8/9- day 6- 42 miles
In a hotel in Leavenworth, WA
Today was everything a trail junkie could wish for. I awoke early, around 4 am- still a bit grouchy from yesterday’s rain, and noticed that it seemed misty outside again. Le sigh.
Fortunately, after my cookies and instant coffee, and a fun climb first thing up…. pass, the sun began to shine through the mist, and as I passed the threshold to the south side of the mountain, I saw the most epic sunrise I have ever seen. Wow. No words can describe the beauty of the Cascades at sunrise.
The rest of the morning and afternoon flew by. Notable moments included a sweet encounter with a deer, views of lakes, mountains, and grassy meadows with a smattering of wildflowers. I could see Glacier Peak in many moments of the day- reminding me that it is now behind me!
So, around 8 pm, after awesome views of Lake Thelma, I arrived at the road and Stevens Pass where my friends were to come meet me. I made phone calls to loved ones, finished my food bag, then was whisked away to Leavenworth with my trail buddies KK and Ian. Now, resting in a hotel bed, pictures of the sunrise are floating in my head as I nod off. Another perfect PCT day.
8/10- Day 7- 24 miles
Another day in paradise!! I awoke early in my hotel room- after just about 6 hours of sleep- slightly hangry and uncomfortable. John Muir writes about how difficult it was for him to sleep in rooms after being in the wilderness. I can relate!
Still, I enjoyed the creature comforts of a hot shower, comfortable bed, coffee maker and laundry machine. And best of all was my visit with KK and Ian, who brought me resupply food and supplies, plus tons of love and good conversation. We topped off the morning with breakfast in Leavenworth, and talked all things running and hiking.
They drove me back to the trail, and I was hiking by noon- I felt uplifted by my amazing friends, and strong from sleep. The morning breezed by with some nice views, pristine alpine lakes, and miles of forested trail.
Next was a BIG climb up Piper Pass, but totally gratifying and a decent to a couple lakes and river crossings.
Funny how I make the same mistakes nearly every year- I planned on stopping around mile 22, then couldn’t find a site and had to a gnarly river crossing and 1,000 foot climb over 1 mile at like 7:30- end of day. Sheesh! Whatever doesn’t kill you, right?
Now, full of veggie ramen, I feel ready for rest, dreams and more beauty tomorrow.
8/11- Day 8- 36 miles
Wow- today was epic! One of my favorite sections of trail- where I climb over three mountain passes- stay on a ridge line for quite some time and finish with a long, difficult traverse over possibly the most rocky trail maybe of the entire state!
So, first thing was bam- beautiful sunrise and alpine glow after a push up a couple thousand feet or so- then down to a river basin, then up a long seemingly endless climb above the Waptus River- with great views of surrounding lakes and mountains.
Then back down down down- cross a few cascading rivers and back up up up- another 4,000 feet of climbing through first a burned area, then that crazy trail of rocks. Phew!! But wow! What spectacular scenery- wildflowers, alpine passes- all of it!!
I slowed down through the final miles- not just because of the rocks, but because I was feeling thoughtful, introspective and reflective, and enjoyed sitting on rocks with the surrounding mountains- just being. Meditating with the beauty around me.
The night ended with a marmot encounter and a goat sighting and a sweet mountaintop campsite in a grove of trees to protect me from the wind. Tomorrow is Snoqualmie Pass and the pancake house. Yup- I think my hiker hunger is finally kicking in!