Daily Journal Week 20

Day 134 (08/08/2018): Trailhead Tentsite to Trout Lake Creek at Mile 2223.8 (25.9 Miles)

Nice and cool this morning to start with. Interspersed cell service along the way also. The views of Mt Adams would’ve been incredible if it wasn’t so smoky. Strange though that I can’t smell smoke in the air. Speaking of smells, the scent coming off the plants near Trout Lake Creek were mesmerizing me on the descent towards camp. It reminded me of fresh laundry. Little climb out of here in the morning up to the road where I can hopefully get a ride into Trout Lake and resupply for the next few days. Before making dinner I went to take a leak, when I turned around to walk back towards my tent there was something pink and phallic shaped leaning next to a tree. It was a bong accompanied with a little baggie of weed! Too funny! Today was the first day on trail that I woke up thinking that I was over hiking. I want to be done so bad it’s making it difficult to enjoy the beauty surrounding me. It doesn’t feel good. My feet are pretty much beat on top of it. I could sleep for a week.

Day 135 (09/08/2018): Trout Lake Creek to Tent and Creek site at Mile 2229.9 (6.1 Miles)

Today I woke up feeling like I wanted to have coffee and get hiking. Definitely feeling better than yesterday. Soaking my feet in the creek last night helped for sure. So cold and refreshing. Walking the 5 miles to the highway into Trout Lake was very enjoyable and to top it off there was trail magic! I grabbed a Starbucks mocha and sat by the road drinking it as “Pat” (a trail angel from Trout Lake) rolled up to the trailhead just as I was finishing the coffee. Perfect timing. Resupply for two and a half days. Crushing a breakfast burrito and charging batteries was the plan for the afternoon. Great little town. Another local trail angel named “Gary” dropped myself, Papi, who I hadn’t seen since Norcal, and his girlfriend “Lil Biddie” back off at the trailhead. Gary used to work as a wildland firefighter in Washington until he retired some years back. Now he gives PCT hikers rides to and from the trail during the summer months, what a guy! Had a few beers while waiting for it to cool down with some SoBo’s named “Pinkman” and “Robot”, then hiked a mile up trail where I heard someone shout “Cruise!”. It was Tang!!! So awesome to see her again out on trail. She’s been crushing the miles with here freshly healed foot fracture and she’s planning to hike the trail SoBo all the way back to the southern terminus! As I sat on a log talking with Tang and getting my things in order a rogue mouse decided to rush straight at me which took me off guard and I kicked at it. Unluckily for the mouse my aim was true and it went careening towards a nearby log. Not to worry though, I did see it go running away on the other side. Soon after the mouse incident the crew of Groover, Pacecar, Squeaks, Everest, Four Eyes, and River came rolling up. After retelling the mouse kicking story Groover and Pacecar decided to hang their food bag to keep away from rodents. I must say it was a suspiciously low and uninspired hang haha! Such a cool day out here in Central Washington, especially for only hiking about 6 miles.

Day 136 (10/08/2018): Tent and Creek site to Pondside Tentsite at Mile 2255.7 (25.8 Miles)

This morning was really nice. Good temperature, light breeze, lots of cold water sources. Going around Mt Adams was really cool, although the smoke made it difficult to make out details of the mountain itself. Then right about lunch time the biting flies started. I must’ve killed at least twenty just from them landing on my leg! The rest of the afternoon was spent in the trees without any views whatsoever. Lava Spring was a refreshing treat mid day though. I could barely keep my feet in it for thirty seconds it was so cold! Very nice. Campsite tonight is next to a couple ponds with more than enough mosquitoes to go around. We’ll see how many more hikers show up tonight. My guess is it’ll be the same crew.

Day 137 (11/08/2018): Pondside Tentsite to Random Shitty Tentsite on Stupid Side Trail (~25 Miles)

