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PCT Trail Days

PCT Trail Days

From the start of our trek, Journey Man and I discussed our desire to go to PCT Trail Days. We both hike the Appalachian Trail last year, but neither of us attended AT Trail Days. For me, the event took place before I even started the trail. As for Journey Man, he got sick with norovirus and couldn’t attend. We both heard stories of how fun Trail Days can be, so we were really hoping we could make it this year. 

As the event drew nearer we knew we’d be north of Cascade Locks, the trail town that hosts Trail Days. As it was, we were nearly halfway through Washington. We talked about plans to get back down to Cascade Locks—how much time it’d take us to travel down, how much it would cost, where we’d hop on a bus or rent a car or hitchhike to get there, how much it’d set us back on our timeline to finish the trail. Could we swing it? Would it be worth it? Our primary reason for wanting to get to trail days was to see our thru hiker friends—especially the ones that live abroad—one more time. The chances we’d see them again otherwise were very slim. Eventually, we reluctantly came to the conclusion that it would be too tough to make the trip back for Trail Days. We were bummed at the thought of missing out, but we knew it was the smarter decision to stay in trail.

Fast forward a couple weeks from arriving at that decision, a tendon injury forced us to take a week off in Seattle to rest. While we were there, wildfires began ramping up along the PCT corridor in Washington. Trail closures were imminent. That fact, coupled with my injury and the nature of the trail in the upcoming sections (remote and significant elevation change), had us reconsider our flip plan. We discussed our options yet again and when we found out we could get a ride with Journey Man’s sister down to Portland, it was settled. We would be flipping south and could make a pit stop at Trail Days!

We immediately started seeing familiar faces once we arrived. It was a big, beautiful reunion of wonderful people. By day, we wandered around with various friends and visited all the vendors. I even got to see Noodles at Blaze Physio, who checked out my leg and confirmed my suspicion that it was tendinitis. She gave me stretches to do multiple times each day and showed me how to tape my leg to support the muscles.

By night, we indulged at the local brewery and danced to live music as the sun set. The whole patio was crowded with hikers, each smiling and singing and jumping up and down to the music. My heart felt like it could burst, I was so full of happiness being there with these folks. I am overjoyed that we got to attend Trail Days and hang out with friends that we met in various places along the trail, each of them so kind, thoughtful, hilarious and unique. I’ll miss them all dearly, but you never know when someone might pop up again. When I hugged each of them goodbye, I felt excitement for my friends knowing that we all have such an adventure still ahead of us. 

- Mantis

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