Friday, October 7, 2016

Day 147- Sunny And Pleasant Part II

Sept 26, 2016
Fire Creek(2515.3) to Campsite(2540.7) 25.4 miles 
Total up/down: +6,917/-9,395 feet

Today was actually sunny and pleasant. In fact it was a glorious day! The weather couldn't have been more perfect and the scenery was amazing. After a couple of crummy days in a row, I really appreciated today. I camped with Surge, Sleepy Andy, and Zippy last night. Everyone was up by the time I was ready to leave so I chatted for a little while before heading out. It has been really nice having other people in camp with me. I was beginning to get a little lonely. I like hiking by myself during the day, but sometimes it is nice to have companionship at night. It has been so cold in the morning that I have numerous layers when I leave camp. I usually have to stop in the first twenty minutes to take clothes off. Today just felt warmer so I started off in just my fleece, a long sleeve shirt, and my hiking pants. I could tell right away that is was going to be a beautiful day. 

Right off the mark I had a short, but really steep uphill climb. Within minutes I was sweating through my fleece. I don't like stopping when I'm hiking uphill. It breaks up my momentum. I waited until I started going downhill before stripping off my fleece. I don't mind stopping when I'm going downhill. My knees appreciate any kind of break. After three miles I came across a beautiful lake. I stopped to take pictures and to change into my short sleeve shirt and shorts. I can't remember the last time I hiked in my tshirt. It was probably before Snoqualmie Pass. I chatted with a few weekend warriors. I am at the part of the hike where everyone I run across congratulates me on finishing the thruhike. I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm not done yet. The weekend warriors were all locals and gave me great trail information on what to expect ahead of me. I can't wait to hit Rainy Pass. It sounds like a great section. I just hope it isn't raining when I get there. 
Mica Lake 

Once I left the lake I had a short and slightly steep downhill. I was amazed by how quickly the muddy sections of trail were drying out. There were some parts that were still pretty bad, but overall it was very dry. 
The worst of the mud

I can't emphasize enough how great today was. I spent a good portion of the day out in the open with grand sweeping views. This is how I pictured Washington. I realize now how naive and arrogant this expectation was. I'm in the Pacific Northwest. This part of the country is known for the amount of precipitation it receives. 
More glaciers
Entire ridge of glaciers

I recently learned that this section of Washington has the most glaciers in the lower 48. I believe it. I saw so many today. I wasn't sure how to tell if it was a glacier or just a mountain that still had snow. Apparently anything that still has snow on it this time of year is a glacier. Washington is extremely diverse. I don't even have the vocabulary to describe exactly what I'm seeing. I wish I knew more of the names of the trees and plants around me. I also wish that I liked mushrooms. There are four or five edible and easily identifiable types on the trail. The other hikers have been so excited to add the mushrooms to their dinners. Unfortunately, I hate mushrooms. 

After walking downhill for awhile the trail went right back up. It was a typical Appalachian Trail type day. I had lost about three thousand feet of elevation over five miles. Then I gained three thousand feet over about five miles. The climb was pretty gentle and I enjoyed the workout. The last little bit was above treeline and I was rewarded with more spectacular views. 
Such a nice day
Varying landscapes
Idyllic waterslide 
Very confusing sign (the trail had been rerouted and it was cheaper to turn the sign upside down than to make a new one) 

I ended the day with a long and very gentle downhill. I expected to be disappointed with the last few miles of the day, but I was terribly mistaken. I thought I would be disappointed after having such great views above treeline only to drop back into the forest. Below treeline was like something from a fairy tale. The trail was really flat and beautifully maintained. This section of trail is only a few seasons old. It had to be rerouted because a bridge over the river was washed away. The new bridge was built several miles downstream. The new section of trail went through an old growth forest. There were trees with diameters of 10-15 feet. I couldn't identify the trees for you, but my trail guide listed them as Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, and Western Red Cedar. It is hard to get the scale of these trees from my picture, but believe me they were big. 
Old growth 
Trying to provide some scale 

After noticing all of the changing color of the leaves around me, today was the first real signs of fall. Just before reaching my campsite I turned a corner and saw leaves scattered all over the ground. The leaves in this area have finished turning colors and have begun to die and fall to the ground. 
Now it is truly fall

Today was another long day. I barely got my tent setup before dark. I had to cook and eat dinner with only the light of my headlamp to guide me. I made a stupid mistake just before going to bed. I left my snack bag outside of my tent while I went to go dig a hole. When I finished my business I came back to discover that a squirrel or chipmunk had devoured all of my food for tomorrow except for three bars. That leaves me pretty screwed for tomorrow. I'm now in a situation where I have to hike 29 miles before 6:15 to get to the road to catch the last shuttle into Stehekin. I'm not sure that is an achievable goal. Worst case scenario I'm looking at a hungry night tomorrow. Stupid rodent :-(

“Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile."     
- Gary Ryan Blair


  1. Looks like a good day. Great pics!
    Interesting cloud formation in the such a nice day photo.
    One of the best things about "after trail life" has got to be not digging those holes! :)
    Kathy in NH

  2. wow. fast rodent. Good lesson for all us future hikers!
    Fantastic views.
    Chris in Nash

  3. Reading your blog and you're here with us. And, I'm happy to still have blogs to read. I'm glad you had some food left. Maybe they got a tummy ache and had to dig a hole!! Thanks for all the pictures you post. LY

  4. I have to go to Washington State! sorry about the snack bag...

  5. Such gorgeous scenery!!! Glad to hear you're home!!! Darn squirrels, or whatever...I'm with your mom, hope they got sick!!!

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  7. Katie,
    Thanks for continuing to send out the blog posts. I appreciated that you tell the whole story including the good, the bad, and the ugly. So glad that you finished up healthy and happy.



  8. O'Man those little critters!! Hope your able to make the mileage.

  9. What beautiful pictures and a gorgeous day :)

  10. Today's pictures were the best! Breathtaking! So glad you're home though. No more holes! Yea!