Two lakes tent site – white pass 
19.7 miles.
2196ft up. 3391ft down.

Again the others heard noises last night. I heard nothing. I did wake in the night, around 4:30 needing a wee. Ignore it. When I was still awake at 5 I got up and went for a wee. I fell back to sleep instantly. I will never learn. Although it’s the first time this trip that I’ve actually needed a wee in the morning so that’s a plus.

I packed up and I was on the trail at 6am, before anyone else had even got out their tent. It was cold. The coldest it’s been. I started with gloves, my vest and hat.

The clouds were sat low in the valley and hugging the base of Mt Rainier. There is something special about hiking at this time. I never feel the need to put in my headphones. I passed a couple of camp spots with people still camped. No one was getting up early this morning!

I met two older guys and stopped to have a chat. They guessed me as English (most Americans guess Aus or Kiwi), but they suggested I was from the Midlands! Certainly not!!

I carried on without seeing too many people. I was making good progress, helped by the trail maintenance. I was averaging around 2.8mph. The trail was gently rolling and there was more down than up with helped a lot. There were a few rocks about which is probably where my .2 went. I didn’t intend to stop at all until I had done the 20 miles into white pass and I was aiming for a 1:30 arrival.

I only stopped once for a wee and to get some chocolate out my pack. And it was nice and solid because it was so cold. By 11am I still had all my cold weather clothes on.

I met a nobo – High Mileage – I’m not sure the ‘high’ referred to the number of miles or his state of mind while hiking. He was walking along shovelling cold pizza into his mouth. He stopped to talk and I couldn’t stop him talking – about drugs and guns and robbery. Most of it didn’t make much sense!

After that I ran into a couple of English people, it was really nice to chat with them. We recognised each other’s Englishness from a simple hello. As I was chatting to them the horses came by, lots of them, the first horses I had seen on the trail. In the next 5 miles I must have seen around 20 horses. And where there are a lot of horses there is a lot of horse shit. Stinky horse shit covered in flies. I’m not allowed to take a dump right in the middle of the trail…

I saw a man who recognised me from this blog, he recognised the blue tape on my legs so I chatted with him and his partner for a while. They are taking 10 days to do the section I had just done in 3.5 days. How leisurely.

Then I only had 3 more miles and it was all downhill so I ramped up the gears until I got to the trail head. The trail becomes really wide when you get nearer the trailhead because of the increased traffic so it was easy to breeze past all the day hikers.

I got to the road and called my parents to let them know I was alive and I made it to the store at 1:40. Pretty close to my goal. If I hadn’t stopped to talk to all those people I may have even been early.

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself for hiking 97 miles in 3.5 days and after my confidence crisis a few days ago it’s given me a boost. After I had urgently dropped off the kids at the pool I got a beef burrito, an orange juice, an ice cream sandwich and a bag of cheeto puffs and sat in the store to wait for the others.

While I was there I chatted to a few northbounders, and someone says ‘is that Puff Puff?’ It was Will, the very first person I met on the trail when I was heading north out of Harts Pass. Another one caught! Although he is heading out onto the trail today so he is still ahead.

I hung out at the store, update the blog a bit and caught up with stuff, and Drake Strings, Gilligan and Tory came in around 4 I think. We sat outside and organised our resupply. I seem to have a lot of stuff. And it’s heavy. But not as much stuff as Strings, who has two large boxes of food – including 40 tortillas and a 3lb jar of peanut butter!!

Gilligan and Tory are going to camp at White Pass but Strings, Drake and I decided to hitch to Packwood. We stood by the side of the road and I tested out my new sign. It took us 20 minutes, double my usual wait time, but there wasn’t much traffic on the road. This is an annoying hitch because there is nowhere else these people could be going as the road leads straight to Packwood.

Eventually a car pulling a trailer pulled over and stopped next to us. We asked if they would take us to Packwood and they said yes! Yeay! They had to rearrange their whole car to accommodate us. We asked them why they stopped to pick us up and they said they didn’t, they were just pulling off the road to let some cars pass them!

They were great and took us straight to the pizza place. We checked into the Packwood (meth lab) Inn and got two rooms for $70 for the 3 of us. The guys were very gracious and gave me my own room.

We went to the store and I bought the chocolate milk I had craved so badly at White pass, but they didn’t have, and some salty Pringles. We showered, gave our laundry in for someone else to do – result! And went to get food. My friend Sharon had donated to the hot nutritious meal fund and I got a red hot, semi-nutritious (it had pineapple on it) Pizza.

Full and happy we went back to the Packwood crack den and as we were about to turn in there was a knock on the door. It was Running Red. He had reunited Chris and Christian with Henry and they were all staying at the Packwood Inn. I love how the trail works.


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