Sun 8/04 At home till 1:30 pm. Rode with Harold to White Pass. Harold's wife, Judy, is recovering from three strokes. Life changing for both of them. It was good reconnecting with Harold after a month on the trail. Harold and I go back to January 1981 in Ellensburg. We worked together many years and we have hiked many, many miles together.
Left White Pass at 4:15 pm. I hiked six miles to Buesch Lake. Darn mosquitoes. Many stagnant ponds which are breeding grounds for the little devils.
White Pass to Snoqualmie Pass is the flattest PCT section in Washington. I hope to put in good miles and make it to Snoqualmie Pass on Thursday.
Mon 8/05 Buesch Lake PCT mile 2301 to above Sheep Lake which is above Chinook Pass 2326.2 = 25 miles
It was hot and I pushed fluids and electrolytes as far as I dared. I have almost two quarts to get me through the night and eight miles up the trail to a piped spring. I will need to "camel up" at the spring and pack four liters of water when I leave the spring.
At 8:30 pm I drank one of the remaining quarts I had and I walked back to Sheep Lake and picked up 1.75 quarts. I had hip flexors and other muscles trying to cramp. Now I can drink as much as I want during the night. Potential disaster averted. The trail ahead has few water sources. I'll need to monitor and manage fluid intake and how much water I carry with me from one source to the next. There are two springs I can "camel up."
Tues 8/6 Above Sheep Lake to small spring PCT mile: 2351.7 =25.7 miles
Left camp 5:00 am. A lot and I mean a lot of climbing. Three springs, piped spring eight miles from camp, then seven miles to Arch Spring (hard to get water), then ten miles to small spring. About eight people camped here including Bling and Wishful.
Both knees hurt like the dickens after coming out of the Goat Rocks. Left knee especially troublesome today. If knees don't improve, . . .
Talked a bit with Bling about Camino de Santiago.
Wed 8/7 Left the small spring campsites just before 5:00 am. The hiking went well until mid-afternoon. Then there was a long, steep downhill which used up my downhill gear. There were one to two nice campsites which I dared not look at. I wanted to put in a few more miles and make it to Stampede Pass. Only four miles to go but now my pack was heavy with four liters of water from a spring that was just below the trail.
Years ago, when Harold and I hiked this section I remember Stampede Pass had an outhouse and a parking area and several possible campsites. The PCT has been rerouted. No outhouse, no parking area--just a rocky, uninviting area with no true campsite. I looked and looked and finally settled on a sloping spot under a couple of trees. My campsite had a root in a bad spot, but I thought I could work around the root anyway.
Camp set up and dinner eaten and I was in the tent off my feet. Both knees ached and throbbed for hours. Clouds rolled in and I set up the rainfly at 2:00 am.
Thur 8/8 I left camp about 5:00 am as usual. After hiking four miles or so, I came onto two hikers, a middle-aged woman whose trail name was Ranger and a VietNamese man called Mr Clean. Mr Clean was in his early 50s, never married, and no children. Our hiking pace was compatible and they were okay with me hiking with them.
The day was overcast, foggy, and cool. The first fifteen miles went by pretty quickly. The last three miles dragged on and on with one steep, gnarly section after another.
Around 1:00 pm we finally dropped into the Snoqualmie Pass area. Mr Clean and Ranger went to check in at the Summit Inn. I walked to the Chevron station to get my resupply box. My name was not on the list. I assured the man that my box was there because Becky always has the boxes on time. I called Becky, and yes, indeed, my box arrived on Tuesday. Turns out my box was the only UPS box. All the other boxes were USPS.
Aardvark Express was the next destination--a food truck with an enclosed courtyard and picnic tables. I asked the hikers what was good. Hikers up and down the trail are talking about the curry. I ordered the curry and the man asked if I had just come from the PCT. I said, "Yes," and he handed me a Rainier Beer. I was stunned as I didn't know that Rainier was still being brewed. We called it "Vitamin R" in the old days due to the big red R on the can.
The curry came in a tall cardboard box: Parsley and veggies on top. You ate down to the rice and chicken curry. Man, it was good! But I was hungry enough to eat shoe leather.
Last stop was DruBru--a brew pub where I waited for Becky and two hikers that wanted to buy me a beer. I had camped with them the night before last.
Becky got there first. I walked Abby a bit, then it was time to go. I was sorry to leave before the two hikers showed up, but I was craving a shower and a bed, and time with Becky and Abby.
I'll do the math, but I hiked some 740 miles in 33 days (includes one zero and a nero day at home after White Pass). (A nero day is a Near Zero)
I met some people I'll long remember. The hiking ranged from easy to brutally hard (coming out of Goat Rocks with 80 mph winds). A part of me wanted to continue on to Canada, but my knees said, "No way, Jose." Northern Washington is full of eye candy but it is also steep and hard on the knees. I have no regrets.
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