PCT Mile 2461
Leaving White Pass Village Inn was difficult. At least it wasn’t raining. The first day went fine and I camped after about 21 miles. The next day it rained, then hailed, then snowed, as I climbed and descended, climbed and descended. I got to a campsite after a hard day, but kept going another hour to get below snow line where I pitched my tent in saturated ground under dripping trees. It was a cold, uncomfortable night with condensation dripping off my single wall tent onto my down bag. I packed up and hiked in the rain to the Urich Cabin where I hung all my wet stuff to dry over the wood stove stoked by several south bound hikers. They told me about the abandoned weather station 27 miles north, which I reached the following day after another cold, windy, wet night. Creepy by myself, “U.S. Government No Trespassing,” signs on the unlocked doors. It took 2 hours but my stuff dried, then the rain stopped and I went on a few miles to camp on a long abandoned dirt road, a wonderful campsite. As it was getting dark, I heard a solitary animal yip once about a 1/4 mile away, a yip with a low throaty bark undertone. After a few seconds, the same voice yipping, no reply. A coyote? Fox? Wolf? After half an hour of this, it was completely dark and I yelled into the blackness, “Knock it off! I’m trying to sleep!” It didn’t work right away but eventually it turned into a beautiful completely quiet night.
My hiking buddy from Day 1 at Scout and Frodo’s up to Big Bear at mile 266, met me at the trailhead 5 miles before Snoqualmie with trail magic. Poppy brought donuts, chocolate milk and IPA. I have missed her company for so long, somehow we had found ourselves on the same general hiking program and had hiked in to Big Bear Hostel together where she woke up the next morning with a devastating infection in her foot and had to go home. We chatted while I ate donuts, then she took my pack and I slack packed the final miles to Snoqualmie. It was awesome to sleep in a bed, dry out everything thoroughly and catch up with hiker friends Captain ( who I’ve known since the desert), Rainbow, Splash, Risng Sun, Zackley, Rainbow, Trail Bride and Cope.
I hiked out in clear skies. The first night I got up to pee in the middle of the night and got quite a shock. Stars! The Big Dipper with just below, bands of white Aurora Borealis dancing from right to left. I camped the second night near a little creek and it didn’t rain. The third night was at high elevation and warm and I awoke to a beautiful view of Mt Baker (I think, our maps only show the narrow corridor the PCT travels through). Velcro camped next to me. The next day we caught up to Zackley and made it to Stevens Pass where trail angel, Chris, retired NPS, waited to give hikers rides to Skykomish and Baring.
I checked in to the Cascadia Inn and waited for my daughter Sarah to drive out from Seatle after work. What a lovely, well kept old railroad town with friendly, helpful locals! Sarah brought me the skookum gear I ordered: boots, new socks, waterproof mitts and an additional bag liner. Also she brought IPA and a mini van to shuttle hikers. Over the next day and a half she met or gave rides to Rising Sun, Velcro, Sodwinder, Not A Bear, The Doobie Brothers, Bender, Wall-eeand Snow White. It made me so happy to share a bit of trail life with Sarah! While I have been hiking, she has been busy bragging about me, recruiting trail magic and generally increasing PCT awareness. And toward the end of our visit, she calmly and quietly said, “I’m thinking about hiking the PCT in 2 years.”