Monday, September 7, 2009

Last Day Video

Recorded this rap in the rain when we were 5 miles from Snoqualmie Pass. It took me 2 weeks to put the lyrics together. Nothing else to do on the trail but walk and let your mind wander.

September 6th – Twilight Lake to Snoqualmie Pass

Couldn’t sleep last night. Lost a lot of sleep because I kept thinking about the fact that we no longer have to hike after today and my hip muscles were aching all night. Rain clouds unloaded all they had on us this morning around 4:00. Two hours of heavy rain tempted Tori and I to sit and wait it out but it all ended around 6:30. Thank God! We were not looking forward to walking home in a downpour. Well, rain or shine, we only had to walk ten miles and it would all be over with.

As we arrived at the top of the Snoqualmie ski area and looked down at the pass below us….I began to feel a little weird. I couldn’t believe that we were really home – really ending our trip. The peaks surrounding the pass looked very foreign to me though I had seen them all many times before. Thick rain clouds broke up around the peaks and floated eerily through the pass. It was so hard to believe that we were really here. Even more….it was tough to believe that we actually walked here from the Mexican border.

Tori and I took a couple of pictures, yodeled a bunch, and kissed a bunch more before walking down to the Family Pancake House to stuff ourselves one last time.


September 5th – Road Laced Crest Saddle to Twilight Lake

Yep, we have bad rain. This sucks ass. Everything was wet today. Everything! I don’t handle cold and wet conditions very well. I turn into a snot-nosed little punk – full of moans, groans, aches, pains, and complaints. After four hours of hiking, we stopped at a road for lunch. Decided we needed a hot meal in our bellies so I sparked up the stove. While the water boiled, I got a little campfire going so that we could get a bit of warmth and hopefully dry our shirts.

Train Wreck and Moneyshot arrived just as we were getting ready to leave. They experienced the same wet and cold conditions so we left the fire with them to enjoy.
Was tough to keep going today. I just wanted to stop. Tori didn’t complain at all and that encouraged me to shut my mouth and suck up the misery. I knew that it would all be over eventually.

Arrived at Twilight Lake around 8:30 this evening. No Trace and Unbreakable we occupying the only campsite in the marshy terrain surrounding the lake. Thankfully, they invited us to squeeze our little tent into a small patch of open ground next to theirs. They also had a nice little fire blazing when we arrived so we were able to dry out a bit before heading to bed.


September 4th – Chinook Pass to Road Laced Crest Saddle

Woke up to fairly clear skies. Dawn greeted us with a dream-like sky filled with orange tinted clouds surrounded by bits of blue. Couldn’t tell if the color of the sky meant we were in for good weather, bad weather, or if we were still asleep.
As luck would have it, the skies cleared and we hiked until noon with beautiful blue skies. Great views of Rainier as we hiked along a ridge just east of Crystal Mountain ski resort. I love seeing that glaciated peak. Forgot how grand it is.
I’m getting sick of eating tuna wrapped in a tortilla shell. After this trip, I will not eat tuna for a very long time. Four months of tuna for lunch has ruined my taste for the chicken of the sea.

Sometime around 4:30, we arrived at Government Meadows and found a group of thru-hikers resting on the porch of a large cabin/shelter. We chatted with them for a bit and found out that our friends Sarbar and Hoosierdaddy were visiting the shelter just hours earlier. They came by to drop off snacks, beer, sodas and other random trail magic. Dang! Running into them would’ve been fun. Thanks for the trail magic though! All of us thru-hikers really appreciated it!

Cooked dinner at the shelter then moved on 7.5 more miles to our home for the evening. Drizzle started as we got the tent set up. I hope we don’t have bad rain tomorrow.


September 3rd – White Pass to Chinook Pass

Fell asleep quickly last night after our Lasagna party. Two big plates of pasta & garlic bread combined with five Alaskan Ambers did me in. Sleep went well until thunder and lightning woke me up sometime around 1:00. Never really managed to get back to sleep after that mess.

Managed to check out of the ski lodge and hit the trail with Peter Shaw (Peanut Eater) by 7:30. We sort of hiked with him throughout the day. Our speed was a bit quicker than his so we eventually separated. We hoped to complete 27 miles today so we needed to push it faster than he did.

Saw a few elk. Man, those are some magnificent animals. I always thought they looked like the spawn of an accidental mating between a horse and a deer. Not the most graceful animals when they go crashing through the brush. Sound a bit like a fat kid tumbling in a thicket.

The weather cleared up a bit for us later in the day. Hiked down to Chinook Pass during the rise of a full moon. My left pinky toe hurt like hell today. I hope it can handle 3 more days of this.


