We sleep well and are up early to do our laundry. The bus comes at 11 so we have time to eat and wash our clothes. When we get to the laundry room, it is filled with laundry and baskets of dirty clothes. We think that perhaps we may be taking our dirty clothes with us. Then the owner of all this clothes appears. It is an older women who is doing a short road trip and decided to bring all her laundry from home. It is a nice gesture when she lets us use one of the machines when her first load is done. Our clothes are clean, our feet are sore, but just need to pack and walk to the bus stop. We were warned to be on time. The bus pulls in right at 11, and leaves within 5 minutes. It is a 4 hour ride to Vancouver. The rain starts falling and the visibility is limited. We are glad that we hiked the whole way yesterday. When we get to the bus station, we learn the train is leaving for Seattle in 2 hours. The train to Portland leaves the next morning so we think we will just crash at the Seattle train station. We buy the tickets and soon are on our way. For awhile there is enough light to see, but soon it is dark and just the lights of buildings are visible. The train stops at the border and the border guard checks our passports. Soon the train is on its way to Seattle. When we arrive at Seattle, we see the sign on the door saying the station closes at 11. So much for the idea of crashing here for the night. We ask the security guard for advice and he said all the hotels in this vicinity are quite expensive. Then he said just go across the street and take the light rail to the airport where hotels are quite reasonable. We take his advice and soon are on our way. The light rail is not too crowded until a stop for the Mariner's Baseball Stadium. A baseball game just ended and our car is soon filled to standing room only. The next stop is for parking areas and the car quickly empties. Our stop is the last one and we are soon looking for a hotel.The security guard had given us good advice; we sleep well. Tomorrow we will be on our way to Portland and our journey of the WA section of the PCT will be complete.
WA PCT 2015
We awoke early to a chilly morning. This most likely is going to be the day we see the PCT monument. A series of ups and downs again finds us passing through beautiful terrain, The weather cooperates and when dawn turns to morning, the skies are blue. We have had cold mornings and rainy days, but no snow has fallen during this month. Some of the hikers that had been thru this area earlier had hiked in a snowstorm. Several hikers going south after having reached the border but not going into Canada pass us and we give them much deserved congratulations. It was fun to see a sign pointing to the US border. One cannot start the hike in Canada, but one can finish the hike in Canada as long as you have gotten the permit ahead of time. The last eight miles of hiking to the border is a gentle down hill. We move at a steady pace. We notice a swath in the tress that has been cut out and wonder if that designates the border. Then there it is, the monument marking the end of the PCT. Whatever (his trail name) is there waiting for Topper. We look thru the ledger and read off the names of the people we have met. Many have left comments. It is a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that our lives intertwined with some of them this month. We take the obligatory photo, and place the ledger back after adding our names to the list. We also eat our celebratory piece of chocolate. Some hikers bring champagne but our chocolate is good enough for us. Now we have a decision to make. It is 4 o'clock and it is an eight mile hike to the road. We have just hiked 22 so that would put us at 30. We think we can do it and head past the Welcome to Canada sign which now gives us the distance in kilometers. The trail is not as well maintained and our pace slows. We question if we have made the right decision, but we are committed to get to the road. We keep thinking that the parking lot should be close. The trail becomes a steep abandoned logging road. It is beginning to get dark. Finally, we see the word Hooray made out of rocks on the ground. A nearby sign points to the trailhead. By this time our feet have gotten sore and we are hoping the end is near. However, the trail keeps going and we need to get out our headlamps. After reaching the road, we ask the driver in a passing car the way to the lodge at Manning Park. He says it is less than a mile. It is now quite dark and a sign warns of us bear in the area. Fortunately we see the lights of the lodge and soon are registering for a room. Tired and dirty we soak in the bathtub and eat a well deserved ice cream bar.
