Hey everyone, it has been a while between posts with a lot happening. I don’t think I’ve posted anything since releasing my PCT walkumentary back in December. This summer was one of the bussiest fire seasons I can remember which saw me preoccupied from early January right through until late May. Things really only quietened down at the start of this month.
Many months of 14+ hour shifts, initially for 10 days on and 2 off, working on the ground to oversee more than 100 firefighters, heavy machines and aircraft; working in an Incident Management Team to coordinate operations; flying around to direct the air attack from above; and then launching from fire supression into a fuel reduction burn program, is fatiguing and takes its toll. Luciky for me, our committment to the job is rewarded with generous leave entitlements. So, as July approaches, like many others, I am taking a well earned break from work.
But what to do with five weeks off? I’m heading back to the PCT, of course and can’t wait. Just over a week to go before flying out!
Why? For a couple of reasons.
Number one, I really want to walk the last 70 miles from Rainy Pass to the US-Canadian border that I missed last year. It has been eating away at me and is just something I have to do. But as it turned out, I probably couldn’t have completed the last section of trail even if it was opened or by taking the alternate route around the fire closure, given the rescue mission that needed my immediate attention on reaching Winthrop (see earlier post Zeal and Alarm).
Number two, Washington has to be one of the most spectacular sections of the PCT. Snow capped peaks, clear running rivers, tall timbers and lush green meadows. What is not to love about the place? Well, wildfire smoke that is for sure. It was damn smoky walking through in August last year. Some days the smoke was so thick it was hard to see the adjacent ridge tops. Hopefully this year by timing my visit in July I can skip the worst of the fire season and truly appreciate the beauty of Washington without choking on the brown haze.
The view into Snoqualmie Pass last year:
Number three, because the trail is there and because I can. I have a 5 year visa for the US and after all the effort to obtain it, plus permits for the trail and to cross into Canada why not use them. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend five weeks that meandering through the forest, camping out under the stars and being emersed in the great outdoors.
I don’t think I’ll do a daily blog this time around and am more likley to post once every couple of days from resupply points so stay tuned.
For now, a timber monument in a cleared strip of trees between two countries beckons – catch you out there.