Date: Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Start: Camped by the trail at Mile 2361.0, 3875 ft
Finish: Where the PCT crosses State Highway 906 in Snoqualmie Pass at Mile 2390.6, 2995 ft
Daily Miles: 29.4 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 1850.3
Weather: Mild to warm and partly sunny
Accommodation: Room at Summit Inn motel, Snoqualmie Pass
Dinner: Cheeseburger & fries, ice-cream
Aches: Very tired feet.
Highlight: Getting to Snoqualmie Pass ahead of schedule and getting a full day off
Lowlight: Very rocky and rough trail in the last eight miles was tiring and tough on the feet
Pictures: Click here
I slept in a little, and didn’t start hiking until 6:30am on a mild and sunny day. The plan for the day was to hike about 24 miles, leaving about 6 miles tomorrow morning to get to Snoqualmie Pass and the Summit Inn, where I have a room booked, in time for breakfast.
The early hiking was through beautiful and eerie old redwood forest, with the ground and trail carpeted with pine needles, but sadly this didn’t last all day. Later the trail passed through many areas that had been logged at various times in the past, with the vegetation was often scrappy and scrubby, and sometimes overgrowing the trail. There were also lots of forest roads to cross along with several major powerline easements. In places it went up and down like a rollercoaster, sometimes steep enough to temporarily halt my forward progress. None of the climbs and descents were really long, but they were hard work and the few hikers I met along the way were all complaining about them. It was hard to understand where you were in relation to the topography, and I often wondered whether the trail could have been routed better to go around, rather than over, some of the small mountains, few of which had any views.
Overall though, I think this section just provides a route to the mountains north of Snoqualmie, and does not pass any particular points of interest. Later in the afternoon, it did climb up past the beautiful Mirror Lake, after which the trail became very rocky and uneven for long stretches, hard work at the end of a long day. Nevertheless, I reached my target stream and campsite by 6:30pm, but when I got there the stream was barely flowing and the tentsite was occupied. I decided to continue another mile or so to another tentsite, but it was also occupied.
It was now only five miles to Snoqualmie Pass, and I could hear the distant noise of traffic on the highway through the Pass. I checked my watch, 7:15pm, and finding I had mobile phone coverage, decided to call the motel I was booked into for tomorrow night to see if I could also get a room for tonight. It seemed possible to get there before total darkness, and it saved me making, and breaking, camp for a night when I had only a short distance tomorrow. I calculated I could get to the motel by 9:00pm, and maybe a little earlier, depending on the quality of the trail. The motel receptionist said I could have a room, but when I enquired about the restaurant closing time, she told me it was 9:00pm. She then offered to pre-order my food, and I asked for a cheeseburger and fries to be ready at 9:00pm.
I then put my head down to make good time to the Pass, though my feet were tired from the pounding on the frequently rough rocky surface. Unfortunately, much of the remaining trail was also rocky, and the gathering dusk required care not to stumble ….. the last thing I needed. I just reached the top of the ski fields, and open terrain, above the Pass as it got too dark to see the trail in the forest, and was greeted with the welcome lights of the small settlement in the valley below. I descended as fast as I could safely, and reached the Summit Inn at 9:02pm, just as the restaurant manager delivered a take-away package containing my cheeseburger and fries to the front desk. Perfect timing! I was checked in by the helpful receptionist who also gave me the parcels of food from Walmart that I had ordered for the next leg of my hike. I quickly made a trip to the adjacent service station, which closed at 10:00pm, to purchase some drinks and ice-cream, and then returned to my room to eat. Later, I had a shower, and despite the late hour, decided to do my laundry so I had clean clothes, and less to do, tomorrow. As I write this, it has just passed midnight, and I’m ready for bed and a relaxing day tomorrow, but feel very satisfied with my efforts today. Thirty miles with a pack on tough trail was a good effort.