Mileage hiked 30-Manning Park Lodge
The nights are coming earlier as October soon approaches. It is harder and slower to hike in the dark. We figure that in order for us to increase our mileage, we would have to hike more in the dark. That probably is not going to happen. We were in bed by 6:30 so I was glad when the watch said 5. We were on the trail a little after 6. We passed one tent and then nestled between a couple of trees was Topper. She likes to cowboy camp and usually in a spot where no one else has camped. Unused spots keep the little critters out of your food. Our first big pass of the day was Grasshopper, over a 2500 ft. climb We took our packs off at the top and had a snack. This last part of the trail is in the Pasaden Wilderness Area. Beautiful! There are still some small glaciers left on the top of the mountains. As we round the corner we can see the trail going along the ridge on both sides of the valley. Looking at the big picture, we think this is going to take forever, but then as we just start walking we look back and are amazed at how far we have come. Topper catches up with us and it is fun to catch up with her, since we last saw her. Donna hikes with her for several hours and she shares some of her experiences while in the army and about her family. She is not ready to be done with the hike and wishes she could keep going. At Hart’s Pass we meet Gertrude who had hiked from Rainy Pass. She was an older women who was carrying several bags and wearing a heavy backpack. She spoke in broken English and wanted to know if there was a bus here. We informed her that there was not, but there were a lot of day hikers in the area and if she continued down the road she would come to a parking lot. Most likely she could get a ride with one of them. We were amazed that she had gotten that far. Later we talked to Siren who had helped carry some of her gear. The data book warned us of a dry stretch so we filled up with water and then a little while later when we ran into a south bounder, we were informed that the data book was inaccurate. There were several streams running near the trail. It was becoming a long day so we decided to break up the hike a bit and have an early dinner before hiking some more. We ate one of Jeff’s meals that he had cooked for us and we had dried. We have rationed our chocolate to last and since we are most likely going to get out tomorrow, we have an extra piece to eat. We have met several hikers who are bittersweet about ending this hike. A lot of friendships have been formed over the months. We are also starting to meet hikers that have made it to the border and are hiking back to Hart’s Pass. One needs a permit and passport to hike into Canada, . Since we had already eaten dinner we hiked later in the day. This is one of the few days that we are passing hikers that have already set up camp for the night. We find a spot in a meadow and watch the moon rise before getting into the tent. This has been one of the longest mileage days of the month.
Mileage hiked 25 miles
We were up at 5, had breakfast and started hiking. The moon was bright and with our headlamps the trail was easy to see. Before we got to Rainy Pass, a trail angel had left a box of trail magic with a congratulation note on top. Inside were some delicious apples. We shared one and headed to the pass. The trail changed dramatically once we crossed the road. We headed up over Cutthroat Pass and hiked mostly above tree line. Yellow tamarack trees filled up the landscape. There were beautiful views in every direction. Mostly day hikers were out enjoying the day. We only say one thru hiker. We decided to call it a day at Will’s camp. There was a nice stream and a flat spot for the tent. Hard to believe there are only 60 miles of trail left. Don found our trail mascot today at camp. It was a tiny figurine of an angel.
Mileage 23- Will’s Camp
It was another leisurely morning as we had to wait once again for the post office to open. We shared a cinnamon roll and blueberry pie for breakfast from the bakery and Don got a free cup of coffee from the Inn. Good way to start the morning. The sun was shining and Lake Chelan calm. A merganser was swimming near the picnic tables while we waited to get our boxes. One of the park rangers recognized Don. For most of the year he works as a climbing ranger in Denali National Park and had worked for NOLS in the past. We repacked our food bags and caught the 11:30 bus. The bus always stops at the bakery so we were able to buy some baked goods for the hike today. A delicious frosted carrot cup cake to be exact. Don got another cup of cafe and off we went to the trail head. We finished the cupcake and cleansed our teeth with a crisp apple that we had picked yesterday. We will be going mostly up for 17 miles until we are at Rainy Pass. Since we are hiking in the Cascades National Park we had to designate where we are camping for the night. Not many views in this section today, mostly forests. We camped at 6 mile camp and did our first bear hang of the trip. There was a bear wire which made it mostly easy to do the hang. Dinner tonight was lentils and rice, roasted pepper soup, chocolate and fruit compote. To bed by 7:15 and we took turns reading the Wright Brothers.
