Tent site – two lakes trail tent site 
22.5 miles
3869ft up. 4013 ft down.

I slept in this morning. I didn’t want to get up really early and disturb everyone I was camping with so I waited until I could hear rustling and then got moving. They were all talking about hearing funny noises in the night, growling and stuff. They said sounded like it was getting closer. I heard absolutely nothing. I am pretty good at sleeping. Although I thought I didn’t sleep well because I had too much air in my mattress. Obviously I was wrong! We were all on the go by about 6:45.

I had planned a 25 mile day but the others were planning a 21. I would just see how it went.

It was kinda cold at our campsite and everything was wet with condensation, but in just half a mile around the other side of the mountain it was very warm, with weird little pockets of hot air. I walked behind Gilligan for a while on a bit of an uphill stretch until a stop for water. There was a lot of pee and poop on the trail today and I thought it smelt really strongly of horse but someone later told me it was the Elk. It smelt so strong they must have been hanging out close by.

At the top of the climb you go over the ridge and bam. There is Mt Rainier right there in front of you.

The views were beautiful, and then we got cell service so we did a few important things. Instagram, contact home, and I chatted to Catwater who was planning to hike out of Snoqualmie that afternoon. I have her the good news about the trail conditions. As we carried on down the trail I saw a few northbounders who were on their phones, all commenting that this was really good cell service. Sad that we are all on our phones because no one stopped to speak to each other. All too absorbed in our screens.

I walked with Drake for a while but the trail is so dry and dusty I had to hang back a bit so I wasn’t getting a face full of his dust. We started to see a lot of people, big groups of youths some very polite, some not so. Some scout groups and day hikers and we realised that we were nearing the weekend and nearing a major trail head. I struggled up the climb. My legs were really heavy and my heel sore. Drake was waiting at the top. We only had 1.2 miles to Sheep Lake where we planned to stop for lunch. We powered down, passing more big groups of youths with music blaring out loud. And we got to the lake. 11 miles by 11:30

We found a nice spot by the lake and draped our stuff around to dry out. This lake is only 2 miles from Chinook pass, a major trail head, so it’s very popular with day hikers. Made evident by the brazen behaviour of the animals. The chipmunks and birds were getting very close…to Drake. This was the most relaxing lunch I had on the trail so far. When I’m on my own I don’t stop for lunch, and so far there have been too many bugs to stop anyway. Drake was not having a relaxing time!

Gilligan came down the trail and we waved him over. He brought with him news that Chris & Christian had lost their dog, Henry. We spotted Strings and he came over. Then we saw Chris & Christian and they came over too. They told us the story and Henry had walked off into the forest this morning and had not come back. I was a little surprised to see them 15 miles further down the trail from where they lost him, I thought they may have stayed to look for him but there you go. Their plan was to try and pass a message on to as many northbounders as possible with the hope a southbounder would pick him up.

Chris told us that they were surviving on 1000 calories a day which is ridiculous. A cliff bar for breakfast. Ramen for lunch and they would share a mountain house for dinner. Now that’s not enough. Especially not for a growing 12 year old boy.

Drake and I continued on to Chinook pass which promised an outhouse, a trash can and trail magic – if we were lucky. We hammered out those 2 miles pretty quickly, we could see the outhouses for about half a mile and we went straight there to lighten out loads quite significantly. My first poo of the section!

We got rid of our trash and then tried to work the crowd for a cold drink. We were out of luck. Well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

Up the other side of Chinook pass was day hiker central. It was beautiful, wild flowers everywhere, but too many people. Get off my trail! Everyone smelt sweet and washing powdery. Until a thru hiker passed us, she definitely smelt like a thru hiker. I wonder if I smell that bad?!

At the top of the climb there were loads of people milling about and one woman who asked about my hike wanted to give me a hug when she found out I was hiking to Mexico. Oh please no, you’re sweatier than me! An unusual request I thought, although its not like she gave me a choice and just went in for the hug anyway. I later found out that Gilligan and strings were made to be in their pictures!

Back down the other side and the people disappeared. Phew. We descended back into the forest and went passed Dewey lake. When I came by Drake was just getting out the lake having been for a swim. I was tempted but it’s such a faff getting in and getting wet then having to get dry. Tory went in for a dip but I carried on. I got caught up talking to a bunch of people and the days miles were progressing very slowly.

I got service on my phone again and saw a post on Instagram from Running Red – he had found Henry! Trail drama! I relay the message to Drake and Strings who have now caught me up and I leave a message on his Instagram and I email Chris. I have done all I can.

We hiked on together to the last water 5 miles out of camp. My aim is to camp with these guys tonight because they are fun and I’ve had enough walking today. There is a good amount of uphill before we get to camp. It’s a struggle. They get ahead of me, but I catch them up when they are having a break.

There is more up and Drake says come on I’ll pull you up this hill. Only 2.3 miles to go. Let’s talk about stuff the whole way to make it go quicker. And we talk about our families and it does make the time pass, before we know it we have caught up to Gilligan and we are soon at the camp spot. Advertised for two tents but we had four of us in there comfortably.

We eat together, I have a load of extra string cheese so make everyone happy by sharing that around. Drake has more food than he thought so he ate two mountain house meals. No idea where he puts it all. I had pasta with lasagne sauce with added string cheese and Fritos. Yum.

Drake then make a small fire and strings gets the guitar out. He is also carrying a foot tambourine and a kazoo. I get the foot tambourine despite the warning that I am musically challenged.

Drake’s attempt at the kazoo has me crying with laughter and he ditched that for an improvised song about the PCT. I did capture the whole session on video but it’s definitely not for public consumption. Such an awesome night.

My feet don’t hurt. Or itch.


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