Get ready for a look back at the trail that was, starting here…
26 September 2013:
It’s only 8:15pm and already UB and I are snuggled in our sleeping bags after setting up camp as the first snowflakes I’ve witnessed on trail appeared. The snow was a novelty for about 30 seconds, then I realised just how cold it actually was and how wet it was going to be setting up our tents. My tent has become the gear and wet clothing storage shelter and UB’s the sleeping and cooking shelter. We’ve tried to set them up as close as possible in the hope to create some kind of two bedroom apartment, but mine unfortunately has a rather large log underneath it on the left hand side and the gap between the two doors is too large to avoid the rain in between.
Yesterday we hit the trail at Steven’s Pass around 2pm after Tim, the man who was going to drive us to the trail head, realised he had a flat tyre and UB needed to step in and change it for him. Terry Dinsmore (a local trail angel), was also around at the time and suggested we all jump in the back of his truck instead incase the spare tyre on Tim’s car wouldn’t make it up to the pass.
The trail was flat to begin with but in true Washington style it soon began to climb. We ended up making it 12 miles to a small campsite just shy of Grizzly Peak. The weather was perfect during the day and it only rained a little overnight, so we were able to hit the trail just after 6:30am this morning with dry gear except for a few rain drops on the tents.
The trail was very muddy in parts and I slipped over early on, needing UB to help me back to a standing position. Later in the afternoon UB had some close calls slipping and sliding through numerous muddy sections, but he managed to stay on his feet. I have to say it’s the most dangerous part of the trail for ankle twists and bad falls.
We stopped around 11am for an early lunch while the sun peeked its head out slightly from behind the clouds. It was the first day I’ve cooked a warm lunch since the Sierras, and it was nice to be able to actually enjoy a proper sit down while the weather was still good.
The trail climbed again straight after lunch and UB felt a little nauseous after eating. I wondered if it was the same issue I was having over the last couple of weeks, which has seemed to die down a little for me since the last section. We passed the 2500 mile mark today which was an exciting landmark, but not as big a deal as the 2000 mile marker. Probably because now the end is in sight and the countdown has been on since the start of Washington. The biggest surprise today was seeing so many huckleberry bushes next to the trail. I had just been saying to UB that it was sad all the berries had gone, then suddenly I was surrounded by bushes on either side of the trail.
About 20 miles into today, dark clouds started rolling in. We saw three beautiful rainbows within about 5 minutes of each other, but then the heavens opened and it rained and hailed on us until we reached camp at Reflection Pond and it started snowing. I really hope we get some sun tomorrow as all of our gear and some of our clothing is soaking wet. The trail also heads up into higher altitudes, so it’s going to be cold the next few days if things don’t have the chance to dry out!