I heard Giving Trees alarm go off at 5 am and they were packed up and moving by 5:30. We got moving at 5:30 and were on the trail by 6:15. When we climbed out of our tent everything was really foggy. A thick misty fog that hung low in the air. For the first time in weeks I put on my puffy jacket to keep warm.
The trail was great today. Not very rocky and that sure helps the feet. We walked fast and determined to make our mileage through the thick fir forest. The forest looked haunted with the thick mist hanging in the air. We put on our rain gear as it began to rain. It was light at first but by the early afternoon it was a downpour.
Even with pack covers all our gear was damp and heavy. At about 3 pm the temperature dropped and Kimberly began to get cold so we gave in and set up our tent next to a spring. I headed to the spring to filter some water for the night while Kimberly got our sleeping pads inflated. It was only 4 pm when I came back and we hid in the dry tent. Most of our gear was drenched and we did our best to get things situated inside the tent and under the rain cover. We cooked our dinner inside the tent and all the while the rain pounded our little tent. Some water was making it in the tent where some rodent chewed the side of the tent so I took my dry bag and held it on the spot with my food bag. Fortunately it kept the water out. The rain continued throughout the evening and I listened to the rain drops as I drifted on the sleep.
We awoke a little late today and enjoyed a breakfast at the hotel restaurant. We then took showers and got packed up for the trail. We made some phone calls to family and didn’t leave the hotel room till almost 11:00 and it was great. After we checked out we started towards the trail and stopped at the gas station to get cold drinks and talk with some hikers on some benches in front of the gas station. At about noon we finally headed out.
The trail crossed through town so we simply crossed the street and were hiking. The first few miles of the trail followed along the ski resort and chair lifts. The trees were cut back here so we were in the sun and it was hot.
We hiked leisurely and talked a little to long with any hikers we crossed paths on the trail with. Our feet felt rested and the trail was much less rocky here. We made our way to Mirror lake and the spot was so awesome we decided to set up camp here. Just as we were setting up camp we saw Giving Tree! We hiked with him a bit in Southern California and he was still hiking NoBo. He immediately recognized us and decided to camp here as well. He was hiking with Coach and Long Island Ice Tea. We had a lot of fun sharing stories of our adventures over the last few months. They were doing 25+ mile days and planned on being to Canada in 9 days. Their energy was contagious and we felt renewed after hanging out with them. They were hiking with very little gear, they didn’t even have stoves and were living off Top Ramen between towns. We all stayed up till almost 9pm talking, well past hiker midnight.
I slept well last night and my feet felt much better. Kimberly, on the other hand, had sore feet and made the decision she needed a day of rest, today will be a Zero!
We head out of our room and eat breakfast, pick up our resupply package and grab some drinks and snacks then head back to the room. The rest of the morning we relax in the room. In the early afternoon we head back out for more food and head to the pizza place. We order a huge calzone and Greek salad and take it back to the room. The calzone is huge but we make quick work on it.
We figure that will keep us full but at about 6:30 I head out and pick up a burger and rice bowl. After eating dinner we both are finally full and finish our day of rest . Tomorrow we head back to the trail.
We got an early start today. We are out of dinners and need to make it to town before dinner. We enjoyed our campsite last night and head off to town determined to make good time today.
We finish the climb we started last night and make it to the top of the ridge. We are now all set to follow the ridge for the next 7 miles or so and then drop down to Snoqualmie Pass. As we follow the ridge the trail guides us over our first slide of Scree. The rocks are about the size of softballs and are really tough on the feet. We both take a break after the first one and remind ourselves that there is town food just waiting for us another 10 miles down the trail and push on.
At the top of the climb we see a NoBo hiker we met in Southern California. It’s Olga and we are happy to meet up. She is making great time and missed all the fires in California and Oregon. She has about 10 days left and she will be to Canada. We both encouraged each other and said goodbye.
We are greeted by another section of scree, and then another. We both walk through as carefully as possible. We decide to put our headphones in and listen to some music, maybe that will keep our minds off of the beating our feet are taking. By the time we make it to the descent to the pass we are exhausted and ready for the day’s hike to end. We both fill up at one of the alpine lakes and push on.
We are in luck, the trail gets much better and our pace picks up. Even with the smoother trail our feet still burn and it makes the time go slowly. We do our best and push on as quickly as possible. Finally we see pavement and are at the trailhead. A short road walk and we secure a hotel room and make our way to an outdoor diner in the parking lot and eat a well earned meal. There were a few other hikers there enjoying themselves. We talked for a bit and exhausted, we called it a night and hobbled back to our hotel room.
We awoke at 5:30 am to loud talking by some fellow campers. I didn’t sleep the best last night as it seems I have a new hole in my sleeping pad. Hopefully when we get to town I can repair it. We ate our breakfast of protein powder and granola. It has the calories we need but I think we both hope to find something new for breakfast when we get to Oregon.
We started hiking at about 6:45 and our day started with a 2,500 foot climb over 7 miles. We decided to take a slow steady pace and take it easy on our feet. The trail was better than yesterday so with luck Kimberly’s tired feet will hold up.
We met a section hiker while heading up. She was hiking with her dog and we cannot remember her name. She lived in Vancouver and recently retired from a career as a personal trainer. She planned on hiking the pct thru Washington and Oregon and then attempt California next year. She shared with us that she lost her partner of 8 years last November. He lost his fight with cancer and she decided to hike to work through his loss and what she planned on doing with the rest of her life. She asked us a lot of questions about the Sierra Nevada Mountains and we shared with her what we know. I think we gave her the confidence that she is capable of hiking them. About a mile from the top of the ridge she decided to take a break and we pushed on.
We reached the top of the ridge and were blown away by the next valley and ridge. The valley had a huge grove of pine trees and a large river at the bottom. The top of the ridge had lots of snow still. The snow was obviously melting in the head and it fed huge waterfalls as the water raced its way down into the canyon.
The trail was exposed a for the first few miles then we were led into the shade of the tall pine trees. As we got closer to the bottom the floor of the valley was choked with all different kind of vines. Some of them had began to grow raspberries and blueberries but it was too soon to pick them as they were not ripe. The trail was overgrown in some spots with the vines towering over our heads. We had to step carefully as we could not see the trail while we pushed through the tangle of plants.
We made it to a foot bridge that spanned Lemah Creek. We found a shady spot along its shore and soaked our feet in its ice cold water. We decided to push on another 3 miles up the next ridge. That will set up for a 18 mile hike into town tomorrow.
The first mile was relatively flat and then the trail began its climb for the last 2 miles. About 50 yards from our camp the trail led us to the Delate Waterfall. It towered over us and the water cascaded 60 feet down into a large pool. The campsite was perfect as we got to listen to the waterfall as we slept.