Mileage 11 - 6 mile camp
It is our first true zero day, but we ended up walking 6 miles anyway. We had a relaxing breakfast in bed and finished reading Still Alice. Clark Kent, Switchfoot and Siren were at the lodge. They are leaving today so we will not see them on the trail again. Don talked to an older gent (80) and his son who were up to do an annual fishing trip. Today.they were off to explore the area in a Jeep. We picked up our permit to hike in the Cascades National Park and were impressed by the beautifully renovated building that was the park headquarters. We headed to the laundry and were able to take showers and do laundry. Once again we managed to beat the rush that came later. Life is good and even more so when everything is clean. The bakery has gotten rave reviews so we took the 11:35 shuttle and headed there. We were not disappointed, the lunch and sweets beat our expectations. It was fun to see the thru hikers load up on the baked goods. In fact, they had many very highly ladened calorie goods that were made mostly for the hikers. They also had a day old shelf of goodies. We selected a few of them and wished that we had gotten more. The blueberry pie was superb. The Dad and son stopped in the bakery and told us that they had come upon an Apple Orchard, part of the Park, that they would highly recommend. The apples were free to pick. That sounded too good to be true as fresh fruit at this point in the hike was highly desirable. So began our walk, a casual walk with very light loads. In about a mile, there was a sign pointing to the Butler Orchard. A park employee was working there and gave us the scoop on the orchard. It had been bought and is maintained by the National Park. The trees surrounded by a fence were just waiting for us to pick a beautiful ripened piece of fruit. We went thru the gate which keeps the bears out, but is low enough for the deer to jump and eat the apples that have fallen on the ground. Not in any hurry today and with the sun shining we ate several variety of apples as well as picked some for the next day's hike. There was no shuttle service for several hours so we retraced our steps and by the time we got back to our tent, we had walked about 6 miles. On the way back we took a tour of the school which currently has 8 students. The teacher who had taught there for 35 years is retiring after this year. A new school was built last year and was quite the upgrade from the older school. The lodge restaurant was open and there was quite a gathering of hikers eating dinner. We joined them and ate meatloaf wrapped in bacon, mash potatoes and green beans. Needless to say we waddled back to the tent. A whole new set of hikers is in the campground, all with the same goal of getting to Canada. Bobcat and Yellowtail are camped next to us. Cobain, Dragonfly and Geisha are also leaving tomorrow.
Mileage 6 non pack miles-stekekin
Awoke to frost on our tent, and a clear blue sky. We had breakfast and headed down the trail. Knowing that we were going to spend a day and half in Stekekin allowed us to take a leisurely pace. Coming upon an open area, we decided that we might as well dry all our gear. Out it comes and we settle down for a long break. Big Fish and Firecracker are on the move followed shortly by Stargazer. He fills us in on his travels since we last saw him over a week ago. He is on target to finish and he is ready. He gives the analogy of the PCT being the stage and the hikers the actors. The audience is all the folks that read the blog. We have to agree.The trees are in full fall colors and are plentiful along the trail. The trail has taken advantage of some huge trees that have fallen across Agnes River. Agnes River is quite scenic and we are glad that the trail follows it for quite a ways. This section of trail is reminiscent of New Zealand, especially when we crossed High Bridge. The river was a deep blue color. At the trail head we checked out the options for camping and had dinner. The shuttle bus to the town of Stekekin would arrive at 6. We opted to take the red National Park Service Bus. When it arrived out came Pongo, Shade, Chia Pet, Slug and Pop Tart. It was fun to see them again. We had fallen behind them when we helped out with the helicopter evac. They were pumped to start hiking and get to Canada. When the bus took us into the small town, we were shown where to camp. We set up our tent next to Stargazer. It was dark and the stores were closed so we opted to turn in and read. Later that night we heard someone setting up their tent next to ours. It was the same person, Firecracker ( we met two Firecrackers this month), that had camped next to us several weeks ago. Same as last time she had set up her tent up next to ours in the dark.
