PCT miles 2476.3 to 2574.1 – Stevens Pass to Stehekin – Total PCT miles 2574.1
Getting to Stevens Pass meant nearing home on many levels. Trail going by familiar mountains. My grandparents meeting us in Baring for a critical shoe delivery, visit, and ride back to Stevens Pass. (Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!) Most of all, it meant that the next leg of our hike would take us into the Glacier Peak Wilderness.
I’ve been in love with Glacier Peak since I first saw it with a climber’s eyes. The snowy dormant volcano with rugged ridges that plunge into valleys with ragging rivers, hanging meadows of wildflowers, whistling marmots, and deep ancient forests hushed by thick carpets of moss. I love it for its distance from any road-there is no scenic byway that motors up to a lodge at treeline. It is a mountain surrounded by true wilderness. When I can see Glacier Peak from a nearby summit or the hills of Seattle, my mind is calmed, my soul uplifted. Knowing those rivers are coursing down valleys to forests. Knowing that others might be taking delight in moving through the Napeequa Valley or over White Pass. It is the mountain and wilderness that I love most in this world. And it was the destination I most looked forward to walking to on the PCT. Glacier Peak Wilderness, my home in the mountains.
This section was everything I hoped for. Steep climbs (by PCT standards) up and over passes that rewarded the hiker with views of the North Cascades. Lush meadows a-flower with purple lupine, yellowing corn lily. Green slopes full of whistling marmots. High alpine lakes still iced over with last season’s snow. Deep old-growth forests. Rivers gray and brown with glacial silt. Devils club and brushy overgrown trail. The Glacier Peak section was the closest the PCT came to bestowing the challenges and thrill of climbing mountains, embodying the elements of endeavors into the Wild Cascades.