Days 131 to 137: Cispus Pass (Mi. 2267.1) to Steven's Pass (Mi. 2461.7)
Less than 200 miles until Canada!! What?! Currently writing this post in the Lodge at Steven's Pass. Steven's Pass is our second-to-last resupply, and our very last bit of cell service. This means the next time you'll hear from me I'll *hopefully* be a graduated PCT Thru-Hiker! Woa!!! The past few days have felt undeserved. From Goat Rocks Wilderness to the unmatched beauty of Northern Washington, this state is just showing off in so many ways. We've dodged fires, jumped in Lakes, crossed passes, and soaked up that Pacific Northwest mist. Life is good, and I can't imagine this ending.
Day 131: Cispus Pass-ish (Mi. 2267.1) to White Pass (Mi. 2292.4)
GOAT ROCKS WILDERNESS IS THE COOLEST. Seriously, we've heard about magic of Goat Rocks from SOBOs for days and have been giddy to get here. Besides from the occasional side trail, we really haven't had many vistas in Washington. Everything changed today.
The elevation change seemed like a non-issue, because I was googly-eyed the entire time. I caught up to Wasabi and Unger pretty early on in the day, which made the experience that much sweeter. And Wasabi's dad was there too!! He hiked in 20 miles the day before, and was hiking the 20 out back to the trailhead with our crew. Suuuuch a great guy!
Anyway. Goat Rocks. It's the coolest. Check out those photoz ^^.
Once we arrived at White Pass, we went to Wasabi's dad's friend's cabin. This was a perfect time to regroup, develop a plan for the fires surrounding the trail, and share some laughs over a homemade dinner. Thankful!!
Also, a package of food I sent myself didn't make it to the Pass, so all these hooligans pitched in food for me to make it to Snoqualmie. Thankful. 👍 Day 132: White Pass (Mi. 2292.4) ) to Bumping River (Mi. 2306.1)
Washington highlights: wild blueberries!!!! I can't get over them. Also, it's smoky. I think these fires are getting worse. 😪
Day 133: Bumping River (Mi. 2306.1) to Snoqualmie Pass (Mi. 2394.2)
Yeah, the fires definitely got worse.
Man, closures area bummer. We prepared to hike 15 miles today then skip around the closed 23 miles section, from Chinook Pass to Government Meadow. Unfortunately, when we rolled up to Chinook, that's when all plans went to 💩.
But let's back up- this morning was great! We hiked through our 6th (and second to last) National Park today!! Mt. Rainier!! Definitely a bummer it's so smoky, but it's aight. The trees were cool.
When we arrived to the trailhead after our short hike, the rangers were closing the road. Wasabi's dad was our designated shuttler (I told you, he's great), and began strapping 9 backpacks to the top of his Highlander. Before pushing off- the rangers delivered more bummer news- they closed the trail from White Pass (behind us) all the way to Snoqualmie Pass (70? miles ahead).
This is a major bummer (we hate closed trail), but feel like this is a good call, because the air quality is just miserable.
This also shifts around some plans. A few of us were planning on visiting Seattle for Thursday and Friday (I was going to see my good ol' pal and former boss, Mica)... buuut those plans are now scrapped. Boo.
Again, Wasabi's dad is a champ and delivered a large load of smelly hikers a few hours up the road to Snoqualmie. We made a quick pit stop for lunch, and kept cruising to the overwhelming scene at Snoqualmie Pass.
The fires compressed the slinky. A few days ago, we had a lot of the thru-hikers spread across 100+ miles of trail, but after a few new fires and a couple evacs, it looks like everyone and their mom is at the Chevron in Snoqualmie.
The gas station serves as the main resupply point in town, a place where you can both send packages (that's what I did) and buy supplemental snacks (something I also did). Because of this, the hikers in town solicit around the area, gorging on snacks and prepping for the next section of trail. Well, today there are probably 80 hikers around here. A muggle asked me if there was a convention in town.
It was so fun to see familiar faces- Otter and crew, Pandora and Freckles, Pacer, etc. etc. etc. It was an overwhelming reunion of sorts, but a weird realization that this might be one of the last times to see these folks. Tough tough. Day 134: Snoqualmie Pass (Mi. 2394.2) to Mi. 2412.4
Sloowwwwwin it down. 😍
Y'all. Today we only did 18.2 miles and it was a DREAM. I didn't leave camp until 8:05a, and that's a new record. I also took several naps and still made it to camp around 6:45 or 7:00p. What?? I feel like a day hiker!
