My introduction to this next section of Washington was magnificent. The views were stunning, the climb was long but gradual, and I felt content being solo again after having a few great trail days with Bad Seed. I did feel a bit of anxiety as I left town like I usually do, but I finally figured out this is probably due to the massive caffeine overload I put my body through with at least 7 cups of coffee swimming in my system.
I bumped into a few day hikers and runners on their way down the mountain as I climbed up. The first said “it’s a perfect day to take your hamster for a walk”, referring to little Muk hanging on my pack. I corrected him and told him Muk Muk is in fact a marmot. The second guy I passed was a man named Tim who was at the Aardvark (a food caravan we ate at last night at the Chevron). He had offered us a beer and chatted to Bad Seed and I while we had dinner. The third was another man jogging down the mountain. I smiled and said hi and he stopped, turned around and said in surprise “you look like you’re enjoying yourself”. I had to laugh because I was enjoying the climb up once my anxieties settled and my heart stopped racing from the caffeine.
It was 7.7 miles to Ridge Lake and the trail at the top of the climb was glorious. I arrived at the lake just after 7pm and was glad it wasn’t any later as darkness was already rolling in alongside some heavy looking clouds. I wasn’t content with the first campsite I found, so I dropped my pack and darted around trying to find something a little more sheltered and without a giant swarm of what looked like mosquitos in the sky above. I ended up settling on the first spot I had found and luckily couldn’t see the swarm once it got dark. As I was eating dinner I was musing at how relaxed I am about my tent not closing until I saw a mouse climbing on my backpack just outside. I kind of squealed, more to scare it away than anything. I’ve now tried to tape my screen door closed unsuccessfully and have all my food inside my backpack. I also threw a piece of cookie far away outside my tent as a decoy, so hopefully the critters will leave me alone this evening.
There is currently a sprinkling of rain on my tent but the wind has actually died down a lot. I’m feeling really good now with a full tummy cosy in my sleeping bag but felt a little sick when I arrived at camp. I guess I was probably hungry as I didn’t eat between brunch and dinner. At first I thought I was light headed because of the altitude, but I think maybe I just let my hunger creep up on me, especially after climbing for 3 hours without snacking.
I’m going to try and do 28 miles tomorrow to Waptus River. I guess the terrain will be steeper but I’m determined to give it my all and see how far I can push (with enough time to take in the views if the weather permits!)