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