Tacoma Pass – tent site
27.1 miles. 6119ft up. 3832ft down.
I went out like a light. Mid reading my book. Anything could have come by in the night I wouldn’t have known.
I was feeling surprisingly good after my big day and planned a 27 mile day. I was on trail at 6:10. There was a lot of up on the trail today but most of it was this morning. I decided to try and make it the 17 miles to Ulrich cabin and have lunch.
The uphill was fairly mellow and I was able to keep a good pace. I didn’t see many people yesterday and I felt very alone last night, but about a mile up the trail I saw 2 tents, then at about 3 miles I saw three more people camped. You’re never really alone out here.
The morning was mostly in the trees, occasionally popping out to cross over a dirt road. I was really pleased every time I saw sawdust and fresh cuts. The view from the trail didn’t change much today. It alternated between the bottoms of trees and the tops of trees. I was a bit unimpressed when I saw a couple of blowdowns!
Once out of the trees I began to see views of Mt Rainier.
I was about 10 miles into my day and I was wondering where everyone was. I saw a man who stopped for a chat. He has done the whole trail over several years and that mean he knew everything. So he told me I needed to get a better hat, otherwise I was going to ‘fry’ and I wouldn’t finish the trail. Ok, well thanks for the unwanted advice. It’s totally fine to give people advice if they ask for it. It’s not totally fine to tell people what they have isn’t good enough. Keep those opinions to yourself. I was far too polite to this dude. I didn’t even tell him I had hiked before. Meh.
A couple of miles and a couple of un-talkative people later I came across a couple of guys getting water from an unmarked on the map water source. Surprise water is nice. I filled up enough to get me the next 5 miles to Ulrich cabin. Good job I did too because the trip became a little exposed in an (almost) clear cut area, then on to Falls Creek burn area which was a fire started by loggers in 1988. It was quite hot through there. I met a couple of section hikers. Everyone is section hiking it seems.
More fresh cuts. More gratitude.
Eventually I made it to the cabin and there were a bunch of people there. Gilligan and his dog Tory (hiking Washington). David (met before, thru-hiking). Chris (father), Christian (son) and Henry (dog) (hiking Washington). And they are all going south. Whoop! Other southbounders! And they tell me Drake is not far up ahead. They must be taking it easy as they hiked out 2 days before me.
They were all just packing up to leave when I got there, they all said they were aiming for 10 more miles, which is where I was aiming for – and it was marked as a tent site for two tents. I quickly are my avocado, Fritos and chips ahoy cookies, filled up my water and tried to catch them up and overtake them. I had 5 miles until water. I bet they all stop there to fill up. I first overtook Chris, Christian and Henry, then I passed David who was sat having a break, then I caught up to Gilligan just before the water.
I flew those 5 miles at around a 4mph pace. As I got to the water I heard ‘Puff Puff from the trees. It was Drake! Pleased to see Drake again.
5 more miles to the tent site. Gilligan set off and I followed. I thought they would be slow because Tory is 9 years old and looks like she can hardly walk, but once she gets going she zooms along and she always is the one to set the pace. Drake caught me up and we walked and talked for a bit to make the time pass quicker.
The trail became a little rocky and by now my feet were really starting to get sore. There was another camp 3 miles further on which I had considered carrying on to if there wasn’t enough room but screw that. The last mile and a half were painful on my heels with every step. I didn’t have 3 more miles in me.
We got into camp at 5:30, less than 12 hours today! There were already three people in the camp spots. Bugger. G and G, an older couple who hiked California and Oregon last year – apparently they started about a week after me. And a guy doing Washington northbound. We managed to find some flat spots next to the trail so it was ok. Chris and Christian had stopped at the water stop so we only needed to fit the four of us. Plenty of room.
My first priority was to remove my shoes. It felt so good. The throbbing was back today. We pitched our tents in the bug free area and I ate dinner outside my tent for the second time on the trail. It was so nice to have a social dinner. David played his guitar, he is good and it was great to have some music. Gilligan gave him his trail name – Strings.
I had an entertaining evening watching Strings trying to teach Drake the guitar who said his finger prints had been altered forever. Since learning to play the Ukulele I can totally relate to that. It’s painful!
It’s so nice to be camped with other people tonight. I’m so tired. I’ll probably be asleep before its dark. I’ve got my feet all snuggly and warm in my sleeping bag and as soon as they get hot they become insanely itchy. So so so itchy. I swear they are preparing to shed a layer of skin, like a snake does.
I also have seriously bad wind tonight. I hope it’s not the avocados.
On a side note, I listened to a podcast today where Amy Hughes was interviewed. She did 53 marathons in 53 days. Impressive. But it also really annoyed me. Why does running hold so much more importance than walking or hiking. She did this challenge fully supported, with someone cycling next to her the whole time, with a hotel and a meal in a restaurant every night, and she was only active for 6 hours a day… Hmm.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.