My Trail Legs Are Coming!

Day 18
Miles: 14

We left Skykomish at about 2pm. I bought snacks for resupplies because I still had 3 days of meals left, but I needed more snacks. We are planning to be in Snoqualmie in four days. I also bought the best brownie I’ve ever eaten from the deli in Skykomish.

It didn’t take long to hitch out of Skykomish. Nemo, Trash Panda and I met Goofy, Salty and Shaggy at Steven’s pass to make a plan together.

Now, this might be a little too much information but I wanted to share that no matter who you are, the other hikers have your back. I went to the bathroom at the trailhead and realized I had started my period – I had completely forgot to buy tampons in Skykomish, I was so focused on food. Explaining my situation to my group, Nemo went right off to asking random women if they had tampons. So I quickly followed her to the other side of the highway.

Meanwhile, Salty had explained my situation to a Steven’s Pass employee and he went to get tampons and pads for me. I was so grateful, but I knew the four tampons wouldn’t be enough to last until getting to Snoqualmie.

We all started hiking and I started booking it. I knew I had to catch up with Happy Dance and Second. That morning Happy Dance mentioned always carrying extra period products. Well, Goofy had the same idea as me and when I caught up to him he already had tampons from Happy Dance in his hands. I’m telling you I almost cried and I definitely hugged him. I’m so  to my new friends taking care of me.

I felt so silly and I was being so hard on myself, I need to plan better and not have others to fix my problems for me. But we’re all in this together, we all want each other to succeed. I’m so happy they both helped me and I could not ask for a better hiking family.

The rest of the evening was quite uneventful in comparison. We got to camp at about 9pm but it was a beautiful, snowy spot by a lake. Goofy and I cooked dinner next to my tent. I shared my brownie that I purchased in Skykomish with him and Salty, just as a small thank you for helping me with my tampon fiasco.

Day 19
Miles: 21

I had a pretty late start today, waking up at 6am, ate in my tent and got packed up and ready to go by 7:30am. It was a music day, I plugged in my headphones and started dancing away. Coming to the first uphill of the day, it did not look welcoming. All snow and a vertical uphill. Luckily, I was wrong and the climb was to my right.

At about mile 9 there was this gigantic river crossing. Hikers that already crossed for the day stayed to help the ones behind them. And it was a good thing too. Luckily, Moose had his arm outstretched to me because as soon as I took a step into the river, the current took my legs out from under me and Moose was able to pull me in. I couldn’t thank him enough for saving me from being washed away. Naturally, Trash Panda made it across with only getting a little wet.

Just like the others before us, we decided to wait for Nemo and Shaggy just in case they needed help as well. They both made it across safely with minimal help and then we all sat on a rock eating, chatting, and letting our shoes dry out before continuing the last 12 miles of the day.

These 20 mile days are long and hard. At about mile 15 my feet are just toast. Trash Panda and I took a wrong turn and went down a different trail for about a quarter mile. But then after that it was (mostly) smooth sailing. The last river crossing of the day, I slipped off of a rock and submerged both of my dry boots into the water. I needed to take the time to take off my boots and cross barefoot, but I wanted to get to camp. So by that mistake I’m going to have wet boots in the morning.

There also was another field of blow downs that Crunchy and I maneuvered through. But, since it was near the end of the day and my body was so tired, I got a little beat up.

I walked with Crunchy, Nemo and Shaggy into camp and to my delight Happy Dance and Second were there too! I just sat down, took my wet boots and socks off and sat there. My feet hurt. The blisters peeled from being in wet shoes the last few miles, I still can’t feel my left big toe, and my right big toe nail is starting to hurt. They feel restless and are sore. Tomorrow is going to be a rough day. But we’ll soon take a zero in Snoqualmie. My feet and legs need it. Just 38 miles to go.

Day 20
Miles: 23

I woke up later than yesterday! As Travis was leaving I told him I’d meet him 10 miles in, right after the up hill. I was listening to music and dancing the 9 miles up and was too distracted to notice the arrow of rocks, the two sticks in the ground and Travis himself calling out to me.

I might be slow on the uphills, but I can make up the time on the downs. Travis said the only reason he caught up to me was because I stopped and talked to some section hikers. I also met the NOBO hiker Saws Logs, he seemed so burnt out and I tried to encourage him to be excited about the hiking through the North Cascades. I hope he has some better days.

Travis and I ate a late lunch on a bridge and as I was putting on my pack I dropped my knife and it fell perfectly between the gap in the bridge. Travis, being the wonderful human he is, went down under the bridge to try and look for it. Neither of us could spot it and we needed to get moving.

We had another 2000 foot climb, this one was not as bad at the first but I was so tired. We passed a beautiful waterfall, and then met the NOBO hiker Nugget. Nugget was the opposite of Saws Logs, he was so excited to be hiking and feeling emotional that his journey was coming to an end.

We made it to the campsite, again fairly late, after going to the pass. The sun setting made the clouds rolling in on the mountain peaks look other worldly.

