Pacific Crest Trail--Section J
Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass
August 28 - Sept. 4, 2004
Left, the Gang of Four at the trailhead in Stevens Pass(Bob, Tom, Kevin and Chuck). Right, the same gang at the Snoqualmie Pass trailhead.
|Most hikers go from the south to the north when they
travel along the Pacific Crest Trail. It makes sense for those who start in
Mexico and finish in Canada due to the seasons and the snow levels. Since
the trail guidebooks are written for northbound hikers, even section hikers
usually go south to north.
But when planning this hike, it made more sense to start at Stevens Pass and end at Snoqualmie Pass, both close to Seattle where I live. To do the 75 mile trip in a week, we'd have to hike on average more than 10 miles a day. But the geography of the trail put some limits on the distance. Starting at Snomqualmie Pass, you can either camp at Ridge Lake eight miles from the trailhead, or at the Park Lakes basin about 15 miles from the trailhead. I didn't want to hike 15 miles the first day with heavy packs uphill, but eight miles just wasn't long enough. By starting at Stevens Pass, we would have many possible campsites at 9, 11, and 12 miles of hiking.
The other members of the Gang of Four agreed. Kevin and Chuck were fellow magazine editors who had joined me for half of my 2003 PCT hike. Bob was an old college friend who has been backpacking longer than I have. I had to convert him to lightweight backpacking for this trip, and though he was skeptical at first, he agreed at the end of the trip that this system works.
On a cool and drizzly August morning we packed into my van with my daughter and drove top of Stevens Pass. Emily would take the car back to Seattle once we hit the trail.