Day 80, 8/14, Issaqua, M-2391, 10mi

In true Zero Day fashion I tried to minimize activities for the day (I’m not very good at this). I had gotten laundry and some other chores done yesterday which helped, but somehow by the end of the day my fitness tracker said I’d walked 10 miles ! Still, it was a relaxing day and I feel well rested πŸ™‚

Stopped by the local favorite, XXX Rootbeer Diner
My favorite license plate hanging at the diner.

The Sunset over Lake Sammamish

15 August, 2017 12:14

It rained a bit last night and our 6am departure was cool and damp.

It didn’t really rain this morning, mostly just mist. Although, we did get wet from all the brush.
This is our final descent under the ski lifts to Snoqualmie Pass.
Darth Vada’s Mom and Dad who live in the Seattle area met her at the Pass and treated us all (Hot Fudge) to breakfast at the Summit Pancake house!

We had a great time hiking together for the last week but now we go our separate ways… Hot Fudge (on right) was doing some more miles that afternoon. Darth Vada was taking a day off at home and I was going to take my first Zero of the trip. DV’s mom was nice enough to give me a lift into Issaquah on their way home.

Day 78, 8/12, Mirror Lake, M-2383, 20mi

Today was the first time I’d seen rain on the trail in over two months! It only lasted 20-30 minutes but the air was cool with low clouds until mid-day.

We left camp from down in the valley and climbed up through the clouds.

Huckleberries were prime picking along much of the trail today.

Darth Vada filed up half a water bottle…


 …then had some with crackers an PB to spice up her lunch.

After a two hour siesta at Stampede Pass with a crew of three German hikers joining us, the sun finally started to break out.

The afternoon turned into a beautiful day with temps in the upper 60’s. Hot Fudge and Darth Vada are enjoying the wildflowers and the view. 

Much of the trail was just as I’d expect Washington to be, lush! Here I am filling up water from a mossy cascade. Notice the giant leaves above my head…they are the size of placemats!

We called it short day after arriving at this beautiful campsite by Mirror Lake. It might look like Darth Vada is doing yoga…she’s actually holding her phone up trying to get better reception.

Day 77, 8/11, Tacoma Pass, M-2361, 30mi

A solid, but uneventful, day of hiking. Although, Hot Fudge and Darth Vada did manage to get ahead of me without anyone realizing it for some time. I had been just off trail filling up water at a spring and then took a 45min siesta by the junction and was surprised they hadn’t caught up to me. A little later I stopped at a cabin and took a lunch break and another siesta…they still hadn’t caught up. Finally, in the afternoon at the last water for a 12mi stretch I saw Hot Fudge. She was as confused as I was as to how they got ahead of me. Apparently, they walked by me while I was getting water at the first spring.

A ball of fire rising above the mountains around 6am.

This public cabin was a great place for lunch and a siesta.

An odd picture I took of Hot Fudge walking away from me…her baseball hat hanging off the back kind of makes it look like she’s walking toward me.

Unfortunately, there were no lakes to swim in today 😦 but It looks like I should be able to set it up to camp near a nice looking lake tomorrow.

Day 76, 8/10, Piped Spring Camp, M-2331, 29mi

Another fantastic day!

There was a 2000′ climb in the AM with great views of lakes…

and the many ranges to the South we had already hiked through.

And then…Mt Rainier!

The haze and finally lifted and we were the closest we will get to this big one on the PCT, cutting through a corner of Mt Rainier National Park.

Darth Vada hiking through the wildflowers.

These remind me of Dr Seuss characters.
Hot Fudge and Darth Vada enjoying a lunch time dip and a siesta at Anderson Lake.

We ran into lots of day hikers enjoying the many lakes on our descent to Chinook Pass.

On our way up to Sheep Lake we passed by three dads with their 7 kids (ages 4-9) and grandma and grandpa doing a 2 night camping trip.

We renamed the lake Chaos Lake…it was a gear explosion with kids running everywhere.
Two of the four year olds excited to go swimming.

A very quiet campsite next to the spring.

Day 75, 8/9, Snow Lake, M-2302, 19mi

The day started with a moonrise over Old Snowy Mtn.

After hiking up and out of the woods we had great views looking back from the direction we had come from.

To the north we had one of the clearest views yet of Mt. Rainier.

After crossing a divide we started our descent toward White Pass. You can just make out Mt. Rainier popping up on the horizon.

We made it to the highway and the Kracker Barrel convenience store by 9am. There was a small collection of hikers there. We spent half the day eating, charging batteries, organizing resupplies for the next 100 mile stretch.

This is Hot Fudge showing off her resupply goodies.

Around 3:00 we headed back out and made a short stop at Sandy Lake for a swim. The water was wonderfully warm.

This is a pic from the other day on the Knifes Edge…I’m in the front. .

We got into camp at Snow Lake around 7:00…not bad considering we hung out for 6 hours doing chores then went for a swim.

