Guten Tag aus Leavenworth! Well, almost, as I am typing this in the middle of nowhere with a gorgeous view of Glacier Peak!
Enough with the spoilers, I will have to tell you everything about our true Washington experience first!
We hiked out of White Pass in hot, almost humid weather. There was a small fire going close to the trail (approx. 4 miles), and we could smell a little of that, but it was nothing bad. We had a last swim for lunch and then followed the trail up a hill, where we could see thick smoke crawling along the valley. Spooky stuff.Follow our journey on Instagram!
We did not have to worry about this for long, because a storm was coming through that night. I woke up in the dark and thought that smoke was coming up to us, but it was just clouds and we woke up cold and moist the next morning. All of a sudden Washington looked like in the pictures. While fine rain dribbled down on us, fresh green leaves, shiny from the water followed the trail. Numerous mushrooms of all forms and colors pushed their heads through solid earth.
Right when we packed our tent, we finally reunited with our old trail buddy OK, who left us in Lonepine to flip north and now reunited with us for the last stretch of Oregon. Frequent readers might remember him. Our American guide, “Ohio Kyle, a.k.a OK”, who we met on day 3 and hiked with for more than 60 days.
So after a big hooray, we started hiking together into a misty, foggy, rainy, and windy day. Having clouds above us and the wind redding our faces, we felt a bit like home, This weather suited us a lot, but it was also cold. For the next three days, until Snoqualmie, we should be rained on now and then. Exactly what we expected from Washington and we loved it. Especially because it lowered the fire danger and it was also something different than sunshine and a cloudless sky every day.
Coming into Snoqualmie, we picked up our resupply package, which we already prepped in Ashland, and accidentally had a Nero because we got a nice little surprise from a fellow reader and last year’s thru-hiker “QWERTY”, who sent us beer money for Dru Bru-brewery (thank you so much again!) and because we could organize a bed in the Alpine Hut. A beautiful log hut from the 1930s, that smells like mountaineering adventure in every corner.
Snoqualmie was so nice, that we did not hike out before 11 AM. Since the start of Washington, we have taken our time to enjoy every day, even though we curse the trail every now and then. This day was one of them. It was hot! The forecasted rain did not show up and we sweated like horses on this endless climb. Lucky were we, to not check anything about this section, because the views that opened in front of us were out of this world.
The most beautiful section
We finally started to understand, why Washington is known as the most beautiful state of the trail. And how lucky we are to experience the whole beauty of this state so far! Huge mountains, and glaciers in the far distance, we feel far up, even though we are just half as high as in the Sierra Nevada. Marmots and Pikas relaxing on stones, singing their songs for us, as we scramble over rock fields and across passes.
Thank you, Washington for being so beautiful. The trail is not very busy these days, everyone who flipped is down in the Sierras, most of the people we meet up here stayed Nobo and are about to finish soon.
We are caught in a wonderful and friendly bubble of hikers and enjoy seeing them. But the trail also likes to annoy us. One day we switchbacked 5 miles up a mountain, just to switchback 5 miles back down after 2 miles. Camping up there was forbidden and the views were “ok”, compared to the views we saw before. Why brag about it you might ask? Well… there is an alternative trail that leads AROUND this mountain and connects back to the PCT on the other side. We all felt quite tricked afterward, so no wonder, that we took another alternative walkaround the next day, to avoid another senseless “up and over”.
As we crossed the bridge over Waptus River, I FINALLY saw my first black bear! Far in the distance, down in the riverbed, it could have also been a giant dog, but it was my first black bear. I was very afraid to not see any before finishing this trail. And no, we didn’t even see some around Lake Tahoe!
The last night before walking down to Stevens Pass, we slept at Glacier Lake and due to a shortcut around another mountain, we camped at 5 p.m. Even though it was wet and rainy again, we sat outside with other fellow hikers, like Tiga and Hummingbird, shared some whiskey, and afterward watched the first James Bond on my smartphone, while being snuggled up in our sleeping bags. Cozyness at its best.
The last stretch of Washington is not as easy to plan as Oregon or Norcal. The average 25 miles per day shrunk down to an absolute maximum of 23. The terrain is harder and steeper. But we also decided to camp earlier, if we like a campsite, as we know we will make it out of the country before our visa expires.
Urlaub in Bavaria
Our town day in Leavenworth started with another 12 miles, that we still had to cover, before hitching into town. Originally, we wanted to be at the highway in the morning, but as I said, the trail up here is different. Leavenworth was absolutely fun for us! Everything smelled like Sauerkraut, bavarian Umpa Umpa music was played, and the houses are copied very well, all of a sudden, we were off trail and on vacation (Urlaub) in Bavaria! In my childhood, we would drive to Bavaria almost every summer. It took us 8 hours and as a small kid, I always believed that it was a foreign country, because it was so far away and people talked differently.
Well, maybe my dad drove us to Leavenworth every now and then. We accidentally answered some questions in German, because we forgot that we were still in the States. I was very curious about Leavenworth because I didn’t know if we would love or hate it. Let me say it quickly: We would recommend it to every homesick German! The German bakery across the road at Dan’s supermarket had the most accurate pieces of bread a German bakery could have, even the smell when we entered it was 100% like a German bakery. If you ever make it there, be sure to hit the bakery. Such a gem!
So much about our last 2 weeks. This journey is about to end very soon. While finishing this chapter, we are close to Stehekin and will have to hike another fire closure. The cell service out here is as bad as expected, so please be patient for our last update, it might be uploaded a bit later! So be sure to subscribe, because next time, I want to upload my post from Canada!
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