Sunday October 7
Start: Mile 2624 [Washington Section L - Page 3]
End: Mile 2660 (Castle Creek) [Washington Section L - Page 9]
Today is a big day, I have to finish soon or I’ll miss my flight home. I take very short breaks and reach the monument at midnight.
Saturday October 6
Start: Mile 2602 [Washington Section L - Page 1]
End: Mile 2624 [Washington Section L - Page 3]
I’m beginning to feel the pressure to finish soon but decide to save my energy for tomorrow. I’ll need it.
Friday October 5, 2012
Start: Mile 2580 (High Bridge) [Washington Section K - Page 13]
End: Mile 2602 [Washington Section L - Page 1]
The hike, in itself quite boring becomes an interesting challenge when my right eyeglass falls from the frame. I can catch it before it disappears in the creek but I don’t seem to be able to get it back in. Now I can either go without, which means I won’t be able to read my maps or try with one eye. I attempt the latter. My brain tries to present some sort of cohesive picture to me, as of I could see sharp with both eyes, but in doing so messes up the depth perception. I end up with my face in the dirt.
At Rainy Pass I find a bag of granola. Theres a message written on the bag with a felt pen: “Trail magic. I read Wild”.
Thursday October 4, 2012
Start: Mile 2568
End: Mile 2580
I make good miles and manage to get to the ranger station on time for the 12:15 bus to Stehekin. The bakery, the only place where you can buy food is of course not in Stehekin, but two miles earlier. The bus stops for seven minutes. Just enough time to buy a croissant, pizza cinnamon rolls and some cookies, and to say hello to a large group of hikers. The post office has my box and there is a restaurant that serves a very mediocre burger. Then there is nothing to do but wait for the 5:30 bus back to the trail.
I am an idiot. In stead of looking at my paper maps, I follow the trail that my Garmin GPS shows. The map that I paid money for. STUPID! I should have used my free maps. Or Guthooks iPhone app. Or halfmile’s waypoints on said GPS. Just not Garmin’s maps. Fuck you Garmin, fuck you! It takes a few miles before I reach the sign that says unmaintained trail. And then I realize this is the old PCT, the one that is impossible unless your a goat or a rock climber and you enjoy hanging from a rock by one hand with a raging river below you. And I’m trying to night-hike this?! There’s nothing to do but turn back. I camp at an official site, I think its Turnwater Campground, and find the soil so hard that I can barely get my tent stakes in.
Wednesday October 3, 2012
Start: Mile 2544
End: Mile 2568
The beautiful old growth forest that I hike through in the morning makes way for a rather boring and long climb from 2400 to 6000 feet. Somehow I do better than yesterday. When I descend from the top I begin to realize how cold it is on the northern slopes. The creeks are beginning to ice over and the ground is frozen solid. The grass is white from the frozen dew. I stop when the trail vanishes and all I can see is a collapsed bridge. I’m sure it will be easy tomorrow morning. I’ll miss the 9 am bus from the high bridge ranger station to Stehekin of course. We’ll see if I can do the remaining 12 miles by 11.
Tuesday October 2
It dries quickly. It’s cold, icy winds. Mica lake is frozen. I descend 2500 feet and after lunch go up 2400 ft again. The trail is difficult. Overgrown, fallen trees everywhere, heavily eroded. The climb is steep and the switchbacks so tight it’s almost impossible to tell them apart on the map. After 2 1/2 hours it brings me back in the high alpine country. I make another descent and camp in the first flat spot I can find.
Monday October 1
A beautiful golden sunset. No oranges or reds but deep browns. I step in a creek and get my right foot wet. Natty hikes on after lunch. He’s faster than I am. It starts to rain. Not much, but enough to get the bushes and grass wet. I get soaked. Now both my feet are wet. I camp to dry out and try a trick I learned from a fellow PCT hiker: put your rain gear over your wet clothes and get in your sleeping bag and let the water vapor escape through the membrane and the bag. It works .
Sunday September 30
I run into Natty and we hike together for the rest of the day. We stop at Pear Lake to get water. It’s a place I’d like to come back to. There’s a lot of up and down, some of it fairly steep. It’s a work day, short breaks, trying to hike fast. We stop at 7:30. Its getting dark and we may not see another campsite for miles. We’re planning a bigger day tomorrow, see if we can do 30 miles. That means getting up early, and start hiking at 6am. We’ll see.
Friday September 28, 2012
Start: Mile 2470
End: Mile 2476
A few miles to Stevens Pass. The place is deserted. I get a ride from a surveyor fairly quickly. We get coffee in the baring store. I go to the Dinsmores. They have a large garage for hikers. Showers, laundry, movies, fresh fruit. Jerry makes burgers and someone makes cobbler for desert.