I’ve really appreciated Travis hiking into camp with me, because I’m so tired of being the last one into camp everyday. We met Salty’s friend, Alpine and they point us to what looks like a nice sandy spot to set up our tents. It was wet and mushy. I was ready to just pitch my tent wherever I was so drained. We did decided to press on a little further in order to find a better camp spot. We found one directly across from where our friends were camping, there were less bugs, and it was surrounded by trees! The others came by and chatted while Travis and I set up camp. We were soon in our tents cooking and eating. Then I quickly drifted off to sleep, dreaming of sitting in a hot tub in Snoqualmie.

Day 21
Miles: 15

Today is the day I arrive in Snoqualmie. I tried to get up early, but it’s just not in me. I began hiking and I was immediately engulfed in fog. Supposedly, I was walking through beautiful views but I was instead hiking in my puffy. Finally the fog broke for one moment and I was able to see this beautiful view of Mt. Reiner – and then back into the fog.

I had caught up to the hiker Pigeon, and we hiked together for a couples miles. I really love hiking and talking with others. I’ve said this before but the miles fly by! We get to a snow patch and see that other hikers have slid(?) down below the snow and climbed back to the trail. So away we went. Pigeon slid/fell down the first part, and said his dignity was lost. Fortunately for him, as I was climbing up towards the trail on the other side, some rocks slipped beneath my foot and I slipped some feet down. Both of our dignities lost, we continued down the trail.

Pigeon stopped to call a friend about getting a new hiking pole when we reached cell service and I continued on. I met Michaela, a young woman who was hiking this section. I asked if she wanted to hike together and we chatted up a storm the last 5 miles into town! It feels really good to laugh and be so personable with others right away.

I waited for Meghan and Shaggy to get to the trailhead and we arrived at the Snoqualmie Summit Inn. There were so many SOBOs there! We got our rooms, did laundry, and took our showers. As Meghan and I were walking out of the Inn to head to the brewery where the other hikers were settled, we were joined by Happy Dance and Lambo. We sat down with about 14 other hikers, laughing and enjoying the beer from Dru Bru.

It was a wonderful night getting to know the other SOBOs. We stayed up late trading food and then eventually Meghan and I retired to our room and we both fell asleep quickly.

Day 22
Miles: 0

My first zero! I’ve done some pretty low mileage before, but this was my first official zero.

I woke up at 7:30 and most of the hikers were rolling into breakfast. I had pancakes with strawberries, blueberries, bananas and walnuts on them. It was so delicious!

After breakfast, Meghan and I were picked up by a friend of mine as to avoid spending more money at the Snoqualmie Hotel. I was a little frustrated with them as they tried to say we weren’t charged enough the day before, and so they tried to charge us more on top of already charging us more because it’s a weekend. They said we got a “discounted rate”, but before the PCT, I’ve never heard of a hotel charging per person instead of per room. So they lost our business for that day.

Meghan, Goofy, Shaggy and I ran errands all day. Shaggy and I needed new shoes, my boots were getting heavy at the end of each day and Shaggy put a hole in his shoes. Goofy and Meghan needed to resupply at a grocery store because the little town store was so expensive.

It was also determined that I needed to eat more fats in order to stop losing so much weight, so we were on the hunt for oil packets, sausage, cheese and nuts. In case anyone is curious – we found coconut oil packets at Trader Joe’s, and Goofy found olive oil packets at Walmart. But if anyone has a recommendations on how to pack out other oils, I’d really appreciate it. Initially, I used a shampoo bottle and it leaked (luckily I had the foresight to put it in a plastic bag).

While shopping for my fats, we decided we were going to make mango curry for dinner. It was pretty simple to make and it was delicious. Again, I’m surprised I’ve had the chance to eat homemade food while on trail but I’m loving it! We had leftover mangos so we blended it with coconut milk and made a smoothie which was also very good. For dessert we had freshly picked blueberries and raspberries.

In the meantime, Meghan and I sorted through our food. I got rid of a lot of the carbs I’ve been eating. They’re good, but they’re not filling me up. I’m hoping these new food choices will leave me hiking better and feeling stronger.

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Comments 6

  • thetentman : Jul 27th

    Peanut butter gives good calories and energy. Look up Citadel Spread.

    Thx for the post. Good luck.

    • thetentman : Jul 27th

      Citadel Spread

      18 oz jar Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter
      2-4 oz Bacon Grease (residue from 6-8 slices)
      1/2 cup honey
      2-4 cups granular powdered milk (Carnation)

      Add milk and stir until the mix gets crunchy. Put in pint plastic freezer containers. It will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely; it keeps for at least three weeks unrefrigerated.

      As a confirmed meat-eater I might put the actual bacon in the mix and add Carnation Chocolate Malt powder for fun. Frank’s Hot sauce also goes well with the spread.

      • Morgan Balog : Jul 27th

        That is a wild concoction!! I would never have imagined those ingredients together but I’m definitely going to try it!! Thank you for the advice. I’m really learning something new everyday out here.

        • thetentman : Jul 28th

          Glad I could help. Let us know how it works.


  • Robert : Jul 28th

    One more idea for adding oils to your meals. Many Subway Sandwich stores will give you small packs of olive oil if you ask.

    • Morgan Balog : Jul 28th

      That is awesome!! I’ll definitely keep this in mind, thank you for your input!!


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