Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Washington - onwards to Steven's Pass

If you do not like profanity, then please do not read my blog.  Thanks!!!

September 19th - Mile  2404.8 to 2426.1, 21.2 miles 

Continuing North towards our next stop in Stevens Pass, the weather returned to rain.  First mist, then rain, rain, rain. It was thickly forested. I was mistaken all those years thinking that if I just made it past the day-hiking turnaround point, I would get to stay in Mountain Shangri-la just like when hiking in the Rockies, or High Sierra. Washington always takes you straight back down to the f'ing forests...

From here, we really started setting up the tent early, 6:30. This night was because we wanted a break from camping with people, so stopped at Spade Creek, but the writing was on the wall, and had been for awhile...We were no longer going to hike late into the night.  6-6:30 pm was to become our norm, and we stopped fighting it.

September 20th - Mile 2426.1 to 2447.3, 21.2 miles 

Exact words from my journal - "Rains all fucking day, holy shit. Grant hilariously tries to dry rain fly at top of a pass.  God he's funny! Grant doesn't cry too much, but does fucking suck today.  Feel bad for ultralight hiker ____, she only has a gargage bag for rain gear.  Holy shit, ok goodnight"

There were all these day hikers, coming in from who knows where, and I could help but feel sorry for them.  Work all week, then have to hike in this crap, then paste a smile on their faces as if it's great.  We don't think it's fun hiking in the rain.  It sucks.

September 21 - Mile 2447.3 to 2461.6, 14.3 miles, Stevens Pass

Way back while we were in Snoqualmie Pass, I told my dad we would arrive at Stevens Pass at 2pm.  Well, we were only 15 minutes late.  Pushed through wet, steep terrain, but the rain had eased (still, everything wet, cold, steep)  We were 15 minutes late. Not bad!  Dad pulled through for us with burritos, and we convinced him to stay the night with us in Leavenworth. The hotel we settled on was really crappy, grant and I could not get our shit together, and in the end we were too exhausted to go out for dinner, so grocery store food it was....We are not doing this right. No days off, we were to hike in the morning


Washington - Leaving Snoqualmie Pass

Ok, well, truth be told, I am suffering from post-hike depression right now. That coupled with Western Washington's infamous shitty, cold, dark, rainy weather and being alone, I'm not in a good place. One way it has manifested itself is in my refusal to write or even reflect much on what I have accomplished, thru-hiking the 2,650ish mile Pacific Crest Trail. So I'm forcing myself to sit down, and at least write something today...Here I go.


Washington Continued:

September 18th - Snoqualmie Pass - Mile 2390.9 to 2404.8
                                                           13.9 miles

Woke up in the condo, tried our best to get it together.  Diana took us to the trailhead where a group of people we knew, Cobain, Geisha, etc... were about to hit the trail too.  We offered them beer, and they happily accepted.  We said goodbye to Diana, then sat at the Picnic table with that crew while they ate lunch and we drank another beer. Grant and I finally started hiking at 1130.

I had high hopes about this section of trail. this was the only part of the PCT in Washington I had ever hiked, and only about 5 miles of it to Kendall Catwalk.  I told Cobain that I had looked out at the mountains and had always wanted to just keep going, enter into the heart of the mountain range, instead of always having to turn back around to the roar of I90 and the drive home.  So it was really nice to walk across Kendall Catwalk, and then keep going!!!

Years ago, I had been hiking to Red's Pass and the Commonwealth Basin, which also shares part of the PCT before veering off to the right, when I ran into an fast hiker, probably in his early 60's.  He asked me if he was getting close to "the lake" and I told him I didn't know about a lake (I was only using day hiking guidebooks at that point and didn't think about going beyond the suggested routes), so I asked him if in fact he was trying to go somewhere else, like the Commonwealth Basin where I was going.  He huffed "NO!!! PCT!!! GOD!" and ran down the trail.  That was the first Thru-hiker, and he was a total dick....But I digress, so I kept going and made it to "the lake" Ridge Lake!

Ridge Lake was very pretty, and there were a ton of day hikers veering off to desperately eat their lunches. There were people talking about keeping their energy up, an older man trying to make his adult son eat a lot more than he wanted for the big 6 miles back to the car, etc... I couldn't help but have evil thoughts about how funny it was that they were all so desperate for food when they weren't even working that hard.  I don't know why, considering how obsessed with food I was at that point, that I found it funny how obsessed with food everybody else is too.

We kept going leaving the crowds behind, climbing up up up.  The scenery was stunning, but soon it became clear that we were walking around a bowl, and the view towards I90 was never going to change!  Water was scarse, so I was quizzing the occasional weekend backpacker about future water sources...Leading to much confusion, though we got pretty good intel.  Towards the end of the day, right before finally cresting the ridge to the other side, we ran into a Goat.  This old billy goat would not freaking get off the trail....He just kept slowly walking down the trail.  We didn't want to get too close as it was a very steep drop off, and goats have been known to be pretty aggressive.  Finally, we were yelling at the old goat, cmon, get off the freaking trail GOAT!!!!  he finally scurried up above the trail, but we still had to pass pretty close to him in order to continue on.  We ran into the Cobain crew, and they had had a similar experience minutes before, and had named him Gary.  Then we heard another hiker yelling "Hey guys!!! look up, I'm like 2 feet away from this goat!!!" I'm guessing Gary the Goat is the most photographed goat in the wilderness considering how close he likes to hang out with hikers.

We kept going, found a nice trickle of a stream, and decided to hang it up a little early since we had found that unexpected nice water. Just as we were setting up camp, our friend Heather rolled in, so we all camped together, rain threatening.

It was nice to keep going, I loved Gary the Goat. Short day, but hey, no zeros!