Day 15th, found us with thumbs out and a stylish sign for hiker to Trail courtesy of Louskis Deli in Skykomish . It took 30 minutes, but a friendly fellow in a run down RV picked us up and brought us back to Stevens, he dropped us off and brought another hiker to Levinworth. We talked with Marmot for a spell, he was stuck waiting to charge his batteries! We climbed up the ski slope and found a good tent site 15.5 miles in! The next day, we were feeling ambitious so we set out for a 24 mile day, all in all it was. 17 mile day that was a 23 mile day? We took the wrong turn and got to log in six more miles of Washington! We decided we were all to blame since everyone of us had maps and apps! Now I check Guthooks 100 yards into a new transition trail!
The next day was better and one of the most scenic yet! We met our third official NOBO- Nugget!it looked like he might finish in 90 days! Crazy! The highlights of the day was numerous F18 flights zipping through the mountain passes! The loud and often shrill whistle of power, sounded like adrenaline and freedom! I couldn’t be more envious!! We stopped just shy of 26 miles giving us only 16 to Snoqualmie!n
In Snoqualmie I needed desperately to replace my trail runners and get tips for both my poles! My poles were worn nearly down to the baskets, I had no complaints since I had nearly 2,000 miles on them! A desperate post of FB to the PCT angels and a fellow named Darren Emmons picked the three of us up for an REI run, dinner and resupply! At REI, they didn’t have tips and were sold out of Leki poles too! The associate checked in the back and returned with lower sections complete with tips- perfect! I asked how much and he said, they’re yours free! Wow, next for shoes – perfect then I also sock exchanged my darn toughs for a new pair! Success! We hit xxx root beer for burgers and a float returning us to the Summit Inn some 70 mile round trip. My hiking mates- Numnum and Freeforall got tent stakes, new shorts and resupplys too!
Day 18- brought our first zero, we hung out, walked around town, met Darren and listened to a jazzy band at the ski slopes! We planned just four days to Snow pass, we did 20,24 and 26.4 miles entering into the Mount Rainier National park and then 20, setting us up for a nero at snow pass! The weather and bugs have both been awesome. On the second day we met an Air Force squad at Ulrich cabin working on drills, great group of soldiers! We all enjoyed their company! I hiked alone this day and wanted to push myself, I knocked out 24 miles in 8 hours! When I left camp I saw five Roosevelt elk browsing in a meadow! I have a feeling the views are going to get epic again!! The hard push the day before gave me confidence to knock out my second marathon on trail! Day four I had a pleasant surprise when I heard someone yell “Catmando “ it was fellow THRU-r correspondent Lite Bright and Levi! She took me completely off guard as I figured I’d see her in Oregon! A quick trail break afterwards I ate a Gatorade bar and watched a mink frolic in the stream!
Evening camp on Buesch lake introduced us to some ravenous mosquitoes – we all retreated to eat dinner in our tents!
As always, we are looking forward to a shower, some food, laundry and resupply at White Pass- but my real excitement is Goat Rocks ahead!!
Goat rocks was both an exhilarating and spiritual experience. Not even a mile out of camp, I saw 12 mountain goat nannies and kids. The landscape and views were second to none! We took the alternate high route and then summited old snow mountain, the views of Rainier, St. Helens and Adams was surreal! Ever corner the view was more captivating! We spent a lot of time soaking in the beauty of this area. On our way to Nannie lake, I spotted 32 more mountain goats- what an amazing day!! My PCT best day so far!! Knowing the snow would soon be gone I took the opportunity to glissando down a hill in my shorts!!
Day 24, was sad leaving goat rocks but we were delighted with epic views of Rainier and Adams. I Told the Tramily I was “ feeling it” and they joined me in our first 30 mile day, we gain and lost elevation evenly totaling 8,000’ in 30 miles, it was a sweet day, capped by crossing a glacier sketchy river and walking through lava fields to camp snuggly below Adams west face- the sunrise will be amazing!
Day 25, was a scenic trip down to Trout lake in a short 10 miles. On one switchback I took pictures of Adams, Rainier and Mount St Helens, I rounded the corner and there was mount Hood! Awesome. Trout Lake was the best hiker town so far, barely edging out Stehekin! People here were simply the best and the Presbyterian church was so gracious allowing us to camp, use the pavilion, kitchen and restrooms! Doug told me about their network of trail angels – simply amazing. Free laundry ( donation based) at the general store and free towels and soap for the town showers! Food at the Cafe was excellent, great breakfast and dinner, huckleberry shakes to die for!! The highlight of my trip was to meet the wanderwomen! Finally after they were a week behind me on the AT and last year watching them doing the CDT, they’ll be triple crowners after they flip back at Kennedy meadows north, I hope to see them south bound!!
Day 26, offered only the beauty of the green tunnel, some feel that it is monotonous, but I soak up all the textures and plant diversity. I’m told this year has a super bloom of what the locals call bear grass, I know it as a perennial I use to grow in the greenhouse by Liatris, not sure if the specie is filamentosa or spicata? It is however lovely and gives a Suessical feel to the landscape complete with a fresh sweet fragrance! Today during my longest hike to date – 33 .6 miles I also noticed Rhododendrons, oaks and evergreen ferns, the landscape as we inch towards Oregon is subtly changing!
Day 27- I must have my trail legs! 5600’ ascent in roughly 13 miles- some was as steep as it gets, no cardio breaks, no huffing and puffing – just copious sweat to show the effort. At nearly 21 miles- Mt Adams makes one more cameo appearance! Numnum catches up at 4:00am but we were so deep in sleep we never hear him, but I noticed a note by my cnoc! See you layer guys! And that we do after about nine miles into the day. We leisurely hike a modest 21.2 today, happily eating blueberries, huckleberry and red and salmon raspberries! We found the mother load, contentedly we find a great stealth spot and slumber off with purple and fuchsia fingers and lips!
Day 28, Guinness wakes me up at 4:45am and tells me he will see me in Oregon! I’ll admit I’m a wee bit competitive, even though I’m always last out of camp, I abide by my routine of packing, stretching and eating breakfast, 45 minutes later I’m off chasing Guinness to the border, one by one, I pass all my trail mates, I figured there was no catching Guinness today, I still charged on and one mile before the Bridge of the Gods, caught him! we chase a quick 13.4 into cascade locks for a breakfast and a trip to Portland to celebrate Washington!! Bridge of the Gods – such a mile stone today! We crushed elevation and miles and got here in four hours! A Nero followed by only my second zero! Well earned, Washington taught me a lot! It’s beautiful ruggedness was amazing, it challenges me in many ways yet prepares me for what’s ahead! I’ll never forget the northern Cascades, they leave an indelible mark on your soul!