Hi all, not to ruin the secret, but We've finished the hike!!! I'm still going to fill you in on Washington though...
Washington Part I - Cascade Locks to Snoqualmie Pass - Mile 2144.2 to 2390.7, 246.5 miles
September 6th -17th, 12 days, no zeros!
We left Cascade Locks September 6th, not super early, but not too late. We took our sweet time crossing bridge of the Gods, with mom stalking us in her car across to Washington. Lots of pictures, lots of hugs goodbye to mom, several celebration PBR's for making it to our home state, and finally we were walking...
The first day up was damp and raining despite a forecast for sun. Welcome to Washington. It was also steep, but not as bad as we feared considering we were climbing from near sea level up to something like 5,000 feet (don't quote me on that). Water remained challenging. The topography was steep, thickly forested with dense underbrush, so finding a campsite outside of what Halfmile and Guthook offered was off the table. We got to a campsite at a watersource at 1830 having "only" hiked 20.7 miles. This was the earliest we had camped in a long, long time, perhaps ever, but would become the norm in Washington.
For the next 80 miles to Trout Lake the hiking continued to be steep and thickly covered in trees, with only occasional peek-a-boo views. We managed to do a two 25+ mile days, therefore making a quick in and out of Trout lake a possiblity.
We arrived at the highway to Trout Lake in the morning of September 9th, having hiked 11 miles, to see a large group of hikers crowded around a huge RV. The RV owner was the father of one fo the hikers we had not met, and he had picked all these kids up, let them camp with him at the RV park, cooked them all burgers, and gave them all the beer they could drink, then gave them a ride back to the trailhead. We were all cheering because they had just opened up the trail through Mt Adams literally hours earlier. We were all so excited to get to hike, and then after he took lots of pictrures, he offered Grant and I a ride to town. Woo hoo. I had been dreaming of getting a hitch in an RV this whole trip, and they made my dreams come true. He even gave us beers for the short ride to town!!!!!!
Trout Lake was great, very friendly wonderful people. We ate a lot of food, drank some beers, had a huckleberry milkshake, grabbed some supplies, and were promptly offered a ride back to the trailhead by local superhero trail angel Gary. He had a couch in the back of his pickup truck just for hikers. The ladies all sat in the cab while the hiker trash boys clambored into the back.
Gary had been giving hikers a ride around the fire closue for a few months, about 5 hours roundtrip for him, and there were several who were getting that same ride today. We told them the trail was open. They said they knew, but that they hadn't planned on that many days of food. Hello! We got our ride from the grocery store!!! Really? These are the types who drove me nuts, not here to hike, but only to party, and this, in my humble opinion, was a gross abuse of the niceness of the trail angel. The trail is open. Hike the trail assholes. Oh yes, I know about "hike your own hike" but this is the sort of trail angel abuse that has made us the most hated class of hikers ever, and will quickly burn these nice souls out.
Back on trail, we met our first long distance horse rider of the trail. She showed me footage of her riding to the top of Forrester Pass. Seems crazy. Her horse was pretty awesome, but I don't like horses on the trail (yes I know it's an "equestrian" trail). Most of the riders we ran across on the PCT didn't know their asses from their elbows yet took their skittish, untrained horses onto one of the most popular trails in America...And they destroy the trail. The riders on Wyoming trails are so much better, I guess because they are real working horses/riders where these are a lot of rich joyriders? But I digress...
We hiked through burn areas from recent years fires, and got views of this years damage. Mt Adams was great! It was cold. And then we made it to Goat Rocks Wilderness...
Goat Rocks Wilderness, for once, lived up to it's hype. Ciscpus Pass was gorgeous. We took a million photographs thinking that was it. I was thinking, this was nice, but not as big as I thought it would be. Just as I thought we were going to head back into the never ending trees again, we discovered the rest. Stunning. The knifes' edge was crazy!!! So hard. The day went on forever, in a good way. We took our time, enjoying our long-lost mountain scenery, scenery we hadn't really had since the High Sierras. There were goats at goat rocks. Tons of them!!! I didn't want them to head butt me off the knife edge, so I was scared. Baby goats, old billy goats, goats galore!!!! Awesome. We survived the Goats.
