8/26/17 28.4 miles PCT Mile 2546.6
It was another cold night but I stayed warmer as we had a fire before going to bed. I’m surprised it’s so cold in August, I can’t imagine what it would be like in late September. I know there were a few people still out on the trail couple of weeks ago and I’m glad I’m not one of them. Before I even started walking today I knew it would be a hard day. I looked ahead at the elevation profile for today and it was not favorable. We were also trying to go 28 miles with 8200 feet of elevation gain and 9200 feet of elevation loss. At dinner last night I warned the others that I might not make it, of course everyone said, “of course you will.”
We awakened as the others were packing up their tents and got going. This camp had a pit toilet but it was a half mile away. The others took off to take turns at the toilet that claimed to have an amazing view. I decided I couldn’t wait that long and set off to find a suboptimal spot. I fell twice down a hill just looking for a suitable spot. What I found was a side hill covered in brush. Oh well. At least the lake was pretty.
Yesterday when we were walking into camp as the sun was setting we could see the trail across the valley as it sharply switchbacked up the hill. It looked miserable. We headed down the valley crossed a silty river and began climbing. It was much warmer today than it had been for the last few days so it was nice to be in the tress for awhile. Today we continued our journey around Glacier Peak and at the top of the first climb we finally made it to the north side. We briefly caught sight of Mt. Baker as we walked past lazy fat marmot after lazy marmot enjoying the views while they sunned themselves. Matt claims that marmots are aware of their surroundings and only live in places with beautiful views. So far this seems to be true! I wonder if marmots hibernate in the winter, they must right? We briefly stopped for water at a crystal clear creek and took the opportunity to wash our socks as the temperature was hot enough for them to dry out. What a treat.
After 14 miles we stopped at Vista creek to have lunch. I made pad Thai and traded away almond butter for peanut butter to dress up the pad Thai and add more calories. It was probably 600 calories but it felt as though it was just an appetizer. During lunch we learned an interesting fact about Fluffy he sits to pee. We all said, “what”?!? Fluffy claims it’s the right thing to do in order to not make a mess. I agreed but couldn’t help but make fun of him. Then Agame showed up, laat night she camped some 3 miles before us as she was too tired to go on. Lucky for me these two girls we passed yesterday had found my sunglasses and asked her if she knew who they belonged to. Now that I had my sunglasses back I gave Matt his sunglasses back that I took from him with a slurry of excuses as to why he should let me have his sunglasses. All perfectly good reasons by the way.
After Lunch we still had 14 miles to go and Agame mentioned a shortcut that follows what used to be the old PCT route that mostly included bush whacking. The only caveat we would have to cross the Suiattle River with no bridge and only downed logs that may or may not be there. I was almost convinced to go as it would cut out 6 miles of pretty boring trail walking down the river crossing it and then walking back up the river. Matt of course didn’t want to do it as it wasn’t safe. In the end we decided against it. Agame saying she was up for the adventure said she was going alone. Probably not the best idea but off she went. The next 6 miles were filled with whatifs and regret for not trying to talk her out of it. When we crossed the Suiattle and saw how high and big it was I got more worried and hoped she would turn around when she saw the river. During this time we heard a helicopter fly in and then fly out 10 minutes later. I said to Peanut that can’t be good I hope it’s not a hiker. Well it was. While in Stehekin we saw Lt. Dan and one of the girls he was hiking with got stung by a bee, she is allergic and had already used her epi pen. When the swelling wouldn’t go down some nearby trail workers radioed in a helicopter for her.
As we continued walking I kept looking at the river and the steep ravine trying to imagine where Agame would cross and then climb up. After a short break we continued on with only 4 short miles to go, all uphill of course. Shortly after leaving I happened upon a piece of paper in the middle of the trail. It was from Agame declaring her safety, I was glad she was ok then mad I wasn’t already at camp like her.
Today was like a roller coaster, constantly going up and then down and then up again. These long hard miles have really taken a toll on my legs, it hurts to sit cross legged, or anyway really. Despite this the last 4 miles went by pretty quickly, I was last to camp but not by much. Apparently, I lucked out as Matt and Peanut both saw one of the male trail workers naked and bathing in one of the small creeks. During dinner everyone was fretting about making the shuttle into Stehekin tomorrow. The last shuttle leaves at 5:30pm and noone wanted to miss it as we were all low on food.