Lots o’ Rocks: Miles 300-400

Day #18

an ode to Celeste:

pre-trail angel, wholesome heart,

for rides/food/help, thanks!

PCT sign at Bear Gap on 7/24/21

PCT sign at Bear Gap on 3/22/21

Celeste is the best.  Today is a shout-out to my personal guardian angel and an all around awesome human being.

Celeste & the Stoneman clan were instrumental in alleviating some of the stresses that come with a SoBo hike.  Instead of piecing together public transit and hitches, Rachel & myself got a ride directly from Seattle to Hart’s Pass.  She even scooped up some sopping wet hikers that were Mazama-bound.  At Snoqualmie Pass she brought us to town for a full shower-laundry-resupply session and gave us the full “mi casa es su casa” treatment.

Today we were again overwhelmed by generosity.

In the chaos of getting back on trail, I left my trekking poles in their other car and lost my favorite necklace somewhere at the house.  Rachel forgot her battery bank on the counter.  Celeste and Scott conveniently decided to do their 22-mile weekend trail run where they could intercept us at Crystal Mountain.

The water carry through the Norse Peak burn area was hot and dusty, but thoughts of Elysian Brewing Elk Frost kept me going.  I got to catch up with a few former co-workers that I ran into at the base area.  The Stonemans paid for our dinner and wouldn’t hear no for an answer.

Bless them both ❤

Day #19

praise be to dirtbags,

the seasonal screwed-overs

sharing weed & beans

Last night Rachel & I yogied some beds out of a couple former coworkers.  (Don’t tell Steve the housing manager 🤫).

These particular buddies are trail crew turned lift ops turned glamping guides.  They’re real-deal dirtbags, wonderfully incongruous with the “5-star” dinners they serve as summit waiters and the gaudy canvas-and-wood “tents” that the glampers pay $1500/night for.  We bonded over our mutual bad experiences with labor-exploiting conservation corps and love of free food.

Though I am not sponsored in any way, Maria is an official “beanfluencer” for Bush’s.  She gave me a mini can of vegetarian baked beans for the trail, which paired perfectly with tomato risotto, honey mustard & onion pretzel pieces, and the last of my arugula.

Day #20

land littered with lakes.

insects slurp blood, sanity.

Pacific Cuss Trail.

Everything is blooming, even the bean bushes!

The boys that camped near Bumping Creek stayed up late and got up early, a fail-safe recipe for a grouchy morning.

The mosquitoes refused to let off from the moment I left my tent to the moment I got onto the pavement 13.7 miles later.  I skipped snacks and water stops to try and save my skin from those suckers.  I kept thinking of the 1961 translation of Homer’s Odyssey which describes Odysseus as 

“the wanderer, harried for years on end, after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy,”

Only instead of an angry Poseidon I’ve got muzzles.

When I got to the Kracker Barrel (a gas station, not a Cracker Barrel) a mini NoBo and SoBo bubble had converged into a mid-sized gathering.  I resupplied out of the hiker box, did some internet binging, and eventually decided to spend the night to let my battery bank recharge.

Day #21

frozen lava froth

black shattered rock glass

time freeze-framed underfoot

Norman aka “Sunshine” aka “Squire” aka “Sex Appeal”

PC: Squire Sex Appeal

Knife’s Edge turned a mediocre day into a great day.  I took the Old Snowy hikers-only alternate instead of the regular PCT for aesthetic reasons (snow wasn’t a factor).  If I had allotted more time & water to the adventure, I would have taken the summit spur.  Hands down the best section of trail so far.  For that reason, the campsites were clogged with smaller-section hikers; it was a near-miracle that I found a flat pad just before sunset.

Day #22

to sunset stalkers!

the late, last ragged ones in:

drain every day’s drop!

A little bit of everything today: scree fields at Cispus Pass, inviting lakes, candy from day hikers, insufferable insects, and the coldest liquid water at Lava Springs.  I managed to soak my feet for exactly 2 minutes (and I’ve spent multiple seasons ice-bathing shin splints).  The water there emerged from a massive rubble pile of what I assume is a moraine.  The evening view of Mt Adams from the top of the teetering igneous blocks was superb.

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