Mileage hiked 10-Stekekin
We have a short up hill before a very long down hill to the Suiatle River. It is a cold, wet day with lots of fallen trees to make our way over, under and around. So far this has been the worst maintained section of trail. At one point the trail was rerouted due to a washout and another because of a damaged bridge. On a muddy section, Donna managed to do a flip off the trail and not get hurt, just a little muddy. Don got very cold and his hands did not want to function properly. We wish we would have had some waterproof gloves. Donna made a skirt from a plastic bag to wear over her rain pants which no long had much protection in the rear. One very large tree had minimal clearance underneath, but was impossible to climb over. It felt like we were back into caveing mode going underneath it. Once we got down to the river corridor we were treated to a very nicely maintained path. It passed thru some amazing old growth forest trees. We stopped for lunch under one of them and felt honored to be in its presence. Not a long lunch though as we soon got cold from sitting. Finally the bridge across the river appeared. It was recently completed for which we were thankful. Crossing the river with all the rain we had would not have been possible. Having spent all morning going downhill, it was time to readjust and head up hill. So going at a controlled pace we headed upward. When we were high the valleys below were completely obscured by fog and mist. We found a designated campsite in a boulder field. If there had not been a fire ring there I am not sure we would have recognized it. There was water near by and it will work. After we had gone to bed another couple, Big Fish and Firecracker, showed up with their head lamps on. They had hiked the AT (Appalachian Trail) before and were excited add the PCT to their accomplishments. They wanted to get to the trail head tomorrow so had put in a very long day.
Mileage Hiked 25 miles
We are up at our usual time, but need to wait for the arrival of the helicopter. So we stay in our bags and read some. About 7 we have breakfast and pack up our gear. Mustang and Siren are also mostly packed. The weather looks good. We listen intently for the sound of rotors and finally about 8:30 we hear and then see them. We make our site selection known and then move away in preparation for them to land. When the first rescuer jumped out, he had been prepared to have been lowered. We think that this was one of the few places that the helicopter could have landed. Within 10 minutes of landing they are off and we are left to continue hiking around 9. It is a steep up to Fire Creek Pass and then down to Mica Lake which is know for its Turquoise color. Twisted Hair and Cheesemeiser join us there. They had hiked most of the PCT last year, but had to quit when Twisted Hair got injured. They returned to hike WA. She took a nasty fall a couple of days ago and was nursing a very sore elbow, It is now a long downhill to Milk Creek and an even longer up hill to Vista pass. The subdued colors of fall surround us. The rain is with us again, there is no advantage of going far today as we can't get our resupply until Monday, when the post office opens in Stekekin. We camp in a glaciated valley with lots of steams around us.
Mileage 12 miles
It is going to be an on the move day! It was a very cold morning when we awoke. The ground was frozen hard and there was ice on the tent. We ate a hot breakfast and had our hot drink. We have gotten into a routine of I (Donna) getting up packing up my gear and then making breakfast while Don packs his gear and takes down the tent. This seems to be the most efficient way of getting the morning tasks done. We were ready to start hiking around 6:10. The days are becoming shorter so we want to maximize the daylight hours. As the day brightens the skies remain blue and clear. Around 8 we pass our hiker friends as they are just starting to make breakfast. We are moving well, as we negotiate the passes and valleys. At one point Donna looks up to see a large deer bounding down the hill, it leaps over the trail just in front of her. Not sure if it could have avoided her had she been in its way. Each high point gives us views of the rugged landscape, including glaciers. We are impressed with the landscape. We just do a stream crossing when we meet a young women called Mustang. It is obvious that she is injured. She is moving, but barely. We ask her to tell us what the injury is. It is her knees which are quite painful. She was hiking this section with another group, but after trying to walk with them, she could not keep up and it was shorter to return to the original trailhead. The problem was it was 30 miles over difficult terrain. By the time we had her take her pack off and talk options, other hikers started congregating. One was Doc who is a physical therapist. He checked her knees out and it was his opinion that she should opt to get a helicopter. We carried a satellite phone. After a few failed attempts to get a phone number for local search and rescue, we called 911. They were able to connect us to the rescue center and Don gave them the info. They were relieved that this was not a life or death situation. Weather permitting they would plan on being here in the morning. We were fortunate to have a landing spot nearby. Siren stayed with Mustang while the others left. Our long day was cut short, but we were glad that we could help. We have now been reading Still Alice. We were able to read a lot tonight.
