Yesterday I could only muster up 10 miles out of White Pass. I hiked until just after 6pm to Snow Lake so I could get an early night and a longer sleep than the previous night.
Today was the coldest and wettest day I’ve had on trail in 5 months. If Mt Rainier had have been 5 feet in front of me I still wouldn’t have seen it. I basically walked in misty cloud all day long. It rained most of the night so my tent was soaked when I rolled it up at 6:30am this morning. My shoes and clothes were still wet and the trail was a slushy mud pool which I slipped over all morning.
Last night the zip on my tent broke so it no longer closes and today my hiking pole snapped in half. I think after 5 months everything starts to fall apart, sadly it’s happening a little too soon for me. I can see how dangerous the weather can be, especially because of the steepness and rockiness of the trail. The up hills made me hot and sweaty in my rain jacket, then I froze as I slipped on the downhills. Not much fun.
The good thing about the rain was I had no desire to stop walking, although my poor shoulder which has been in a knot for a couple of weeks now was giving me grief! The pain is becoming unbearable and it makes these steep climbs much harder to bare.
I knew the only shelter from the rain would be at Chinook Pass, 18 miles from where I camped. I passed Leaky and Moonshine this morning who were also freezing cold on trail, and heard from a couple of south bounding section hikers that Bad Seed wasn’t too far ahead of me. It was Brooke’s birthday today (Happy Birthday Brooke!) so she wasn’t able to meet me at the pass, but luckily there were four drop toilets in the parking area, so I took over one for lunch and made myself at home out of the rain (I found out later Bad Seed had done the exact same thing, in the same cubical!).
The rain had stopped when I returned to the trail, but the wind had picked up and it was bone chilling. It was so hard to find the right balance of layers to not sweat through on the way up, but to stay warm as the trail went down. It was a roller coaster after lunch so I decided to stay on the colder side and save my layers and warmth for when I stopped to camp.
I eventually caught up with Bad Seed who hadn’t started hiking until after 10am because she was so toasty warm in her tent this morning. She was planning to go 3 more miles after we reached the camp I decided to stop at, but it was already getting dark and starting to rain again so we both stopped and joined Leaky, Moonshine and Bird Dog at the campsite. Miraculously Leaky found new hiking poles today and was able to give me his old one, amazing! Two odd hiking poles is better than one!
I’m praying for some sun tomorrow to dry everything out. If it’s rainy again I may have to stop at a shelter in 12 miles and try and dry my tent and sleeping bag, otherwise I will definitely freeze tomorrow night!