Tent site – Hopkins lake
13.2 miles (+0.6 because we missed the junction!) 3350ft up. 3041ft down
I was pleased with myself because last night I managed to force myself out of my cosy cocoon and go for a wee before it got dark.
I must have woken up a hundred times in the night, every time I woke up I could hear it was raining. 5am no rain. Too early to get up. 5:45am rain. I missed my window of opportunity. Rain always sounds worse than it is in a tent so it was only drizzle really. I decided to get up at 6am. I deflated my mat. Pffffffffff. Ah that familiar sound. No turning back now. The routine I had perfected last year of taking my tent inner down and packing everything away under my fly came back naturally.
Yesterday I started out with no tape on my legs, but I could already feel it in my knees so I taped them up.
I was up and packed and ready to go by 7, the others were still in their tents – most unusual for me to be up first but no one else had a very good nights sleep either.
I was fully waterproofed up and on the trail feeling ok. I double dosed aleve and put my sit mat on my back, under my bag, to add a bit more padding to protect my sore bits from my rucksack. I never had any issues with my pack last time, I should have carried it around a bit at home, got my body used to it.
We were aiming for 13ish miles today. Had I been going solo I would have probably punched for Canada and camped at the border. But I’m not in a massive rush and I like camping with people.
The Pacific North West is beautiful, when you can see more than 50ft ahead of you. Today it was more Pacific North Wet. We were in a cloud that never lifted. Straight out of the gates – a massive blowdown.
The first 3 miles were really slow going because there were so many trees across the trail. Some I had to go around some over and some under – very annoying as I managed to rip the mesh on my pack going under one, just lucky I didn’t rip my tent. The weather was changeable all day, but it was mostly shitty. It tried to brighten up and I saw the sun trying to break through the cloud, it lasted about 3 seconds and then the cloud descended and it started raining. Just walking through the cloud is wet. All the vegetation was soaked so my shoes were quickly soggy and squelching as the plants transferred their water onto my legs and shoes. I hate walking with wet feet.
I decided to walk 8.5 miles to Woody Pass and wait for my friends, I had heard from some SOBOs that the other side of the pass was a bit sketchy.
On the way there I didn’t stop much, every time I thought about stopping it would start to drizzle. I was never the right temperature, either hot and sweaty or cold depending on the amount of cloud.
Ninja Tortoise passed me, he hiked last year too and we didn’t know each other but had heard each other’s names. Then Wolf, an Austrian passed me. I ask how many people are up ahead and everyone gives me a different answer, it’s between 7-12. I keep hearing Meander is out here, taking a new log book to the monument. I met him last year at Harts where he gave me a hot dog and soda when it was very much needed. I’ve not seen him yet.
There were a few sketchy bits of snow to cross but nothing that bad. I was out of water so I stopped to get a litre, it’s one of those places that I probably didn’t need to filter but I did anyway. Guthook suggested there wasn’t much water about after that (which was of course a lie). The clouds lifted a bit and I took the opportunity to eat one of the pies Marvin bought for me. It was really good, thanks Marvin!
As I carried on up to Woody pass my back began to really hurt. The foam wasn’t really doing it’s job anymore, so I loosened the waist belt and took a bit more weight in my shoulders. The next two miles were slow going. I was stopping at every switchback. I shovelled in some sugar and thought about eating some lunch when I reached the pass. I eventually made it. 8.5 miles in 5 hours. I am crawling to Canada! I sat in the rain and waited for the others. It didn’t matter that it was raining, I would be getting wet walking anyway. I made a salami, cheese and Frito wrap and it was gross. I forced myself to swallow it. I wasn’t sure how long to wait. If I start getting cold I’ll move on. After half an hour a couple of SOBOs came through. They had been up and tagged the monument this morning and were on their way back. Drake is doing Washington and David, who is carrying a guitar, is going all the way.
They sat with me and chatted for a while until Catwater and Jackie arrived. I had been there an hour and 20 minutes in the same position and I was stiff and achy and dreading putting my pack back on. I think the rest must have done it good though because it felt better. Still sore but not as bad.
As soon as we started moving it started to rain heavily. We saw two more boys coming south but we all had our heads down and we didn’t stop to speak. One was wearing short shorts. I won’t see him again. The short shorts brigade are speedy.
We planned to go 5 more miles and camp at Hopkins lake. A lake means water so I dumped the excess water I was carrying. Every little helps. I hiked on with Catwater and Jackie, it was nice to hike with people for a while. And we made it down to the lake in good time. Well we would have been there sooner had Catwater and I not been so busy chatting that we missed the turning. A 0.6mile bonus for the day.
This was the same place I camped last year, and the next morning woke up on my birthday. There are a few more fallen trees this year. And approximately 1 million mosquitos. Luckily they are quite dopey and not really that bitey but they like to fly around your face. I put my bug net on. Threw up my tent. Made a mad dash to the lake for water and jumped into the safety of my tent. I am now regretting dumping my lovely spring water because the lake water is very lakey. It’s got a certain twang to it.
We are here early, it’s about 5pm but we are all wet and cold and tired. Thankfully it seems to have brightened up a bit and my tent fly is drying out a bit in the breeze. The mozzies are desperate to get into my tent and I’m taking great joy in giving them a flick when they land on my net.
My feet are all pruney and gross and my legs have this odd pink line around the ankle. My mum made my gaiters and I thing the dye from the cotton is leaking on to my legs! Life could be worse.
I hate blowing up my mat every night, but I love lying down and I love being in my sleeping bag. Again I have to find the willpower to leave my nest and have a pee. I’ve only been once this morning. That can’t be good.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.