Mileage 14 miles Near Fire Creek
We left camp by 6:10 with our headlamps on. We are keeping a good pace, short breaks and just keep moving. We are into the hiking rhythm of a long distance hiker.The trail is either up or down, not much flat walking at all. Our hiker friends caught up to us by noon. This has become the usual pattern, we pass by their tents when they are asleep and then when we are taking a break here they come. The data book warned of a dry section so we loaded up with water at Camp May. We felt the additional weight. We started looking for camp and figured that we would have to dry camp. As we were setting up our tent we heard the sound of water near by. Oh well, better to have carried the water than wishing we had water. A beautiful camp site tonight near Ward Pass. We have views in many directions. The moon is out and the stars are bright. It is going to be a cold night.
Mileage Hiked 20 miles- Near Ward Pass
We could not get our food boxes until the post office opens at 11:30 so going with the flow, we enjoyed the morning. We walked around town, saw a small house that had architecture we really liked. Tried to figure out what folks living in this town did. Buying food here was difficult. There was only one deli that sold food. It was quite foggy this morning so the delay in our departure was fine. It cleared later in the day. We checked several times to see if the post master might open early. There were rumors that she sometimes did, but that did not happen. As hikers gathered at the Post Office she opened up as scheduled. It was fun to talk to some hikers we had met on the trail as well as new ones. We met Cat in the Hat from Australia who was getting his boxes. He was making a video about the hike using a Dr. Seuss theme. He filmed Don and I for a short segment . We got our boxes and headed back to the Inn to organize our food. We found food in the hikers boxes for lunch and headed out to the highway to try our luck at hitching. Several cars passed us by and we thought that this could be a long day. There was a vehicle parked near the highway that was pulling a trailer loaded with 2 North Canoes. The driver, Zander, had stopped to get some food at the deli. He saw us standing there and said I can give you a lift. Great! He was on his way to take part in a celebration for the removing of a dam from the Snake River. Zander left us at the trailhead and we saw Switchfoot and Siren on their way to get some ice cream. We walked to the start of the trail with Clark Kent. This next section is the longest stretch of trail with no road access. It is also known for its large amount of elevation gain and loss. Our bodies are feeling strong, we are looking forward to this hike. The trail starts out mellow and we stop at Janus Lake. An older couple with their dog is already camped there. They came over to visit and tell us their story. They were our age and had planned to hike the entire PCT starting in March. Two weeks before the start of the trip he came down with an illness that left him in the hospital for 2 months. Needless to say their hiking plan did not stand. In fact several times the family was called in to say good bye. They called themselves Grateful and Faithful. They were quite thankful to be doing short hiking sections in WA. Other folks at this site tonight are Doc and Turkey, and Sky Eyes whose Dad from New Hampshire has joined with him to do the last 2 weeks of the trip. This has been our most full campsite since we camped at Blue Lake. The temperature is dropping, a cold night awaits us.
Mileage hiked 9 miles-Janus Lake
Rained all night! We stayed dry! Only 4 miles to Stevens Pass! Little did we know that there was going to be a lot of up and down. Guess we should have expected that as that seems to be the norm for the trail. It was a 16 mile hitch to town. After we used the bathroom we had planned to try our luck in getting a ride. As we were getting ready to put our packs on a man pulled up and asked us if we had been hiking the PCT. When we said yes, he said that he had just dropped his sister and nephew off to do the section we had just completed. We asked him if perhaps he could give us a ride. He said normally he does not give rides, but offered to take us to town. Thank you! He even offered Don some smoked salmon that he had made. The driver dropped us off at the Inn and we met Henry, the owner. He gave us a tour of the Inn and said he would try to get our room ready as soon as possible. By 12:30 we were in the room, cleaning, charging our electronics and organizing. We felt fortunate in be inside as the rain was pounding down outside. Great hiker boxes here. We scored some great items. Chug and Bird were here. After numerous tests on his knee, there was no definite diagnosis, so the recommended treatment was rest. He is heading to Seattle, while Bird continues to hike on. She hopes to meet him in Stekekin. Did a tour of the town. did laundry and checked out the location of the post office. Tried the Pizza special and peach cobbler at the restaurant. In bed by 9…clean and ready for the next section.
