Time

I stepped onto the Pacific Crest Trail. It wasn’t a prime section even, but yet I knew it was special. That overly chewed up section of trail crossing a ski resort won me over, even as it tried to pull my boots off in knee-deep mud. Even the first steps I took on the Appalachian Trail on the East Coast did not compare for me to that day.

Those first few miles to Lodge Lake near Snoqualmie Pass, Wa on I-90 won me over. I don’t have the photos for that trip anymore, they were eaten by a computer so long ago. But when I came to the lake, I sat down in a campsite sitting in a cathedral of old trees. It was so peaceful. Within a week, I came back and hiked another section, going North on the PCT from Snoqualmie Pass to Kendall Katwalk. Now, that section gave me what I wanted! It took me high up above treeline with views forever. Then I knew it really was where I was meant to be. The trail going up wanders thru some very old and pretty forest, before breaking out into open alpine. A young Ford and I just beyond the Katwalk. He was nearly 6 that year.


During that time we walked for the first time heading South of Chinook Pass in Washington State. I didn’t know at the time, but it would become one of my favorite hikes to do. The small tarn there, I have photos of it in every season.



Later that summer I saw Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap for the first time, and got to see the back entrance overlooking Upper Crystal Lake.

I found out how much I could love the PCT. It didn’t matter if I went South or North. It was all gorgeous with enough volcanoes in your vision for a lifetime.



Even though  it sits just a couple miles off of the Highway, Sheep Lake feels like a 100 miles out (when you go mid-week!). It sits on the edge of wilderness and civilization.

As summer turned into fall, we had a gorgeous Indian Summer. We pulled a last of the season trip backpacking heading North from Chinook Pass to Norse Peak. Unfortunately, my photos from that trip were lost….


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