Date: Friday, 25 August 2017
Start: Camped by the trail at Mile 2526.2, 5522 ft
Finish: Camped in Suiattle Gap at Mile 2549.5, 6010 ft
Daily Miles: 23.3 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 2009.2
Weather: Cool to mild and mostly sunny
Dinner: Rehydrated chicken fried rice with vegetables
Aches: Nothing new, but plenty of old.
Highlight: Even though I was very tired at the end of a long day, I appreciated the beautiful old growth forest dappled with orange evening sunshine as I hiked through it.
Lowlight: Not sure what the problem was, but I really struggled through the late morning, even though the trail was easy. I felt weak and uncoordinated and very tired and unmotivated. Washington has been tough and I think I need some time off to let the body recover a little. I do have Sunday off in Stehekin, which I’m looking forward to, but I think my body needs a longer break (haven’t had two consecutive days off hiking in nine weeks), so I’m eagerly anticipating the five days I will have off between Canada and resuming in the High Sierras.
Pictures: Click here when they can be uploaded which may not be until September 1st because of low Wi-Fi bandwidth and no mobile phone coverage.
Today was symmetrical and I reached two landmarks. The landmarks were my 2000th mile of the hike and the end of my fourth month of hiking (actually yesterday, but near enough). The last 1000 has definitely passed more quickly than the first, but the 670 miles remaining still seems daunting.
The symmetry was provided by a morning of descending from 6000 ft to cross the Suiattle River at 2300 ft and then an afternoon of climbing back up to 6000 ft. Both the descent and ascent were steady rather than steep and mercifully there weren’t too many soul-destroying switchbacks.
After a very cold night, I woke to a tent flysheet covered with a thin layer of ice and frost on the ground. It’s no fun packing up in those conditions, and I was very pleased to get moving on the trail. The first hour was above the treeline with great views of the rocky partially snow-covered surrounding mountains, though the cold wet undergrowth which encroached on the trail meant I soon had very wet boots and damp socks. I guess I could have stopped and put on my rainpants, but I couldn’t be bothered. From there the trail descended into the forest and that’s pretty much where it remained for the balance of the day. Of course, the forest changed as the elevation changed, and there were deciduous trees near the river at the lowest point, but much of the day was spent passing through beautiful groves of giant conifer trees (redwoods?) on the usual pine-needle covered trail with mossy rocks, fallen trees, and many kinds of lichen.
Tomorrow I have 20 miles to High Bridge Ranger Station. From there I plan to get a shuttle to the Stehekin Valley Ranch where I have booked a basic cabin for two nights. I emailed the Ranch and told them I would be there for the 5:15pm shuttle, and should make that comfortably as the trail seems easier tomorrow with no massive climbs. I’m looking forward to some different food and a day off.