Daily Journal Week 21

Day 141 (15/08/2018): Sheep Lake to Tentsite at Mile 2354.2 (28.5 Miles)

Sheep Lake was an amazing camping area. Lots of people, but I was the only one at my spot. No bugs really to speak of, and no condensation on the tent in the morning. What more could you ask for? The initial climb out of the lake was steep, but rewarded me with some of the best views of the day. It got smokier throughout the afternoon. I could see the very top of Mt. Rainier for a couple hours this morning. I can imagine the expanse of the Cascade Range would have been sprawling in front of me all day if only I could see it. Lots of up and down through quite a large burned area that was started in 1988 by loggers, as well as the Norse Peak fire from last year that closed this section to most PCT hikers. Glad I’m able to hike through this season, thanks trail crews! Towards the end of the day my left knee was starting to give me trouble so I called it a little early. Hopefully the extra rest and Ibuprofen will alleviate the pain tomorrow.

Day 142 (16/08/2018): Tentsite at mile 2354.2 to Mirror Lake at Mile 2384.3 (30.1 Miles)

Well, that was difficult. All day my left knee hurt, but it did start to feel slightly better towards the end of the day. And I got another 30 mile day in! I met back up with the crew of Pacecar, Groover, Squeaks, and Everest just before the final climb up to the lake tonight, it’s always nice seeing that crew again. Gorgeous campsite and view of the steep mountains around the lake. Unfortunately today was very, very smokey and the views were once again limited quite a bit. There was a breeze most of the day, but within a few sections of thick trees and brush it was extremely hot this afternoon. Lots of steep up and down sections as well. Beautiful freezing cold streams and springs made today bearable. 8.8 miles tomorrow morning and I’ll make it into Snoqualmie which will be a welcome rest. Might be able to meet up with Isaac again too, we shall see tomorrow.

Day 143 (17/08/2018): Mirror Lake to Snoqualmie Pass at Mile 2393.1 (8.8 Miles)

Woke up a little late but got going quick as I didn’t make coffee. I was last out of camp but first into the Summit Pancake House for breakfast. Good food, large portions, and the hiker box over at the Summit Inn was super stacked! The hiking this morning was pretty easy, downhill mostly. The clouds moved in through the early morning so I couldn’t really see much at all. Isaac’s girlfriend Anna drove up to the pass and took me back to their place in Auburn where we had some Jambalaya at the soul food restaurant Isaac works at. Spicy and tasty! Got my resupply done and I am ready to chill out tomorrow and do nothing but rest my knee and feet. Also I ordered a new rain jacket that REI is shipping north to Steven’s Pass for me. Hope it doesn’t rain the next few days!

Day 144 (18/08/2018): Zero day in Auburn

Chilled out super hard, watched Netflix all day, and ate pizza. It was really good to catch up with Isaac once again for a decent amount of time this go around. We watched “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” in the evening. Classic film.

Day 145 (19/08/2018): Snoqualmie Pass to Ridge Lake Tentsite at Mile 2400.3 (7.2 Miles)

Got a really late start, didn’t get to the pass until almost noon. All good though because it was so smokey I didn’t want to hike anyway. I feel so redundant writing that over and over. This smoke and constant threat of wildfire is getting really old. Unfortunately last night I received some terrible news concerning a new fire at Rainy Pass. The PCT is closed to the Canadian Border, so I can’t finish at the monument. I am so bummed out that after everything this trail has thrown at me I’ll possibly just be ending it at a road crossing. How underwhelming. I don’t really know what else to say other than I’ll just keep trucking and hope for the best. I found a 1.5 liter Nalgene bottle in the woods today though. So now I’m carrying that heavy thing.

Day 146 (20/08/2018): Ridge Lake to Waptus River at Mile 2427.8 (27.5 Miles)

Today started off late with some mosquitoes and the most smoke I’ve hiked through since leaving Crater Lake. I could barely see any of the peaks I was hiking near and it felt like someone was stepping on my chest while I was trying to go uphill. I really want to say something positive about today but I just don’t really have anything. I suppose I saw a couple small garter snakes, that was cool. This afternoon I dropped my phone for about the tenth time this trip, but this time it cracked the screen. Still working thankfully, but it’s just another thing that makes me despise being here. I’m in a terrible mood right now, and thinking about how far I’ve come just to be cut short of the finish was really making me upset today. Maybe tomorrow will be better. While eating dinner in my tent ash is landing all over it. The sound of the river rushing is really relaxing. I do love camping near streams and rivers.

Day 147 (21/08/2018): Waptus River to Seasonal Creek at Mile 2453.2 (25.4 Miles)

Today was a good day. A tough one, but a good one. Lots of going up switchbacks. The smoke cleared out a bit as well, at least to the point it didn’t hurt while huffing and puffing uphill. I caught up to a guy with a huge pack just before a stream I was planning on eating lunch at, and while walking behind him watching him struggle I noticed his gigantic tent and sleeping bag strapped to the outside. Crazy. I soaked my feet in the cool water and had a nice long lunch break which was nice. Right after I left the lunch spot I crossed another stream and see a huge tent just laying on the trail. Now I’m thinking to myself “damnit, do I pick it up and hike to catch up to the guy or leave it there?”. I figured I’d appreciate if someone did that for me, so I grabbed it and took off quick. The tent weighed five pounds… that’s half of my entire pack. And I noticed. Luckily he was only a couple miles up at a junction and had no idea what I meant when I asked if he had dropped something. He was very grateful and it made my day to help him as well. Saw a bunch of marmots today too which was cool. Why do I hike this trail? Why did I start? Just to finish at an arbitrary mark on a border? No, today was why. I do it for the views, the little things, like the frog under a rock in the stream at the lunch spot. The journey is the destination, truly. It’s just tough to see that sometimes. Saw “Johntron” the hiking Trail Angel today too, haven’t seen him since south of Etna.

DAN01720Mt. Rainier just peaking out from amidst the smokeDAN01724It does give the endless ridges and crests of the mountains some depthDAN01727Oh Washington, you are truly beautiful!DAN01729This perfect flat section greeted me at the top of a hellacious climbDAN01731Still some extravagant views, imagine if it weren’t smoky!DAN01734Gorgeous nonethelessDAN01736The trees and other foliage sure have changed a lot since the SoCal desertDAN01737Afternoon sun beams down through the airborne particulatesDAN01740I think there is a mountain out there?DAN01744Now we’re talking! The morning sun illuminates yet another pristine meadowDAN01745I’d almost forgotten what blue sky actually looked likeDAN01749Alpine lakes never cease to amaze

Here’s a link to next week’s journal!

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