Mileage hiked 4-Cascadia Inn
The rain started falling during the night. Seems like the rainy days are winning. There are clouds and fog, but we get plenty of beautiful views. The leaves are quite magical in all their color schemes. The best bird sighting today was of a family of young grouse, They were quite involved with eating and approached quite near. It was interesting to see the different feather patterns of the males and females. There was only one thru hiker that passed us today, Hannah Solo from Wyoming. She was nursing a sore calf and was slow on the uphill. A lot of day hikers were out on the trail today. It was somewhat surprising as the weather was not very nice. Got to Lake Susan Jane, our destination about 3. The rain came in waves so we were able to get our tent set up in a lull.. Took a nap, and finished reading the Martian. Glad that he made it back to earth. Dinner was cheese and Tortilla Soup. We are looking forward to getting showers tomorrow.
Mileage hiked 15 mlles-Lake Susan Jane
Another breakfast in the dark and on the trail by 6:30. Not quite so steep today. In fact, we even had some flat sections. An interesting animal sighting was a doe and her fawn.The fawn kept staring at us, as if it was trying to determine how cautious it should be. Finally it went over to its mom, touched her nose and off they went. We took a couple longer breaks today. One was to make some warm food, the other was to dry out our gear. There was a warning about a dangerous log crossing on the trail. Due to the low water level and time of year we crossed quite easily. So far we have not gotten our feet wet by wading, just by the rain. Overall our bodies are feeling stronger. Our next resupply is in Skykomish. Our plan is to get there on Sunday and pick up the boxes on Monday. With this in mind we decide to stop earlier today at Deception Lake. We make a call from a high ridge and are able to reserve a room for Sunday night at Cascadia Inn. We had just finished setting up our tent when we hear a helicopter. It begins to circle our camp and the pilot motions for Don to head over to the lake. Turns out that Bird and Chug were in another tent close by. They had set off a Spot (an emergency signaling device) after Chug was unable to walk after a knee froze up. The helicopter thought that we had set it off. We helped Chug to the helicopter then quickly packed up their Gear as they were coming back in about 15 minutes to get Bird. After the helicopter left the rain began. A narrow weather window allowed for successful flights to get them both out.
Mileage Hiked 17 miles-Deception Lake
We get up for an early breakfast. It rained during the night, but stopped by morning. We worked our way back to the trail and began a series of up and down, up and down. The rain was our partner today. The Frog Toggs rain gear seems to be working just fine. Mine has turned into chaps. We are impressed with their light weight, breathability and they are mostly waterproof. Wouldn't want to do much off trail hiking with them. Don was cold today, as long as I was moving I was able to stay warm. When we did take breaks, they were short. A marked campsite on the map led us to Spade Creek. A large tree provided us with some shelter to cook our meal in a somewhat dry manner. We were entertained during dinner by a small brown bird with behavior like a Thrasher. Early to bed with a little reading. We are still enjoying reading out loud to each other. Some nights we read quite a bit, other nights it can be difficult to read more than a page or two.
Mileage hiked 20 miles- Spade Creek
It was a short walk down to the trailhead on the highway. We even walked under the interstate and listened to the cars speeding along. Glad that we were going to be going at a whole different pace. Several hikers were still in their tent at the trail head. We would be meeting them as they passed us later in the day. This next section is known for its beauty and ruggedness. We were not disappointed by the views and continuing to keep a steady pace works for us. The rain did not fall as predicted and the fall colors made for a great contrast to the mountains. There was a section of trail called Kendalls Catwalk. Horse riders were advised to walk their horses thru this section as a step near the edge could be fatal. At one point we heard a jet in the distance and then saw a military jet flying below us thru the valley at a high speed. Not sure if this was even legal. This is a popular day hike area, as well as a short section hike. One couple we met was out for the day. He had hiked this section several years ago and wanted to share it with a friend. This area had been one of his favorites. We also met a man heading southbound. He was just out for the week. After the customary questions, we learned that he had lived in Alaska. With a little more inquiry, we discovered that he was Elvis of Mt. Marathon fame. His trail name is ICAR (Crazy Alaskan runner). Other hikers that we pass and then are passed are Pongo, Shade, Pop Tart, Slug and Chia Pet. They have been traveling as a group. Slug had met Jeff when he was picking people up on the road walking around the fire Trail closure. This is a beautiful section especially with the weather we are having. It was a half mile hike to a camp near Lake Spectacle. Usually we do not go off trail to camp, but this lake was calling us to share its beauty. When we arrived there was another person camping across a small finger of the lake. He said I think that we have found heaven.
