9.2.18. 25.8 miles.
I woke up naturally at 5:30 this morning, though tried to make myself sleep a little more, until starting to get ready at 5:50. I was hiking by 6:30, and the sun was rising through the trees. It was a little chilly this morning, so I put on the new layer I sent to myself at Cascade Locks: a thermal weight hooded Patagonia base layer with a quarter zip. I figured this would be good for moving warmth and to sleep in if it was really cold. It did well, though I was hiking uphill soon enough and I needed to take it off bc I was also in the sun.
I had an amazing view pretty early on of Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Adams, AND Mt. Rainier. I couldn’t believe I could see Rainier, and I teared up seeing that mountain. To explain how much I love that mountain is a long story, but I’ve basically been infatuated with it ever since moving to Seattle for college. UW has a walkway called “Rainier Vista” which is a beautiful tree-lined pathway with a large fountain at the bottom. Some of the most beautiful buildings on campus flank this path, and the most grand sight of all: Mt. Rainier looms large over the scene. I always knew it would be a good day if I could see the mountain. Every time I saw it, I would get a flutter of excitement and happiness in my chest. The view simply never got old, even though I looked at it almost every day for 4 years. So, seeing Rainier this morning got me quite emotional. I really felt like I was in Washington.
After a little bit of uphill, there was a long descent. I passed by Excel, DHS, Jinx, and Twinkle Toes in their tents still, and continued down the hill. Next, was a steep climb up. Washington has not been warmly welcoming. It is very different than Oregon. We’re back to long, steep ascents and descents. There was a stream in the middle of the climb, where I stopped to fill up water and eat a snack. Once at the top of the climb, I ate lunch on a dirt road where I had service. After lunch, I went right back down. These miles seemed to take forever. I’m usually pretty sluggish after lunch, and you know it’s bad if downhill and flat miles seem to take forever. However, I did cover good ground, it just didn’t feel like it. I stopped at a river to filter a little water and I soaked my feet, scrubbed the dirt off my ankles, and rinsed a pair of socks. It was only 2.5 miles until the next water source, but I was out of water, and I figured I’d fill up for dinner at the next river, since there was a huge climb after the last source.
Before the next river, I stopped at a forest service campground to use the pit toilet and throw away some trash, before going along to the river and filtering more water. I ran into the crew there, and also Sprinkles and her partner, Burps. I haven’t seen them since around the Shasta area! It was nice to run into them and catch up. Burps wasn’t feeling too well. I hope he gets better soon! After filling up on water, where a ton of people happened to be, and late in the day, it was kind of a race to the campsites along the climb. You always know when there’s people congregated at a water source towards the end of the day, you’re going to by vying for spots with these people. I was the last to leave the water, and after a steep 1,600 ft ascent in 3.5 miles, I was the last to arrive at the first tent site. Luckily, I was able to squeeze my tent in a spot next to the dirt road. Patches and her dad were also at this site! It was nice to talk to them again. I got to camp around 7:30, and I realized that’s just too late now that I’m cooking dinners again. It gets dark so fast now, and I’d like to be done with dinner when it’s still light out.