I wake before 6am at Dinsmores. Excited to finish my last blog entry and have some alone time with nowhere to go. I enjoy a lazy morning waiting for Groucho’s folks to stop by with a food drop. A 2014 thru hiker Butters drops by with beers – thru hiker happy hour starts at 9am, and we gratefully accept. There is a rad NOBO section hiker named Kate there too. Why are so many cool ladies named Kate?!
Lynn and George show up with a couple cold sixes and our resupply as well as the best picnic of hummus and fresh fruit. It hits all the right hiker hunger spots. Thank you thank you!!
We bid the folks farewell at Steven’s Pass around 5pm and then say hey to Milestone at the Steven’s Pass bar. What a cool cat. Visit this guy if you are passing thru this season.
At 6:30 we pull ourselves away from the bar and hike up the hill 4 miles to Lake Susan Jane… A little bit happy in that too much trail magic kinda way. The miles fly by and camp is peaceful.
Groucho wakes me at 5:30 urging me to get going so we can beat the heat. With 80 and 90 degree days we are testing out our desert strategy – hike early, nap during the heat of day, wake around 4pm and hike till dark.
Hiking early in the day is a blessing. The mind is quiet, still in dream land. Animals and birds are awake and alert. Miles are cool and sweet. We pass many lakes this morning. We take a break on a ridge over Trap Lake at an awesome camp overlook. We begin to see all the weekenders heading back to their trailhead, cars, homes, families and Mac and cheese.
Around 11 am we begin our ascent up Piper Pass – hoping to take our big break right after. The trail is exposed, cut thru a field of hot white rocks, burning my retinas in the full sun. I am sweating bullets and there is no breeze. The sunbrellas come in handy.
The back side of the mountain is shady and we aim to break at Deception Lake but alas as we reach striking distance, so does the apocalyptic storm of skeets – hundreds surrounding each of us. In the full heat of noon we don our headnets, wind pants and wind jackets. We trot down the trail… Sticky and sweating under our jackets. An hour later we stop to assess and still at least 10 hungry jerks are hanging on, thirsty for blood. A half hour later they abate and we set up our tent in the first site we find. It’s delicious having a break during this heat. We doze and eat and eat and read and eat.
At 4:30 we pack up and hike lovely fast miles in the waning light of day till about 8pm. We camp next to a creek that has little wading pools where we wash off the stickiness. We sleep as another army of skeets gathers to bounce of our net tent all evening. We are safe. 21 miles.
I wake to pattering rain and distant thunder before dawn. We sleep in. Laying around and snacking and reading in the tent until 8am, packing up just as the rain clears. We walk up to the pass by Cathedral Rock – a magnificent towering mountain. Down a few miles to Deep Lake we are overtaken by another battalion of skeets but this time we are prepared and suffer no casualties.
Around 11am we discover abundant huckleberry bushes and the next few miles we slow down to get our fill.
We decide to start a PCT book club. Right now we are reading a Zerzan anthropological article (No Way Out?) about how language and reason created disharmony in human civilization and that pre language hunter gatherer societies were more sharing and less oppressive of women. I share some huckleberries with Groucho.
We take our afternoon break by a creek for 2 hours. These breaks are the bomb you guys.
After 4pm we begin again, and reach the turn off for Goldmyer Hot Springs Alternate Route, which we take. It is a 27 mile detour which bypasses 36 miles of the PCT. This is not to be missed for folks hiking this year.
We hike 17 switchbacks and 3 miles up to pristine Lake Ivanhoe. Navigate a difficult ford over a swollen waterfall and reach the Dutch Miller Gap around 7pm. Then it is all lovely downhill along a river until we find camp around 8pm.
We wake around 7pm. Hot springs day! This one is legit… We’ve had good recommendations. It feels like Christmas. We have an easy 8 mile hike down rolling hills to the springs. We make it before noon. They are usually full this time of year – only taking 20 people a day – but their main access road is closed for repair during the week for now, limiting access to those willing to make the 11 mile hike in from Snoqualmie. We are the only visitors there.
After setting up camp I head to the hot springs. It is absolutely gorgeous. A late 1800’s prospector broke a hole for the spring by accident looking for minerals and ever since people have been bathing in little cascading, man made soaking pools. The water comes out at 118 degrees and the middle pool is about 108 degrees, the lower about 95 degrees. And then there is a pool of creek water which feels like liquid snow. There are ripe salmon berries and gently maintained greenery. It feels like Eden – especially because clothing is optional.
We enjoy the pools much of the day. Taking a break only to eat, nap and finish my Agatha Christie book. This is the best Nero (near zero day) I have ever had. We finally tear ourselves away at 10:30pm to hike down to camp.
I can’t believe it is July. We wake at 3:33 am to do our big climb to Snow Lake before the sun is up. We do 6 miles before 7:30am. I am suddenly ravenous all the time. The lake looks beautiful but we are called by the siren song of town food and don’t stop for a swim.
We make it to Snoqualmie Pass by 10am, hating the 1.5 mile road walk at the end Ugh. Now we sit at red Mountain Coffee enjoying our mochas and waiting for our friend Juice to bring our next resupply.
We hike on later today. Our next stretch is 99 miles to White Pass. Happy early 4th of July and happy early Anniversary to my parents.