Mileage Hiked 18 miles- Spectacle Lake
We were hiking down thru the ski area by 8:00 seeing our destination, Summit Inn. Check in was not till after noon, but the clerk said she would try to get us in when the room was cleaned. Our food boxes were waiting, Jeff had mailed them to us earlier. When Don went to get them he was amazed at the stacks of boxes still to be picked up. This was also the first time that we saw a bountiful hiker's box. Food and other items that hikers do not want to take is left for others to use. We have heard stories of hikers doing their whole resupply from them. Probably quite possible here and there is a good selection of food for the taking. We grabbed a 2 pound bag of dried apricots. There were a lot of hikers here, reacquainting themselves with friends from earlier days. Many of the hikers were doing laundry at the only machine in the hotel. We were fortunate to squeeze in a load without needing to wait too long. We were given our room and had three main tasks . Drying out our gear, taking baths and getting organized for the next section. We also managed to recharge all of our electronics. A hamburger at the local inn helped to satisfy our appetite . There is rain being predicted in the morning, but we are as usual planning on being on the trail early. We had thought about getting breakfast here, but it was not going to be open as early as we wanted to start so we opted to have our favorite cold cereal meal in the room. A coffee pot worked nicely for Don to have his early morning cup.
Mileage 2 miles - Summit Inn
It was our standard wake up time of 5. Stargazer was eating in the next tent, as we started out. We passed several tents that still had sleeping occupants. A sighting of a varied thrush caused us pause in our movement. Several hunters were also up early so we were glad when there was good light. We met Daddy Long Legs and Pantywaist. She had hiked the whole trail and her boyfriend had met her in Bend, OR. Lunch was at a small island surrounded by mostly low-lying ground due to the water level. Shortly afterward we came upon Stargazer who was sitting eating a protein bar. One could tell from his posture that this had not been a good day. His wife is meeting him tonight at the road head so he is motivated to get there. He is committed to finishing, but the hike is no longer enjoyable. The trail is quite rocky as we near our camp for the night. It seems that it was rerouted and had not been worked on. Fortunately it is not for a long distance. Several times towards the end of today's hike we have seen or heard the road noise of the interstate. After being in Northern Alaska for part of this summer, we appreciate its quality of silence even more. We are camped at Lodge lake about 2 mies from our resupply point, Summit Inn. It is a well used site and we do our usual food hang for the prevention of feeding the local rodents.
Mileage 18 miles-Lodge Lake
It was windy and foggy when we woke at our usual 5 AM time. It was a bit dark when we started out so we wore our headlamps hoping to avoid any mistaken identity by the hunters. Barely into the hike we heard a male Elk bugling . We stopped and listened to him as he was making his presence well known. Due to the thick brush we were not able to see him. It was a great start to the hike. Elk signs are everywhere, but so far have only seen one. As the day progressed we were becoming quite adept at clothes changing. The weather went back and forth between rainy, windy, cold and then hot. We were able to fill water at some great springs. The trail went thru terrain ranging from old growth forests, burned areas, logged areas and a mishmash of logging roads. We did not see anyone on the trail till we hiked out to the road at Tacoma Pass. At the junction of the road and trail a beautiful wooden sign carved out the words Magic. At first we were hesitant to stop, but then Bert motioned for us to come over. Here was an amazing set up run by 'Not Phil’s Dad'. His son had hiked the PCT in 2009 and ever since then he has come to this trailhead to spread trail magic during the week after labor day weekend. He brought hot dogs and various beverages to share. His friend Bert had just come from a church picnic and they had given him all the leftovers. We had our fill of fruit and pastries. Not Phil’s Dad had been keeping a record of hikers passing thru. There had been close to a 100 the last 4 days. Bird and Chug were there as well as Legolas. It would have been fun to stay longer, but the trail was awaiting and we wanted to camp by water for the night. We found a spot on an abandoned logging road and were soon joined by Stargazer and Mailman. Stargazer was hiking the entire PCT as a retirement celebration. He had been on the trail since the end of March and he was ready to be finished. It has been a good day.
Mileage 19 miles-Almost to Stampede pass