Snow Lake πŸ™‚

Day 74, 8/8, Hidden Springs, M-2284, 26mi

Today was a spectacular day of hiking! The scenery was stunning from wildflowers to waterfalls, views of Mt Rainier and hiking the Knifes Edge next to Old Snowy Mtn.

A view back towards Mt. Adams on horizon.

My model for the day, Hot Fudge, checking out the peaks in the Goat Rocks Wilderness area.

The trail crosses directly in from of this waterfall (on boulders at bottom of pic).

Stunning !

Darth Vada trekking across a remaining snow field.

We came across some folks on horses out for the day. The horses didn’t mind the snow at all.

Horses have to drink too.

They offered us some Washington apples 🍎…yum!

The first view of Mt. Rainier.

Old Snowy Mtn in the background.

Hiking the knifes edge.

Panorama of the Knifes Edge and Old Snowy Mtn.

Not sure why the last three days have all ended at 26mi…a marathon a day keeps the Dr. away ?

Day 73, 8/7, Random Creek, M-2258, 26mi

Washington finally started living up to its reputation today…Incredible views of Mt Adams and miles of meadows and wildflowers.

Mt. Adams is a very impressive glacier covered peak just south of Mt Rainier. Unfortunately, the haze is still obscuring the views.

Even more impressive than the colors was the wonderful smell (way better than me).

Lots of creeks and cascades coming down the mountain.

Another view of Mt. Adams.
Nothing to add…
That glacier melt water was rather silty…not great for the filter.

An epic Washington meadow.

Climbing the 12,000′ Mt Adams is a full on mountaineering endeavor similar to climbing Mt. Rainier…not part of this adventure πŸ™‚

This turned into a popular campsite because it’s the last water and easy camping before the Goat Rocks Wilderness area.

I got into camp at 5:30pm which is one of the earlier days I’ve had. It wasn’t quite as relaxing as I might have liked because the bugs were doing their thing. Luckily, DEET did its job so I wasn’t forced to spend the whole evening in my tent. I made a couple minor repairs, cleaned my legs and feet in the creek, wrote in my journal and finished the blog. I even had time to read some of the NYT on my phone πŸ™‚

Day 72, 8/6, Below Mt. Adams, M-2232, 26mi

This was about as easy as 26 miles of hiking gets. The trail was mostly through the pines and very soft under foot with a few minor climbs. The mosquitos weren’t terrible but just bad enough to force a decent pace. I got to the lonely road crossing about 20 miles up trail at 1:15 and had a ride 5 minutes later for the 14 mile down the mountain to town. Holly and Todd from Hood River had spent the weekend in the mountains and were headed home (sorry, no pic).

Deer Lake where I broke camp in the morning.

An old school PCT marker.

Now, these signs never get old !

No one was there when I stopped for a mid morning break but there was a help yourself taco bar and cold drinks in the cooler.

Just as I reached the road crossing 10 miles later there was more trail magic…compliments of the local Monastery (love the monks !)

I’m bummed I didn’t take more pics from town and my hitches. The truth is you just can’t capture in a picture how sublime a huckleberry milkshake is on a 96 degree day!

I had originally planned to stay overnight in this tiny little town of Trout Lake (FYI, no lake that i saw ?) but it was just too hot at these lower elevations. After spending several hours relaxing and drinking cold sodas I caught a ride back up the mountain to the trail where it was 2000′ higher and much more comfortable.

After 5.5mi of easy evening hiking there was a fantastic campsite right below Mt Adams.

I had to climb a small bluff above camp to get this shot. I should have lots of views of Adams tomorrow.

This is the view of camp from the bluff… three
little tents.

The sunset was a bit obscured by the trees but still enjoyable.

I definitely made the right decision not staying in town. It was way more comfortable temp-wise on the trail. It could actually get a little chilly tonight !

Lastly, a big milestone today…finally, I’m at less than 1000 miles to finish (meaning I’ve hiked over 1660 miles)!

Day 71, 8/5, Deer Lake, 2206, 32mi

The warm evening last night turned into a pleasantly cool morning. The first miles of the day were smooth sailing then the climbing kicked in with a 3000′ ascent. The good news was that the trail took a relaxing 9 miles to reach the top. All in today, there was 7000′ of climbing and yesterday’s total was 7700′. Between the moderate grades and the shade of the trees the climbs aren’t too bad even in this hot weather but the humidity is a sudden change to get used to.

Some spooky looking trees in the forest.

Lots of lush grasses especially near the many ponds.

The trail finally popped out of the forest near the top of the climb and apparently the haze had cleared. There was a great view to the south of Mt Hood.

Looking back toward the Columbia River Gorge.

Later in the day was the first good view of Mt Adams. The trail goes right by it in the next couple days.

Considering all the climbing, I’m surprised I’ve made as many miles as I’ve done the last couple days . As a little extra incentive, I decided to hitch into the trail town of Trout Lake tomorrow. Even though I don’t need to resupply I’ve heard it’s a town that’s super friendly to hikers.