Limping on in Washington
Day 23: 16 miles. Snoqualmie Pass – Campspot at mile 275
We were sleeping in an amazing house in our own spacious rooms and had fresh bread and coffee for breakfast. Our hosts joined us for the first few miles of the hike and they drove us from Seattle to Snoqualmie pass. The friend who had carried my gaiters for 250 miles and left them at the hostel had left them in the hiker box – and of course they were no longer there. The hiker boxes are full of free stuff that hikers no longer want to have and are free to grab by anyone.
It was a hot day again and I was sweatting my ass off already at the first skihill up. In top the hosts offered us some cold beer before they headed back. The other ones in my group smoked even some pot. Still they were walking faster than me. We met up at Mirror Lake for lunch and some quick drop in the lake. Some hikers were very curious about the PCT and gave us some tips and antihistamine for the mosquito bites, since all mosquito repellents had been sold out at REI.
The hike went on mostly in forests and although there was some elevation change there were no crazy big climbs. I came to the camp a bit after 7 p.m. and the others were already there. We ate dinner and drank some Fireball and discusting Peanut shots before heading to our tents early.
Day 24: 22 miles. Campspot at mile 275 – Dirt road at mile 297.2
I woke up at 04.30 by some helicopters flying above. It turned out there is a fire just 30 miles from us. We were not sure yet how that should influence our hike.
I started hiking first and we planned our water outtake for the day. This day we had the longest water carry so far. At first we had to carry water for 7 miles and from there it is a 12 miles carry – with several hundred feet climbing and the weather being very hot. I put on some music and just crashed the 7 miles. I was the first one at the stream where we planned to take a “megabreak”. The other ones were tired. We were mostly walking in forests so it wasn’t as bad as the previous days. I also took a short break every hour.
I took a nap at the stream and when I woke up it was super hot. I left the stream at 3 p.m. slightly after the others. It was a lot of slow climbing but unusually I was ahead of the others. We were at first planning to crash the whole 25 miles but we came to a dirt road that hade some places for tents, had a dinner unromantically by the non-trafficked road and then just were too tired to continue. I set up my tent right next to the road on some bushes. The camp was 3.9 miles from the next stream and we had only little water left so we needed to get up early to get breakfast by the water.
Day 25: Dirtroad at mile 297- Tentsite at mile 318
I woke up after five when a car passed by the dirtoad by which I was sleeping and it was spilling sand on me.
We started the day with hiking uphill and then having some awesome views over Mt. Rainier and blue mountains. I joined the others and only had breakfast by the stream later because I was running out of water. Our day was timed by the scarce watersources: a break at the Mike Urich cabin, a lunch by the next stream, camping at the next one. By the cabin we saw our first lamas on the trail.
The lunchplace was in the middle of a vast burnarea and there was no shade. After that we were walking for hours through the burned forest and the sun was hot. A lot of nobos passed us and we chatted with many of them. Our group came up that we should name our gang with something and Rebound suggested the Dolphine Gang. We were gagging because it was such a stupid name. In the end we suggested one of us to have the trail name “Dolphine number three”, obviously there would not be Dolphine number one or two.
The trail was going up to 6200 feet where the tentsite was, but the uphills were quite smooth. The sand and rocks were pretty heavy on ones feet compared to walking in forests. Everything got really dirty, though, and if you tried to wash your legs in a stream they would be dirty again before getting up from the stream. I walked 0.2 miles to wash my socks (they never get clean like that anyway so it is hopeless) but I dropped them and my waterbag in the sand when I returned to the camp. Thruhiking is trash forever.
Day 26: 20 miles. Tentsite at mile 318 – Two Lakes Trail tentsite.
I woke up at night when my tent collapsed on me in the wind. Apparently Rebounds tent had also collapsed and Crocs hammockstraps snapped and he had to sleep on the ground, so there had been a lot of action at the camp that night.
My ankles were sore but I ignored that and kept on hiking the amazingly beautiful trails with views of Mt Rainier getting closer and closer. There were a lot of rolling stones and I kind of twisted my ankle. We got to Chinook pass and got to throw away the garbage. It was quite hot and sunny and my ankle started to feel really sore with all the roots and stones on the path. We had a break by the Sheep Lake and there were some agressive birds that took a bite of my tortilla from my hand. Crocs toenail also suddenly just fell off. The birds were making Rebound scared since he has a severe ornitophobia that makes him see chicken everywhere if he panicks. Doldphine number three found this really funny and was crylaughing again about Rebounds phobia.
I came to Dewey lake later than the rest and was the only one to take a swim. Skratch gave me some bandage for my foot and I kept on limping. The trail was beautiful but a nightmare for a twisted ankle with a lot of rocks and climbing. That was one of the worst mosquito areas so far. The other ones agreed to camp earlier than planned because of my leg. Croc and Rebound were even waiting for me by the trail to check that I was still moving.
I came to the tentsite around half past seven and set up my tent next to the others. I drank my emergency whisky and decided to take a sleepmorning to let my feet more time to heal.
Day 27: 17 miles. Two Lakes Tentsite – Sand Lake
We had a “sleep in” morning, which in practice meant we woke up by 7 a.m. I wasn’t going to hike as far as the rest of the gang because of my injured ankle.
The first half of the trail was perfect and all in all the trail itself was the easiest to walk so far – if you don’t consider the mosquitoes. I was listening an entertaining audiobook about The Continental Divide Trail.
After a dip in Snow Lake the mosquitoes got so bad I couldn’t make any breaks even if I had my mosquito net, windpants, rainjacket and mosquito spray on. They always managed to find a way to bite through a hole or my clothes. I would say these mosquitoes were worse than in Northern Sweden in July, which is pretty bad. Since The PCT doesn’t have any huts there is no way of escaping the mozzies except for setting up your tent. I ate my dinner walking around at the same time and hid away myself in my tent at 7 p.m. killing hundreds of mosquitoes that got into the tent just in the few seconds it took to throw my stuff and myself inside the tent. The rest of the gang had made it all the way to the next resupply place, White Pass, that was just three miles away from my camp. I kept my principle to always nero, never zero, that is have days when you only do a few trail miles but no days when you don’t do any trail miles.
Day 28: 2.8 miles. Sand Lake to White Pass
I walked one hour down to The White Pass and of course the whole gang was sitting at the gas station that lets hikers do their laundry and get a shower at an overprice. I did that too and then we wanted to get to Packwood to eat some food. Croc and Pocahontas already had a ride after 45 minutes of hitching, but Dolphine nb 3 and Rebound gave up after just ten minutes of hopeless hitching. Five minutes later Skratch gave in too so I was hitchiking alone. Only five minutes from that a nice Mexican Javier stopped his truck and gave me a ride. As I walked through the city of Packwood I saw Croc walking on the street. He and Pocahontas were offered food, beer and a place to stay by a person who had received some hospitality in the UK back in the day, so as Pocahontas is British they wanted to give him the national good karma back.
Unfortunately nobody had ever met a Finnish person or got any services from then so after our brewery visit I went alone to a Mexican restaurant. There was a sign saying every Thursday from 4 to 5 El Mariachi will come and play at the venue. I had no idea what day it was but I looked at my watch and it said it is 10 to 4 and a Thursday. Ten minutes later a fancy Mexican band walks in and gives a great concerto. That really made my day.
On the way back to White Pass a truck stopped again – and it was Javier again. I surely earned some good Mexican karma this day.
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I am really enjoying reading this, you show how this is very difficult and rewarding. Good luck and happy hiking!
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