August 2- 10 miles, camping at Sheep Lake
We got really lucky with our hitchhiking this morning. While we were having breakfast in White Salmon, a young guy named Sklyer overhead us talking about getting back to the trail and offered us a ride to Trout Lake. After he dropped Khalil and I off at the cafe so I could charge my phone, he ran home and grabbed his baby girl, Nova, and came back to join us for a game of Monopoly. It was a lot more fun with three players and Nova was one of the sweetest babies I’d ever met.
Once Khalil had wiped Skyler and I clean of all our assets, we headed back to the road and hitched a ride with a girl. It’s incredible how much the locals support the hikers- even when they couldn’t give us a ride, cars would pull over just to chat.
I think I may have overdone it on my food for this section. I made the mistake of shopping for snacks before eating lunch, so I grabbed all sorts of goodies that I probably don’t need. For lunch, I tossed out my homemade chicken veggie wraps in favor of salami wrapped in ghee and a tortilla- super, duper fatty!
The trail climbed up towards Mount Adams through recently burned forest. Since I’m trying to take care of my foot, we planned to hike only ten miles to a little pond below the peak of Adams. Honestly, today gave me some of the best views I’ve seen in Washington so far. The closer I got to Mount Adams, the more beautiful it became. Unfortunately, a smokey sky from a nearby fire and rain clouds blocked the views of Mount Rainier and Goat Rocks.
It was nice having lots of time at camp this evening. I went through all my food and listened to Khalil chide me on not eating enough in town and then carrying too much in my pack. He stopped lecturing me once I offered him some bars and jerky. Now he’s quiet in his tent munching away at that extra food I carried all the way up here.
I also had time to stretch and work on my sore foot. It’s hard to tell if it’s getting better, probably because it truly needs about a week of rest. *Sigh.* It’s a difficult choice between staying on trail with an injury and getting off trail when you’re so close to finishing. Tomorrow we head into Goat Rocks Wilderness, which is often featured in PCT calendars because it’s so scenic. I hope the clouds clear so I can really see it in all its glory
August 3- 22 miles, camping at a little unnamed pond
Today was so beautiful. The trail began by skirting around Mount Adams, as it usually does to these great volcanic peaks, giving us views of not only the surrounding area, but also the 12,281-foot peak. Unfortunately, the smokey and rainy clouds from yesterday still lingered in the sky, blocking the views of Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier.
Mount Adams has an incredible glacier pouring down along its northwest side. The guidebook describes it as a great frozen waterfall, and it truly looks that way. With strikingly blue ice, it’s edges stood like tall, vertical cliffs on the outcrops of the mountain, as through a great knife had sliced through and taken out entire sections.
I was able to hike relatively pain free today, with the help of the doctor’s cream and some naproxen. Having dealt with repeative stress injuries in the past has made me very sensitive to the fact that I may be doing permanent damage while covering up the pain. When Khalil and I hit twenty-two miles, we both felt good enough to hike an additional three or four for a better campsite, but I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea for my foot. So, we’re camping near a mucky pond with no spectacular view. He’s been really patient with me and my injury. I appreciate that- I just don’t want to interfere with the way he would prefer to hike.
August 4- 21.5 miles, camping below Tieton Pass
I had heard that Goat Rocks Wilderness was beautiful, but I really wasn’t prepared for how stunning it would be. It seemed that every turn around a corner or over a pass brought greater and greater beauty. We got our first clear view of Mount Rainier today, a queen towering 14,410 feet into the air and drapped with a diamond-like necklace of glaciers.
The trail itself was also more interesting than it has been in awhile. We climbed through forests and rocky shale, crossed snow, and teetered on the edge of steep cliffs. It was thrilling! It also brought challenges for my little foot, and I fell on my backside heading down the rocky north side of Knife’s Edge. I think the foot is improving, but not very quickly.
The first campsite we came to was near a grassy, muddy pond, and just didn’t look too appealing, so we hiked another mile to a trail junction near a stream. It’s really chilly tonight, maybe the first real chill I’ve felt in weeks. Still, I made sure to play some ukulele because I plan on mailing it home at the next post office I reach. My hope is that lightening my load will help my injured foot.
August 5- 12.5 miles to White Pass, staying in Packwood
It was a delightful and scenic twelve miles to White Pass this morning. We had more views of Mount Rainier and Khalil has decided to attempt a summit. Since I’m on more of a schedule than he is and I don’t have the technical skills for a summit like Rainier, I will not be joining him.
We made it to White Pass around noon, after taking a “shortcut” along a ski slope. I picked up my resupply box and a sweet letter from my boyfriend’s mom and did laundry at the little gas station. After talking to other hikers, we decided the nearby town of Packwood would be a great place to stay for the night. A trail angel took Khalil, myself and two other hikers, Day Tripper and 1-Step, the 25 miles down into town. We’re all staying at a hostel-like bunkhouse called the Pack Station.
I really didn’t feel like dining out and since the bunkhouse has a big communal kitchen, I made a big spaghetti and meatball dinner. It was so nice sitting family-style around the table and swapping stories with other hikers. This community of wonderful people is half of the joy of hiking the PCT.
August 6- Hoping to hike out!
Everyone got together this morning and pitched in to make a fantastic breakfast. We had waffles, French toast, bacon, eggs, fruit with yogurt and coffee. Khalil is heading out today to Mount Rainier National Park in the hopes of summitting the mountain. We said goodbye for a second time on the trail (the first was back in Burney). Who knows what the trail will bring and with a trail name like “I’ll be back,” we may just run into each other again!
I hope to hikenout with 1-Step and his girlfriend, Day Tripper, this afternoon,vif I can get my blog uploaded. 1-Step isn’t a doctor, but he knows feet pretty well from years of hiking and did a bit of work on my injured foot. My next stop is Snoqualmie Pass and I hope to make it all the way to Canada, but I’m just taking it one day at a time.