ALPINE LAKES WILDERNESS, WA

Seven days without road access. Seven days in nature. Out there, only with what we packed. It is an overwhelming feeling. What if someone gets ill and has to go to the hospital? What if I roll or break my ankle? There is no cell phone reception that will provide instant help. Yes, we are experienced and have been on the trail longer than that, but there will be always a consciousness that thinks about all the if’s. Before leaving Snoqualmie Pass this doubt kept creeping up more than usual. We were nearing the end of our time in the US and maybe I thought: We were so lucky all the time out there, it can’t go on like this forever.

 

I didn’t tell anybody about my reservations and I became quite and moody. Walking gloomily behind behind my girlfriend, thinking about all those different things in my head. Maybe, as I said the intense journey through the US got me, but maybe it was just the Pacific Northwest spirit that overwhelmed me. All this rain, the clouds and the fog. They just blew over our trail, changing the forest and mountains around is into unicoloured emptiness. For the first time in two months it rained constantly for the whole day. There was nowhere to take shelter and our aimed for campsite miles away. After our well earned sleep, our wet walking boots were combined with wet and stinky socks. A perfect combination to start the day.

I now it doesn’t sound like it, but we had a fantastic time. Little things like picking tons of huckleberries along the trail, a beautiful rainbow after hours of rain or beautiful alpine flowers spread an immense internal happiness. Along the trail we also met Karel Sabbe. Together with his supporter Joren Biebuyck, he set a new record for the fastest thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. He averaged 50 miles a day for 52 consecutive days. It was very impressive to meet and speak to him in person. If you imagine him like a super skinny and muscly marathon runner, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Very quickly it became clear that – whilst it is an extreme physical situation for the body – the real strength lies in his mind. His psychological calmness was extraordinary and deserves a lot of respect. Which leads me to my beginning: Whatever your worries and doubts might be, try to focus on the now and take it step by step.

If you want to learn more about Karel: http://www.karelsabbe.com/