We hiked a short day, then picked it up over the next four days. This stretch was in good shape, few blowdowns, hardly any scree slopes and the tread was relatively flat and groomed.
We stopped to visit the abandoned weather station on the second day. Inside there are data sheets on the kitchen counter dated 1960. Archaeology in the making! I imagine there are a bunch of obsolete weather stations scattered around like this one. Are they on the National Historic Register? The White Alice stations in Alaska have been “preserved” by photography, so the buildings can be repurposed or torn down or whatever. Anyway, last year I stopped in and spent two hours drying all my wet gear out. This year I just wanted to relive the creepiness, but it was less weird because I had Jackie with me.
The third day we stopped by the Urich cabin thinking we might camp in the area so we could cook inside out of the rain but the outhouse smell was penetrating so we hiked on and pitched our tents a bit down a stock trail. It was peaceful and quiet in the rain. I saw Throbbing Thrillhammer, Dan, heading north. The last time we met, we camped just south of Chester about a quarter mile after I’d seen a bear and I invited him to help me scare it off if it came by camp. No bear. In fact, he has still not seen a bear on the PCT. I told him he’d find a bear north of Stehekin. Fingers crossed.
The PCT between Snoqualmie and White Pass is glorious, even in the rain. The trail follows the ridges, crossing from one side to another, in relatively gentle traverses. At one point I rounded a corner and looked down at ski lifts and groomers. Having a momentary blip of cell service I posted a photo on Facebook asking my snowboard and ski friends where I was. Almost instantly Tarcey and Kiana told me it was Crystal Mountain. Yup, another stop on the winter snowboard PCT tour.
After a lovely switchback up the pass before Sheep Lake, on the descent, Jackie rolled her ankle for the second time this hike. She made the difficult decision to hike the 30 miles left to White Pass and seek medical attention back home.
And then there were two. When you live and hike for days and weeks in the wilderness, your character, your personality, your essential qualities glow. We are really going to miss Jackie on the trai!, but we know where she lives! Jackie has hiked all of the PCT in Oregon except for a tiny section. One of her observations is that she expected the trail to be like Oregon. But like I discovered last year crossing the Columbia River into Washington, everything changes, the country is completely different than Oregon: steep ups and downs, different construction techniques, longer stretches between civilized outposts.
We have seen more NOBOs the last couple of days but I still think the herd is south of us and many will stop in Cascade Locks and enjoy PCT Days coming up in a week or so.
I have always sucked at taking photos, just ask my kids why they have so few baby photos, but Puff Puff is great at it and her blog is stellar, detailed and daily with excellent visuals. Check it out at masonalexandra.com