September 2nd – Trail 96 Junction to White Pass

Woke up to perfectly clear skies today. Yes! I was so excited because today was the day we were going to be going through the heart of Goat Rocks Wilderness – an area I had always wanted to visit, but had never got around to it. We were also going to be on some very rugged, exposed tread, so good weather would allow more ease with travel. We were surprised to still find snow on Old Snowy (I guess I should have figured by the name!). Since we hit the snow traverse first thing in the morning, it was quite hard packed and icy. The snow brought back memories of the High Sierra passes, only this time we didn’t have ice axes or crampons. Lucikly, the snowfield wasn’t too steep and there was a wide boot path across the snow – we just had to take it slowly. Next we came to the infamous “Knife Edge” – a 1 mile section of trail that runs along the top of a very narrow ridge. Not only was the trail VERY exposed, but it was also steep with loose gravel (my least favorite kind of terrain). I was scared to death – especially looking forward and seeing where the trail was going. Tom somehow managed to talk me through the trail and we made it across the Knife Edge without any incidents. I was very thankful to have survived and to have had good weather. I couldn’t imagine doing that section of trail during a storm. Eeek! The views from the Knife’s Edge were incredible – Mt. Rainier was in our face and there were lots of snow-capped mountains nearby. Probably one of the prettiest places I’ve been in Washington. Too bad I was so busy looking down at my feet. 

After a tough day of hiking, we rolled into White Pass about an hour before the gas station/store was closing. We ran into our friend Peter Shaw (aka Peanut Eater) whom we hadn’t seen since Sisters. He’s probably the one hiker we have seen throughout the trail – first meeting him way back in Julian, CA, then again in Idyllwild, Mammoth Lakes, Sierra City, and lastly in Sisters. We picked up our package and filled in the missing food items with purchases from the store. Upon recommendation of Mike, we decided to get a room at the White Pass Inn next to the gas station. There were 3 bunk beds so we invited Peter to join us. Basically, the Inn was ski condos that are rented out on a nightly basis. Each room has a kitchenette, so we bought a frozen lasagna and garlic break and cooked up a feast in our little room. Mike and Naomi were staying in a room close by and they had also bought lasagna and garlic bread. After showers, we hosted a little party in our room feasting on lasagna and garlic bread. It was great to “host” people again – almost felt like we were having a dinner party at home.


September 1st – Muddy Fork Camp to Trail 96 Junction

Had some light rain over night, but things seemed to be clearing up by the time we woke up. We were thankful since we were headed toward Goat Rocks Wilderness – an area known for beautiful scenery (at least when the weather is nice). The views kept getting better as the day went on – lots of jagged mountain peaks, alpine meadows, and charming creeks. We felt like we were back in the German/Austrian Alps. Ended the day at a fantastic campsite with a great view looking back at Mt. Adams. One of the best parts of thru-hiking is looking back from where you have come and seeing how far you walked in just one day. It was crazy to think we had camped just next to Mt. Adams the previous night and now it already looked quite a distance away.


August 31st – Spring near Big Mosquito Lake to Muddy Fork Camp

Met up with another thru-hiking couple, Mike and Naomi, today – leapfrogged with them on the trail most of the day. The trail took us near Mt. Adams which was cool to look at when the clouds weren’t blocking the view. Got hit with some light rain sprinkles toward the end of the day. Had a bit of a sketchy crossing of the river coming off the Adams glacier, but we survived - minus wet and cold feet. Found a great campsite near the Muddy Fork – right near the creek. Since it was the only campsite nearby, Mike and Naomi joined us as well.


August 30th – Cascade Locks to Spring near Big Mosquito Lake

We hated to give up the comfy bed and warm room at the Best Western, but the trail was calling our name – we only have 8 more days left of hiking (not that we are counting or anything ;-)). Due to needing to be to Snoqualmie Pass by September 6th, we asked Dicentra to give us a ride to Crest Campground, skipping a viewless, boring 51 mile section of trail. This ride allows us to be a little more relaxed on the trail and not have to pull out the mega miles the next 8 days. Thanks Di for the ride (and Sarbar for the navigating) – we really appreciate it!

The rest of the day was pretty boring hiking, but luckily went by fast. We saw our first elk of the trip – amazing how as soon as we cross into Washington, we see elk. Lucked out with some more trail magic – Water and Bucket (AT ’07) had come out to Road 24 for the day. We arrived about 6pm and they were just starting to clean up after a busy day of trail magic. We got there just in time - along with 4 other thru-hikers, so we cleaned Water and Bucket of all their remaining food – including hot dogs, bacon, breakfast sausages, yellow watermelon, Hostess cupcakes, donut holes, chips, and soda/beer. Managed to just spend just an hour at the trail magic and made it a couple more miles until dark. Found a spot in a meadow near Big Mosquito Lake. Luckily, the lake didn’t live up to it’s name – the bugs weren’t too bad.


August 29th – Cascade Locks

Today was PCT day at Cascade Locks. Hikers from ahead on the trail hitched back and hikers from behind on the trail hitched forward. Luckily, we hit the Locks just at the right time and didn’t have to hitch. PCT day is a celebration of the PCT – lots of time to catch up with fellow hikers, meet new people, and talk with vendors. Our friends Sarbar, Dicentra, and Jared came up for the day along with their kiddos Ford and Maddy. It was so good to see friend from back home – it has been a LONG time without seeing anybody from “home”. The day was perfectly chill – just hanging out with good friends and gabbing endlessly. The night ended with a movie showing by Squatch and a photography presentation by Nabor J.