We left the house at 6am so Glendee could take me back to Snoqualmie and then get to work on time. It was dark and raining and I felt like I was back in England commuting to work. It was drizzling when we got to the pass which was about a 40 minute journey.
She dropped me back at the Summit Inn and we said our goodbyes, I wasn’t sure how I could say thank you for all they have done for me, and they’ve even invited me back if I need somewhere to stay after the trail! So many people have been so unbelievably kind.
I went to pick up my package from home from my friend Jenny which I forgot to do when I was here last time, I thought I her given her a different address, good job she reminded me as I would have hated to have missed out on this beauty of a box. Loads of goodies including a new top and a lovely reminder of where I come from.
I reorganised all my stuff in my pack to accommodate all my new things, I shoved all the ramen into the hiker box – I don’t need them now I have my fancy Mountain House meals – I got rid of an extra toilet roll (a decision I hope I don’t live to regret!) and a few other bits to the hiker box.
I guzzled a chocolate milk from the gas station and I was on my way by 7:30am in the light drizzle. Only 50 yards in and I found trail magic!
I was mentally prepared for a big tough 2500 ft climb first thing but it turned out to not be that bad.
It was cloudy but really humid, I soon got rid of my waterproof jacket, it wasn’t raining anyway. I was stopping to take photos all the time because it’s just so beautiful here. By the time I reached the top of the climb I was averaging a 2mph pace, which was fine because the plan was for a 21 mile day – 10 hours of leisurely 2mph walking.
I came across the mountain rescue people that I saw at the trailhead, they were rescuing a horse that slipped off the trail. The horse and the rider both tumbled down the slope. Luckily neither were injured but the horse was stuck at the bottom, so the mountain rescue people were going to pull it up with straps. I took a sneaky photo to show how far down they had fallen but I felt it was a bit like taking a photo of a car crash. A bit wrong. I had wondered many times what would happen if a horse fell off the trail. Now I know.
I carried on and spent most of the day marvelling at the the beauty of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I was feeling sorry for the horse until I came across mounds of poo on the trail. It always amazes me that I have to go 200ft off the trail and bury it and a horse can just dump its load wherever it wants.
I saw lots of people coming towards me today but I didn’t see a single other northbounder. Given my slow pace and low mileage I was expecting someone to overtake me, but no one did. I saw this lady with the greatest external frame pack straight out of the 70s. It even still had the label on it!! Cheryl Strayed eat your heart out!
Lots of beautiful lakes today. I stopped somewhere with a great view for a lunch break.
The official 2400 mile marker. Getting so so close!
The clouds were gathering but still no rain. At least it was cooler without the sun. I spent most of the afternoon just taking pictures at every turn in the trail. The trail was incredibly rocky at points which sometimes made it slow going.
I came across two young children and their father and dog. They were adorable with their child size osprey backpacks (I guess they were about 7 and 9 ish). They had been collecting all the trail names of the people they had met on their southbound hike from Stevens pass to Snoqualmie which is about 74 miles. They read out the 30 or so names, I recognised about 10 of them. The kids had given each other trail names. The little boy was Tumble because he falls over a lot and he little girl was Ace because she is basically good at everything!! I’m sure they will have section hiked the whole thing in a few years.
A good view of spectacle lake and then a long switchback section going downhill to the creek I was planning to camp at.
After I had hit the 19 mile mark I was really starting to flag. I felt like I had no energy, my legs and feet were aching which was making walking unpleasant. So I stopped, crammed some Cheetos into my mouth, took a painkiller and forced down a Berroca from my box of goodies from this morning. And I skipped along the last 3 miles. Ok maybe I didn’t skip but I certainly felt better! I’m not quite sure what happened to the last mile of the trail, it’s like it’s just been forgotten about, 6 or 7 fallen trees, some a lot easier to navigate than others!
When I got to the creek the bridge that was there last year had been washed away so I looked for a path over the rocks. I saw one and went for it. But the rocks were slippy and I fell off and ended up with two very soggy feet. But it could have been worse, I could have actually fallen in. Luckily the camp spot was only about 15ft from the creek so I didn’t have to walk far in my soggy shoes. I took everything off and knew it wouldn’t dry but laid it out anyway. Luckily Jenny had sent me some new socks so I could put them on to keep my feet warm (I love the feeling of new socks, it’s similar to getting in freshly laundered bed sheets).
I put up my tent and made my mountain house dinner. Mountain house and homemade cookies tonight – I feel so fancy (a word I have picked up from Dana and now use far too often). I had to eat my dinner in my tent because the wasps and bees beame too much for me to bare.