Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 146-Leaving Snoqualmie

From Snoqualmie Pass at mile 2402 to mile 2421

Portrait's Uncle dropped us off where he found us, at the gas station, just before ten. We said our good-byes and thank yous then headed down the road to our trail. It felt good to be underway again, and I felt good. Tendons were wrapped and felt almost like new. My belly was full of homemade waffles-which would get me a fair ways up the six mile up hill that we had to start with.

The first climb was felt alright. It was well graded, the tread was smooth, and for the beginning it was rather cool out. We crossed a lot of little streams so I stopped at one two swap my town water for two liters of cold mountain water.

We left the treed and stream filled part of the climb behind about a mile from the top. The views opened up. Steep jagged peaks were everywhere. It looked very different than before the pass. Suddenly we were in the mountains again.

For lunch we stopped at the top of the climb and ate with Newgeo and Firepit. It was an awesome little clearing. Just before the catwalk began with rocks to sit on and views to admire. The craggy peaks were softened by a thick layer of haze and clouds, but they still looked impressive.

Dark sky at lunch time
In the middle of lunch we all stopped eating to look up at the sky in wonder. Was it really raining with so much blue sky above us?  We had our own dark cloud right above us that was spitting rain on us. We could see the edges of the cloud so we knew the light sprinkle wouldn't last long-and it felt rather nice.

We watched weekenders come across the catwalk--where the trail traverses a narrow ridge (kind of like the Knife's Edge). We watched a group of day hikers retreat back up the trail because two women on horses were coming their way. The horses crossed the cat walk with no problems.

Portrait and I were walking the catwalk when a team of horses came our way. We found a small niche in the rocks off to the side to stand in as they went by. It started to rain again as the passed us. I was starting to worry that my rainiest day of the trip so far would be a mostly blue sky day.

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As we hiked along the ridges were could look down on alpine lakes that were a dark blue and gold when the sun hit them.  Some of them looked like people had never been down to them.

We met a lot of weekenders out. They all pegged us as thru-hikers and they wanted to know how many days we had left. Everybody seemed really happy to see us and impressed by us. It was fun-it felt a little bit like being famous. The number of non thru-hikers we saw dropped with each mile we put between us and the road until we stopped seeing them.

Portrait and I were both feeling a little on the sluggish side--two days off can do that. My tendons twinged with pain with every wrong step on the rocky trail sections. Some parts of the trail were made up of loose rocks that wobbled underfoot. They were slow and tiresome to walk across.

We stopped on top of the ridge for a snack around 5 o'clock. We had 4.5 miles to camp, but most of it was downhill. I was nearly out of water and tried not to drink any while eating snack. It had been a tough day mostly up on rocky trail. We weren't making good time.

Minutes after leaving our break spot we came across a small stream. I drank a bunch and filled up with two liters so we could stop early if we wanted to. Right after filling up I started pointing out campsites to Portrait, and while he was the one who said we could stop early he seemed uninterested in doing so.

We had followed the trail down and then back up again. A mile of up brought us to a lovely hill top with mountains all around, beautifully lit up clouds, and deer munching their dinner. I pointed out another campsite, but Portrait still wanted to go onward--I think he wanted to be a mile from camp and the hilltop was 2.3 miles. I know he wanted to get us closer to town to make for a shorter hike into town in a few days.

We hiked downward as dusk settled around us. We passed three thru's that we had met that day setting up camp in a small grassy area. That was the last flat spot we were going to see in the daylight.

The trail down was on a steep sidehill with a lot of undergrowth. Nothing even came close to a campsite. At 8:15-well after full dark-we put on our headlamps. I gave up looking for a campsite and focused instead on watching my feet. It was rough trail. It felt more stream bed like than my well groomed PCT. I stumbled the last two miles down to the creek and campsite we had been aiming for.

It was one small campsite and one small green tent was filling it. There was no space for us so we had to continue on. We crossed the bridge over the creek and thought about staying there-it was loud. On a tree right after the bridge was a sign saying the trail was not passable for stock due to a washout-that explained the stream bed feel of the trail.

A mile more of stumbling and we found a small cleared spot. It was quarter to ten when I finally sat down to dinner in camp. It felt like my zero days were weeks ago, but at least my clothes still looked (and smelled clean).

1 comment:

  1. I rode that section 3 days after you and remember that washout well! My sidekick and I led our horses across the washout. She went first and said, "Don't look back. Keep 'em moving and if you feel the line tug, let go!" That was some tough riding for us and we went out at Pete Lake. Next summer, we intend to ride the whole WA section. It'll take about 30 days. Horses don't make much better time than hikers in these conditions.