PCT WA Section I PCT WA Section J

Oct. 2: White Pass

It was basically all downhill the last eight miles to White Pass, and I started out early enough to make it to the road a little after 10am, which is to say, just a bit after 6am.

The previous night, after I had gotten snug in my sleeping bag, two men had come by, yelling at each other. I think they wound up sleeping near the lake too because I saw a headlamp in the woods as I began my hike.

I spooked an elk cow walking down the trail ahead of me just after dawn. She stared back at me until I tried to pull out my phone, then darted into the woods before I could get a video.

The trail passed lake after lake and write a number of early hikers. I stopped often for pictures but never for snacks. There was real food waiting at the Kracker Barrel store.

I arrived at the store at the same time as three northbound section hikers ending their hikes. They informed me the section ahead of me was nice and clear. They stuck around basically the whole time I was there waiting for their ride to pick them up.

While at the store for the next five hours, I

  • Got a shower
  • Got my laundry done
  • Picked up a full resupply and packed it
  • Bought a number of treats, like chicken fingers, homemade cake, root beer, beer, and a Mountain Dew Kickstart.
  • Charged my phone and battery
  • Uploaded a blog post
  • Wrote a Quora answer or two
  • Downloaded some podcasts
  • Called home
  • Let Jordan know I would be arriving in a week exactly (spoilers!)
  • Received a bag of perfectly tart and sweet yellow apples for free

I hiked out a little bit after 3pm. When it seemed like it was getting a bit late, and, more importantly, I didn’t feel like hiking anymore, I took a promising looking unmarked side trail a half mile to a campsite on the shore of Hell Lake. It was a beautiful little spot with a view and I had it all to myself.

Well, myself and three very bold and persistent camp robbers, that is. I probably shouldn’t have tossed one of them an apple core.

Total distance: 13.5 miles

Trail progress: 12 miles

Snow Lake at the earliest morning light
Proof that I literally scared the piss out of an elk cow
Evidence of a crime: no camping or campfires are allowed within 100′ of a body of water in Rainier NP
A trailside bench for hikers to autograph

PCT WA Section J

Sep. 19: Blueberry is a liar

It’s time to lay to rest the little mystery raised by yesterday’s post. If you look closely, you might be able to spot the subtle clues I’ve placed throughout this post to reveal the answer. Blueberry is a liar.

PCT WA Section J

Sep. 18: Shoe failure, rain incoming, the beginning of a mystery

Let’s start with the shoe failure. Something in my left shoe, the one that had started to fall apart from within a week of purchasing it in Mammoth Lakes, was bending in to poke my fourth toe with every step. Before putting my shoes on that morning, I wrapped that toe with a bandage and tape and put tape over the painful protuberance in my shoe. This strategy only worked for a few miles before I had to resort to walking with my left toes curled.

PCT WA Section J

Sep. 17: A lot of water

I had arranged to camp at the bottom of a climb as I prefer to do. I also made no effort to get up early to begin said climb. By this time, I had a certain set date to arrive at Snoqualmie Pass and it was going to be useless to arrive any sooner than that date–indeed, to even arrive early on that date–so I had no reason to wake up before the sun.

But I did wake up shortly after it and got some views of it rising as seen through the haze of the smoke from distant fires.

PCT WA Section J

Sep. 16: Piper Pass and the Cascading Stream

After a beautiful lakeside morning, I began a long gentle 4 mile climb to a pass, where I chatted with a couple with a good dog.

Then it was downhill for 2 miles before beginning the climb up to Piper Pass. Less than a mile into this climb, I passed Glacier Lake, where I had been considering eating lunch, but I did not make the turnoff to go down to its edge. I had eaten on the edge of a lake enough times that I wanted to eat in a spot with a view overlooking a lake. Guthook comments for the tentsite a quarter mile ahead promised views.

PCT WA Section J

Sep. 15: Leaving Leavenworth

This is the first of the posts using the new one-day-per-post format. If you missed the previous post, all you need to know is that these are coming out once per day at 3pm eastern from now on.

First things first, I packed up my camp site. I had been up so late making sure things were in order, this didn’t take long.