This was definitely the worst day on trail by far! Started off with hordes of mosquitoes and walking in the clouds for the first few hours this morning. Then it briefly got pretty great. Clouds lifted a bit, I saw a fox, then a coyote. Or maybe two coyotes. Or maybe just the same coyote twice. Either way it was cool. Saw a couple Pika as well. Tons of people on trail unfortunately after Cispus Pass. Which is the place where I was standing off trail waiting for a group of about ten hikers to slowly walk past me when I dropped my camera and watched it slide down a scree slope about 10 feet which cracked/broke the back screen. Thankfully it still works. Then it started raining right when I sat down to eat lunch. Minor setback, I just ate quick, threw on a rain jacket, then started hiking towards Old Snowy which I was planning on trying to summit. Just before the turn up to the peak the clouds closed in, the wind really picked up, and it started raining very hard. I chose to continue on down the exposed ridgeline of the PCT which proved to be a terrible mistake. The wind got much stronger and without gloves I couldn’t feel my hands within about fifteen minutes. I kept going as the weather got worse until finally finding the fire alternate trail (Coyote Trail) and heading down off the ridge. Around ten minutes into descending I took a step on some wet grass which turned out to have nothing underneath it. Without any time to catch myself I smashed my right knee into the trail and began rolling down the hill towards some trees. After catching myself I realized I’d ripped the entire right side of my rain jacket open, and it was still raining quite hard, joy. I’m writing this in my tent with everything wet around me. Really cold still. Worst. Day. Ever.

Day 138 (12/08/2018): Random Shitty Tentsite on Stupid Side Trail to Packwood (~20-28 Miles)

Really wet still this morning. Everything I have was pretty well soaked. The trail was covered in water which clung to the ill maintained trail ensuring that my feet were completely wet the entire day. Really gorgeous views though at least. The ridge did offer up some vast 360 degree views and I got my first really great look of Mt Rainier as well as glimpses of the northern faces of Mt. Hood and Adams. From the top of the ridge I thankfully had some service and called Hotel Packwood to reserve a room ($40 private room with laundry included). Once I secured the room I basically ran down that crazy steep trail. I’m so finished with the Coyote Trail and this alternate. Just before hitting the highway I quickly waded across a river then had one final super steep climb up where I then road walked the remaining 3.5 miles to where the fire closure finished. At the highway I met a former PCT hiker/trail angel named “2taps” who I had seen previously in the desert just outside Deep Creek Hot Springs handing out mimosas. This time he handed me a can of “Squirt” soda, what a guy! A gracious couple named John and Eileen passed me at first, then turned around and picked me up to take me into Packwood. Thanks so much guys! Pizza at Cruiser’s for dinner, Elysian Space Dust beers (get dusted!), and Netflix. I almost forgot about how terrible the day before was.

Day 139 (13/08/2018): Much needed Zero Day in Packwood

Started the morning off with coffee and kept charging stuff up, downloading music, podcasts, and generally just relaxing. I got a resupply done for this next three day section up to Snoqualmie Pass. My good friend Isaac who I’d worked with in Alaska and New Zealand decided to drive up from Auburn (just south of Seattle) where he is working and living currently. Really great to see him again, it had been just over a year since I last worked with him in NZ. He bought me lunch and a beer, bloody legend! After lunch we drove up the road a ways and had a couple brews above a sparkling blue river. Really relaxing and fun to catch up with him. In the late afternoon Isaac dropped me back off at White Pass where I camped for the night along with about ten other hikers behind the “Kracker Barrel” convenience store.

Day 140 (14/08/2018): Kracker Barrel to Sheep Lake at Mile 2325.7 (31.4 Miles)

Started off the morning with a soaking wet tent due to condensation. My sleeping bag was pretty dry though. Glad I didn’t listen to Ferrari and cowboy camp. Really great day of hiking overall. Good weather, not crazy hot this afternoon. It is very smoky still unfortunately so not the best views. The lake I’m camping at tonight is only a couple miles from a parking area and highway, so it’s very well used and popular to say the least.

DAN01685Walking towards a smoky Mt. AdamsDAN01688Gorgeous place even with the hazeDAN01689The mountains are moodyDAN01693Approaching Cispus Pass my spirits were high as the clouds liftedDAN01694Just look at that view!DAN01695I dropped my camera about thirty seconds after this group passed meDAN01699Still works though! A shattered camera screen can’t stop the beauty of Goat Rocks Wilderness!DAN01700The morning after the ordeal on the Coyote TrailDAN01702Ridiculous views from the ridgeDAN01704Finally glimpsed Mt. RainierDAN01706What a beaut!DAN01708I heard later that there was an aggressive bear at this lake, I never encountered it luckilyDAN01710You can just make out some jagged peaks through the thick smokeDAN01711I need to get back and hike this place again without the smokescreen blocking all the mountainsDAN01714The Cascades are truly magnificent

Here’s a link to next week’s journal!

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