What’s the best way to prepare for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail? By actually hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail of course. A few weeks ago I set out to do just that by revisiting one of my favorite hikes from last year, the same hike which made me decide to hike the entire PCT, Kendall Katwalk.
I woke up early and made the drive up I-90 to the PCT trailhead at Snoqualmie Pass. As I pulled into the trailhead the fact that I will be spending 5 months, give or take, on this very trail really started to really sink in. I felt a mix of excitement and anxiety as my mind was flooded with thoughts of how amazing and challenging the journey will be. Not to mention all the things I had left to do to get ready. However, once I threw on my backpack and started down the trail the anxiety quickly subsided leaving nothing but excitement.
The trail starts off wooded with glimpses of the surrounding mountains through the trees. The trail itself is nice and smooth with a couple of small streams to cross before opening up into talus. Hiking on rocks is not my favorite but the views more than made up for it.
You make your way back into the tress as you continue up, crossing a few more streams before hitting a clearing which offers a view of the ridge above. In some spots you have to work your way through the abundant foliage.
You will hit a few switch backs and will continue to be provided with fantastic views of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area.
Continuing on the trail you will be greeted by some prominent peaks straight ahead of you letting you know that you’re getting close to the ridge. After turning a corner you begin the final push to the katwalk. A you get closer your can start to see valleys on both sides of you.
Once you make your way to your way to the katwalk it becomes clear that you are at the top of the ridge. Turn left and your looking down into one valley, turn right and you’re looking down into the other.
The katwalk itself is a narrow path blasted out of the side of a cliff, a few hundred yards long. When I arrived I was the only one around so I took the opportunity to take it all in.
As you make your way along the katwalk you have a spectacular view of the mountains to the east…
… and the valley below. If you look close enough you can see Silver Creek at the bottom.
Heading back I began to wonder what it will feel like when I hit this section of the PCT next year. Realizing that at that point I will have hiked over 2,000 miles and had taken a day or two to visit family and friends I haven’t seen in months, only to get back on the trail and continue on to Manning Park in Canada, with some tough hiking ahead in the North Cascades. Luckily being so close to Seattle I’m sure I’ll have a few people join up with me for parts of the final push.