9/26: (23.7 miles) Today I had to make up that extra 1.3 miles that I missed yesterday. Uphills and downhills were abundant! Today was mostly overcast but at one point the sun came out. It was around 1pm and I started to stop for lunch. About 25min into my lunch, some rain picked up (with a bit of snow mixed in) and I had to quickly pack up everything I had set out to dry and dash out of there. So today wasn't the best. I did make up the extra 1.3 miles but I was still camping at a high elevation and it was quite cold.
9/27: (22 miles) Today I will dub the "Day of Slipping and Falling". As I mentioned above, I was at high elevation and it was very cold. In fact, so cold that even after the sun had been out for at least half an hour, my tent was still covered in stiff sheets of ice. I tried to wait for it to thaw out but eventually I had to get going so I just did my best to roll it up (inevitably rolling some ice up in it). This of course made my hands freezing and every minute or so I had to stop to warm up my hands. At around 9:50am I was finally packed up and ready to hike. So far there has been plenty of mud on the trails due to the rain on the first day and this makes for some creative hiking where I have to walk on the side of the trail, hop across rocks, etc. Today was further complicated with the trail being literally frozen (in places the whole trail was just a big sheet of ice). So I inevitably slipped and fell on that a couple times. Also, a couple times I had to cross logs over creeks or climb over logs that had fallen across the trail. Turns out that wet logs are very slimy and slippery as well (so that accounts for a couple more falls right there). And, at one other point, I was walking along a ridge line and the ground under my left foot gave way and I nearly fell off the trail (but caught myself and instead fell on the trail). Finally, I took a shortcut (0.5 miles cutting off 1.5 miles) on the old PCT where a bridge used to be but got washed out. Crossing the river there was fine but the trail to the old bridge was washed out too and I did somewhat of a "controlled fall" and slid down the dirt embankment. Needless to say, I was not happy that I was hiking the PCT at this point.
9/29: (14.5 miles) I BOOKED IT today. I heard that the shuttle into Stehekin has changed to the Fall schedule so that the last bus runs at 3pm (turns out this was wrong), so I wanted to make it there by then. I hiked about 3.5 mph the whole morning, leaving at 8am and arriving just before 1pm. It averaged out to ~3.1 mph because I had to stop to eat or filter water a couple times. When I got to the ranger station I found out I had just missed the latest bus (the 12:45pm) by minutes. I was frustrated, but not too bad because I had planned on the 3pm anyway. But the nearby Stehekin Ranch picked me up in a shuttle and dropped me off at their place (only 2 miles away) where I could wait for the bus and use their molasses-ly slow WiFi. The bus came a couple hours later and I took it all the way down to Stehekin (it's about a 15min ride, but the bus stops at the famous bakery so that we can get some goodies). I hung around Stehekin for a while (hotel room was $135! so I camped for free), ate at the restaurant (very overpriced: $18 for an "ok" burger), and then set up camp.
9/30: (ZERO) Today the plan is to take the ferry from Stehekin down to Chelan (down the 54 mile-long Chelan lake), enjoy the ferry ride, then get a ride up to Winthrop from Chelan (Winthrop is the last town stop in Washington). I'll stay at the hostel in Winthrop and then get a ride to Hart's Pass (the last road access to the PCT before Canada) tomorrow (which will leave about 2 days of hiking to Manning Park, Canada). I'm skipping ~2 days of hiking between Stehekin and Hart's Pass because at this point I pretty much just want to be done with the PCT. If I was in California right now (and maybe Oregon), I'd probably just quit. But this closer to the border, I gotta finish it off. Here we go!