9.18.18. 28.1 miles.
Wow. Today was pretty dang hard, but also one of the most, if not the most, beautiful days on trail. My alarm went off at 5 this morning, more of a way to get me stirring earlier. I got up pretty much right away though bc I needed to go to the bathroom. After slowly changing and packing up, I was hiking by 6:15.
I started off climbing first thing, and had the most amazing views. I thought I’d be in the clouds since it was so foggy at the lake, but I was above them, and so was Glacier Peak and Mt. Rainier. The sky was cloudless above the sea of fog that settled into the valley, and it was amazing.
I descended for a few more miles before getting to water and taking a break to filter and eat a snack. As I started descending, I went into that sea of fog, but the way the sun lit up the fog and steamed though the trees was like the heavens shining on earth. Right after, there was a climb up to the ridge. The climb wasn’t too bad, and I went up pretty quickly. I saw Sprinkles & Burps at Lake Sally Ann, a beautiful alpine like with crystal clear water and chatted with them for a minute before continuing another mile uphill to my lunch spot on the top of a ridge, with plenty of sunshine to dry out my tent. Sprinkles & Burps joined me a few minutes later and we enjoyed lunch together with our magnificent view of Glacier Peak.
After lunch, I descended for a bit, and while I was hiking along I heard the loudest noise ever: military jets flying overhead. I’d been hearing them a lot the last few days (which is really annoying and kinda ruins the whole backcountry experience). But this one flew right over where I was standing, and I caught a picture of it. I wish they wouldn’t fly in wilderness areas (and SO close to the ground), but I can’t imagine what the view looks like for these pilots. Probably pretty awesome.
After the jet interaction, the trail eventually started climbing again, steep in some parts, more gradual in others. At the top of this climb I noticed something more acutely: how much new snow/ frost had fallen and accumulated on the mountains, and even near the trail. Mostly at places above 5,000 ft, and most noticeable above 6,500 ft. Still, makes me slightly nervous for bad weather. Once reaching the top of a pass, there was a long, nearly 7 mile descent to the camp I wanted. It was a long evening, and the forest was so thick and the mountains so high, that it was pretty dark walking around the forest, even before the sun set.
I couldn’t wait to get horizontal in my tent. Today was tiring, and I haven’t walked that many miles in a day in Washington yet. Tomorrow will probably be another bigger day, with another early wake up call.