New Shoes! The Second Hundred Miles

Day #8

curious delight!

which ephemeral faces

turn trail fam/stay strange?

The pit toilet as seen from trail

Pit toilet side view

Melt water rivulets

Certain people are starting to pop up for the second, third time.  I hiked all of yesterday with Rachel and a niece-uncle duo that started on the 7th as well.  I passed 2 guys around lunchtime that we had camped with the night before.  It’s a time on the trail when most faces are new,  but somewhere in the crowd are the seeds of a trail family.  I thought about the irrelevant differences between fate and chance and how perfectly random the universe is.

I craved salt, PB, & coconut water, and cursed myself for not sending the ice axe & microspikes home.  I met the proto-crew at the top of the hill sunbathing and scrubbing themselves clean with snow.  For once, there were no bugs.

Day #9

solitude’s high price:

for clean views and clear water

rescue is remote

The best privy view on the WA PCT, so I’ve heard

Patient & EMT waiting for the helicopter to come back around

The river crossing in which I later dunked

Sasquatch Territory

Today we witnessed a helicopter rescue.

When we first saw it circling, we worried that it was a fire-related warning, though the skies were clear.  A man in orange descended via cable to a spot just up the trail.  We sped up to intercept the action.

Instead, an older hiker had broken through a snow bridge near Fire Creek Pass and gashed his head down to the skull on a rock.  He was luckily conscious, alert, and upright, though it had been over 3 hours since his hiker friends had hit the SOS button.  His pack & person were pulled up & whisked away to the nearest hospital.  A foam pad was lost to the lake in the resulting wind.

We crossed the only “sketchy” snowfield left, which didn’t require any equipment.  I rinsed in a gray torrent of glacial water, traversed Sasquatch-worthy old growth stands, then camped in the fog.

Day #10

“sport mindset” returns.

charging, chasing, what for?

do only what’s fun.

I got up after everyone else had already left.  I refused to feel bad about it.  I took advantage of the solitude to let the cold, misty morning and the comparatively brilliant heather flowers soak in.  I met another hiker from Vermont and drafted off of him until around dinner.  After making food at 171.4, I continued another mile to a more popular, less mosquito-filled, meadow.

Day #11

hot riffs, deep base, snap!

step in time, sing along, dance!

music montage miles*

59-er Diner wal flair

In line for milkshakes

I prefer wide Hoka Speedgoats over Altra Timps because I have short, descending toes as opposed to the long, equal-ish toes for which Altra toe boxes are built.

Today’s mad rush to Steven’s Pass was fueled by tunes.  I was determined to buy new shoes in town, which meant that every step was one closer to soft, supportive footwear.  I powered forward on fantasies of Hoka Speedgoats and Snyder’s Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces.  To keep the stoke high, I drained my battery on the up-most of beats.  Did I ignore the native sounds of the scenery surrounding me?  Yes, and it was glorious.

After inhaling some delicious trail magic salads in the parking lot, and later a milkshake at the 59-er Diner, I stuck out my thumb for Wenatchee.  I caught a ride with a local who was blasting the Cookie Monster classic “C is for cookie and cookie is for me!” for his nap-deprived daughter.  We could see the burn scars from last Sunday’s fire on the hills by the road.

Performance Footwear set me up with a nice pair of wide Speedgoats just in time to take the shuttle bus back.  Rachel & I got a ride back to Steven’s Pass in rattling van of a local woman with rad flower tattoos.

*Try listening to “Blunderbuss” by Twiddle and not feeling like you could kick down a door.

Day #12

local lady scorns,

“that gap there, you can’t name it?!?”

I know Vermont, ma’am.

The nature of the PCT hike is very one-dimensional.  It is a necklace along which views, camps, and towns are strung; a cable along which human electrons flow.  Perpendicular axes do not effectively exist: one does not travel left or right, into the hill or into the sky.  Only forward and back.

The ski mountains back home, those I know.  I know the trails and the between-trails, the ridgelines and the creek beds.  That intimate knowledge, still patchy in spots, is a mostly-functional mental map, whereas the PCT passes so quickly only the salient images remain.  Sorry-not-sorry that I don’t recall how many blowdowns were at Dispatch Gap, nor do I remember where that is.

The Alpine Lakes Wilderness was sunlit and rocky, rolling and picturesque.


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Comments 1

  • pearwood : Jul 28th

    I do enjoy the haiku.


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