Mile 2304.7 to mile 2327.8 (23.1 miles, 37 km)
I’m in no rush at the moment and slept in. I got going by 7am, one of my latest starts while tenting. I have a hotel room booked at Snoqualmie in four days time and thus have four days to cover the 85 miles or so. I could easily do it three days but I’ll take my time. I wanted to slow down through Washington and booking the room was part of the strategy. Now I four have leisurely days ahead with low mileage, well low mileage for me anyway. A lot of people are still doing 20 miles day and that’s perfectly fine, its still a big day, it’s just not my thing. I like to be moving most of the day.
I hate to keep describing the trail as I think it’s all starting to sound the same to the readers out there. It was easy going through the morning, passing lots of lakes and ponds. Condensation covered most of the trail side vegetation making for wet shoes and pants. It was cold. Colder than I’d experienced for a long time but a welcome change from the heat.
It was also another day for unexpected views. Just before lunch the trail ascended steeply up to a saddle and on approaching the top the mighty Mt Rainer filled the landscape. Huge glaciers clinging to the upper reaches of the mountain. This thing is huge. What a view.
Descending down again it was time for lunch by the shore of yet another lake. I keep taking photos of the lakes as they are beautiful but somehow I think they are all going to look the same on returning home and looking back through them. You’re probably sick of them too.
It was while eating another bland lunch of peanut butter tortillas I was thinking food is just fuel now. Eating the same garbage for months, it all tastes the same. Food is basically just fuel to keep the engine ticking over. A bar of this, nuts of that… It gets tossed into the mouth, chewed and swallowed. My diet is more of a diesel or unleaded diet, not Premium. A few more weeks I tell myself and fresh fruit and veggies galore it will be.
The afternoon was spent dodging day trippers and families ad I approached Chinook Pass. The pass is a main gateway to the Mt Rainer park and the PCT provides easy access into some of the lakes. I’ve said this a few times but it awesome to see so much use of the trail network and the amount of people out and about enjoying the outdoors.
Reaching the road I headed to the parking lot as I knew there were garbage cans in the toilets and I could get rid of my trash. I also though there was half a chance for some trail magic given the amount of people there. Sure enough Butters’ wife is setup near the trail with the usual beers and sodas plus these awesome caramel apple pies and cinnamon rolls. I had to ‘sample’ it all.
I met a couple here who were out as part of an organised effort to help search the area for 2016 missing PCT hiker Kris Fowler aka Sherpa. Sherpa went missing from the trail near here and hasn’t been seen since. Unfortunately they realise it’s probably more of a recovery mission now and can provide some closure for the family. These things happen. Life is short so get out there and do more epic shit. When it’s my time to go I want it to be doing something I love.
From Chinook Pass I had only 4 miles to go. I’ve found myself a nice little camp for one up high on a ridge with incredible views and full phone service so you get this blog live from the field.
Sadly, with cell service bad news can also come. I’ve learned that the PCT may be closed from Rainy Pass to the Canadian border due to fires. This is the final 70 miles to the border. It is still around 12 days before I reach there and fingers crossed the situation changes. If it doesn’t Rainy Pass will unfortunately be the end of the PCT for me, in the US anyway. If it does close I plan on hitching to Manning Park in Canada and day walking out to the monument and back. Of course it’s illegal to cross from the Canadian side into the US on the PCT so besides the monument I won’t be walking any distance into the US from Canada. 🤞