While the mile # was smaller, the elevation was no joke. There really weren't any flat sections today, and the ups and downs were fairly steep and exposed. Also, real talk- I'm pretty dang tired of all this smoke. The wildfires are all over this section of Wilderness (the PCT is the only trail opened in this area), which makes for abstracted vistas and eye/throat irritation. We rolled into camp tonight with puffy eyes and headaches. Super healthy, yeah??
With our 20 mi/day average, we'll hit the Northern Terminus two weeks from today. Things just got real.
Also, 2400!!! The fact that this number exists blows my mind. Damn. Day 135: Mi. 2412.4 to Deer Lake (Mi. 2432.3)
Today a podcast made me cry. That was definitely a highlight for today, because DANG it makes me sad that people still don't have access to clean water. A basic human need, neglected. Woof it kills me.
Anyway, crying while climbing a mountain is a hilarious combo.
The second half of the day was spent with Olaf trying to catch Lady. Turns out, Lady had gotten behind us, and we were just chasing down miles.
We got to Deer Lake and decided to camp at 4:45!!! What?!!!! So fun. So Washington.
It's pretty chilly, but I think I'm going to go swim in the lake. Dang. If this lake were more easily accessible, it'd be bumpin. But it's just ours for today. We're undeserving!!!! 🙌 Day 136: Deer Lake (Mi. 2432.3) to Mig Lake (Mi. 2452.2)
If Northern Washington is just a series of lake hopping over scraggly peaks, I'm totally alright with this. Last night we camped at Deer Lake, this morning we passed Deep Lake, took a lunch break at Deception Lake, hiked around Glacier Lake, and camped at Mig Lake. Seriously, this is the best.
Also, guess what?! No smoke today! It was pretty baller. And though we were in clouds most of the day, the air quality was just so, so nice. Ohhhh fresh air. I love you.
You can tell that the end is nearing. We're all pretty emotional and somewhat sensitive right now. We're just a week and a half to the Canadian Border, and feelings are mixed. Some are super psyched to get to Canada ASAP and finish the race strong, while others of us want to take it slow, allowing time for debrief and day digestion. Either way, we're all feeling the feels.
Lady had a great comment about this earlier. She talked about how she's worried this will feel like a dream- a dimmer, distant memory. We've all agreed that we feel this way about the Sierra. We almost shrug it off as no big deal, in turn insulting ourselves and discrediting our abilities.
But there's no way to know what I'll be feeling a month from now. I could miss every fiber of the trail, or have given up hiking entirely 😉. So for now, I'll just soak up as much as I can to make the memories deeper.
Tonight we're camped at Mig Lake after a pretty high elevation day. We were in a cloud for a lot of today, so tents are up and we're all pretty tight to each other. The tent site is plennnnnty large to spread apart, but. This is family. We stick close. Day 137: Mig Lake (Mi. 2452.2) to Steven's Pass (Mi. 2461.7)
I love Washington I love Washington I love Washington I love Washington!!!!
Last night in rained a good bit, and our tents danced in the wind. A few months ago, the *flap! flap! flap!* of the crying tent would've kept me up all night. But now? It's just part of the soundtrack of thru-hiking.
This morning I woke up and lived what most people *probably* think what thru-hiking is like. I woke up to a misty, beautiful spot on a lake. Climbing out of my tent, I walked a few steps and collected water from the lake. I quickly returned to my sleeping bag, made coffee, edited photos, and read Harry Potter. We didn't leave camp until 8:00. Ha!!! What a dream!!
This morning included a super easy 7.4 miles through misty, pretty chilly mountains. We arrived to Steven's Pass Ski Lodge around 10:30a and have been hanging around all day!! I've pretty much just been prepping the blog and contacting the fam- I can't believe this is our last bit of service until we finish!! Dang!!
Here in a few we'll ride over to Wasabi's parent's house in Wenatchee, WA to rest up, do laundry, resupply, and get on our game face for the next 185? miles. Wooooooooooboy let's do it!!!!! I can't wait!!
PS- I ordered a pool float for all the lakes we've been hitting. It *should* be waiting in Wenatchee. Cross your fingers.