During the several summers that I worked for AMC’s August Camp, I was lucky enough to spend a good deal of time in the Mt Rainier area, the North Cascades, and the Sierra. We got some time to explore the hiking opportunities, but since we were working rather than vacationing it was never as much as I would have liked. It’s been years since those summers, and I can hardly remember anything about the areas. The pictures, though, are tremendous.
As I look back over the pictures, I’m struck by the wildflowers everywhere. I hope there are still some of those around when I get to that area on the PCT. I also hope I can get into Packwood, which is a moderate distance off the trail. I can’t even remember what the town looks like, although I think I remember a pizza place there.
The second summer out west we were based out of Concrete, WA, at the edge of the North Cascades. There aren’t many places I can say are as beautiful as the North Cascades when we were there. I can still remember a few of the trails, and I have a few more pictures to jog my memory. Just about every mountain we climbed was mind-numbingly gorgeous, and some spots, like Hidden Lake, easily fit into my Top 5 Most Beautiful Places Ever.
Sadly, the PCT travels far to the east of where I did most of my hiking in the area. Not to mention at that point I’ll be racing against the oncoming snow.
From what I hear from many past PCT hikers, the Sierras are the highlight, so I’m glad I’ll get another chance to go through them and see what everyone else was so excited about. Still, I have a hard time believing that the Sierras, while quite nice, could be anywhere near as gorgeous as I remember the North Cascades being.
The beginning of the hike is still several months away, and I’m trying to keep focused on the present. Maybe I should change the background picture on my computer, though, because right now it’s Hidden Lake, and seeing that every day makes me want to go there right away.