We didn't make it as far as we planned on before camping, which was great because we found a far better site not listed on our Apps, with incredible sunset views of Mt Ranier, water, and views of our magical alpine mountain wonderaland we got to spend the day in. It was fleeting, as it was only a day, but it was a full f'ing day of sunfilled magic. Yay Goat Rocks.
Back in the trees....
We made it to White Pass September 12th where Mom and Dad met us. Mom got us a nice room in a budget type place in Packwood, where the owner kindly did our laundry for free. She saw how dirty our socks were and decided to do those in their own load. I was really grossed out for her....
Packwood, unfortunately, really really really sucked for food for me. The pizza was nearly inedible. I hit the trail the next morning literally crying because I hadn't had good food, and I was so very hungry. I kid you not, I was crying about food, tears rolling down my cheeks, screaming and shaking my fist. Oh the humanity.
By day two, I was less upset about my hunger, back in the swing of my trail food. Mmm....sour cream and onion potato chips again! Lucky me!!!
White Pass to Snoqualmie Pass was, in a word, not worth it outside of a thru-hike. Lots of hunters, lots of trees. The highlight was that at Chinook Pass, my friend Gene met us to hike with us a little bit. That part was pretty. He hiked so fast, we could barely keep up! It was so freaking cold that day. We met him at 9am, with a little hiccup, and sat in his car for two hours drinking coffee, beer and eating homemade zuccini bread. Gene subtly suggested that maybe we should actually hike that day :) We did. He dragged us by our ears up the hill, then we said goodbye, and kept hiking. We made it 23.3 miles that day, despite our long morning break. We also missed our water source by .3 miles. I decided I wasn't likely to die if I kept hiking, so in the end hiked 23.3 miles on only 1.25 liters of water...and a couple of beers :) I was thirsty, but not even close to real dehydration. I mean, it was even snowing on us at times, so yeah, not the desert.
We continued to average the low mid 20's for mileage until Snoqualmie Pass. We camped about 6 miles away with our friend Heather. That was I think our second or third night camping with her, and she remains the only person we purposefully and happily camped with, and for that many days, like for the whole trail. Wow!
At Snoqualmie Pass, our friend Diana arrived with our requested Vietnemese sandwiches, our resupply boxes, and a free place to stay. She stayed with us that night, as it was a little too far to walk from all the stuff we needed (restaurants and bars), but we had a blast at Trivia Night at the brand new brewery.
She did make us hike in the morning....She had shit to do back in the real world.
Sept 6th, Day 147 - Mile 2144.1 to 2164.8 = 20.7 miles Elevation Change +5169/-3923
Sept 7th, Day 148 - Mile 2164.8 to 2190.6 = 25.8 miles Elevation Change +6878/-4817
Sept 8th, Day 149 - Mile 2190.6 to 2216.2 = 25.6 miles Elevation Change +3236/-2897
Sept 9th, Day 150 - Mile 2216.2 to 2232.1 = 15.9 miles (Trout Lake) Elev. Change +3723/-1983
Sept 10th, Day 151 - Mile 2232.1 to 2255.7 = 23.6 miles Elevation Change +2525/-2904
Sept 11th, Day 152 - Mile 2255.7 to 2277 = 21.3 miles (Goat Rocks!) Elev Change +4452/-3494
Sept 12th, Day 153 - Mile 2277 to 2292.4 = 15.4 miles (White Pass) Elev Change +2411/-4237
Sept 13th, Day 154 - Mile 2292.4 to2316 = 23.6 miles Elevation Change +4017/-3058
Sept 14th, Day 155 - Mile 2316 to 2339.3 = 23.3 miles (hike with Gene) Elev Change +4044/-3863
Sept 15th, Day 156 - Mile 2339.3 to 2363.3 = 24.0 miles Elevation Change +3903/-5728
Sept 16th, Day 157 - Mile 2363.3 to 2385.2 - 21.9 miles Elevation Change +5222/-5066
Sept 17th, Day 158 - Mile 2385.2 to 2390.9 = 5.7 miles (plus some) Elevation Change +737/-1600
Snoqualmie Pass, not a zero.