From Steven's Pass at mile 2476 to campsite on Grizzly Peak at mile 2490
After a short town stop with many chores Portrait and I got back on trail around 11 o'clock. We had gotten a ride with a fruit farmer who had picked up No Amp and Buckket as well. We dispersed after hitting the trail. Portrait and I kept stopping in the first mile to check something on the last bit of internet, bathroom break, put on sunblock. Little Dipper passed us while I was putting sunblock on my ears. It seems unlikely that I will be seeing much of her on trail even though we plan to finish on the same day.
Portrait was carrying my pack again. On the scale at the hostel it had weighed in at 40 pounds. His cuben fiber pack that I was carrying weighed in at eleven pounds. I could hardly feel it on my back and I knew Portrait felt every once of the weight on his back. He said nothing about it though.
For the first climb my legs were feeling good. I had taken Advil in the trail head parking lot to help keep my town rested tendons feeling rested. We were at the back of the group that had left town and I kept expecting to see everyone taking lunch by one of the many small streams we crossed. When we did find them Little Dipper, Jack, and Gut Feeling were just leaving, but No Amp and Buckket were still sprawled on the ground. We had the goal of taking a short lunch, less than an hour, and even though I didn't even take off my shoes and get comfy, we hardly left before the hour was up. I blame the beautiful orange butterfly that seemed to mistake me for its home. It kept landing on me and staying long enough for Portrait to make a movie. Finally I shoed it away so we could finish our uphill.
It was only another mile to the top of that pass. Then it was a few miles down to a creek. We finished off Portrait's water early to help lighten his load. I took more Advil on the way down-we still had most of the day's hike ahead of us.
The creek in the valley was beautiful. The water flowed down a large, smooth, moss covered rock into a little pool. It was so clear in a little pool that I could see every pebble underwater. The water looked like it had never known dirt. I drank a liter there while having a PopTart for snack. I left with only a half liter of water--the next source was 1.5 miles away.
It was uphill for that 1.5 miles but I didn't drink any of my half liter. The new water wasn't nearly as pretty. It was sluggish as it moved through piles of mossy rocks. It tasted a little mossy as well.
The climb continued upwards after the water. We hiked out of the pine forest into sunny huckleberry fields decorating the hill side. Their red leaves turned firery as the setting sun lit them up. There was a lot less haze from the fires and the sky turned pink as we climbed the last half mile. We got our first real view of Glacier Peak-which we should be getting to soon.
Grizzly Peak had a small summit with a view of Glacier. Tucked into a grove of runty pine trees was a campsite. When we were in Seattle Opus had warned us the Grizzely Peak campsite had a wicked slope and to not get fooled by the idea of sleeping on a peak. We knew that when we picked our spot for the day, but the mileage was right. It may not be the best sight, but I was feeling my best in a long time, and I didn't want to ruin that with a three mile night hike down to the lake where everyone else there.was camping.