Mile 2327.8 to mile 2354.2 (26.4 miles, 42.5 km)
Not far into walking this morning I came across Butters just packed and about ready to hit the trail. I met him yesterday at Chinook Pass where his wife was offering some amazing home made trail magic. We walked and talked for a while, which is always good when you’re solo, and ended up leap frogging each other all day, meeting up at water sources and on breaks.
I also came across a couple of hunters up high on a ridge, binoculars scanning for elk in the valley below. Tell you what, good luck to them but I sure as hell would not want to be carrying an animal out of this place. The climbs are killers.
The trail lead into the Norse Peak fire area, another massive burn area. This one closed the PCT last year. It is open now but has a huge amount of timber fallen across the trail. It took about 5 hours to walk through the blackened and charred timbers.
Fresh springs would be my water sources for the morning and taking water from them is always a treat. Cold and refreshing for sure. I caught up with Butters again at such a spring, dumping my water that I carted up from the lake yesterday and taking a well earned break. I was dubious about the lake water I had as there were at least 50 day walkers playing on its shores, swimming and who knows else what when I had to fill my bottles. Great to have clear spring water stocked up.
I wasn’t a great day today. Heavy smoke continues to fill the skies and choke the lungs, making steep ascents difficult and offering no views what so ever. You can barely make out the next ridge line through the grey.
And this, in combination with the possible closure from Rainy Pass, got me into a negative head space. I kept questioning, asking myself what are you doing? You can’t see any of this gorgeous country due to smoke and the border is closed. Wouldn’t it be better to call it quits and come back to Washington in better conditions next year?
I could but who’s to say the same thing won’t happen again. No, I’m pressing on and completing as much of the trail as I can and will definitely return to Washington another time anyway.
I think I’m persisting out sheer stubbornness now to be honest. I want to get this thing done. With only around 12 days of hiking left it is so close to the end. I can’t pull up stumps and call it a day just yet.
Very few photos today sorry – mainly due to the smoke.