PCT DAY 37: Tuesday August 1, 2017
Mile 2344.7 – Mile 2370.7
26 miles ( 42km)
It was a very still night without a breath of wind. The silence was broken in the middle of the night by barking of what sunded like a pack of dogs with tiny voice boxes. They were somewhere in the meadow behind me. They eventually stopped only to start up again around 4am. It was a very earie sound echoing in the meadow where I was camped. I was so happy that there were others camped nearby. I was right – this forest is perfect for the Big Bad Wolf. It was still dark when I got out to pack my tent. I could just work out in the distance what looked like cattle at first, were a huge herd of elk in the meadow. I realised it was elk calling through the night. Such a strange sound.
It was freezing cold making it very painful to pack up a tent soaked in dew.
I was on my way by 6.00am keen to move just to warm up. And getting warmed up didn’t take long. Within half an hour gloves, jacket and beanie were no longer needed. The day continued to get progressively warmer. The trail was not overly difficult in the morning – passing over several ridges with great views of multiple green valleys stretching out to the horizon and views of sections of the Northern Cascades through a thick smoky haze. Of course the top of the east face of Mt Rainier kept coming into view.
Much of the wildflowers in the sections I hiked this morning had already gone to seed. The only sound I could hear was the constant buzz of bees. I hiked a bit of the section this morning with a northbound through hiker, Trailblazer who also stayed near the hut last night. He is from Bend, Oregon and has been on trail for 4 months, having skipped the Sierras. It was nice to have someone to talk to making the miles roll by a bit more quickly.
By lunchtime I had run out of water and it was getting very hot whenever the trail was out in the open. A beautiful mile of downhill switchbacks through a cool breezy forest led a beautiful cold spring. I stopped for a long break knowing there were a few up and down sections coming up. The water was so cool and lovely it was hard to leave.
Even though it was hot today with temp approaching 30°C (88F) it is predicted to get even hotter tomorrow and Thursday – high 30s (100F). I really wanted to do as many miles as I could today so I can get into Snoqualamie Pass before it got too hot.
Afternon hiking was hard with little shade. Where the trail was on a ridgetop rather then side of a ridge there were greater views of the Northern Cascades covered in a smoky haze. It looks like there are forest fires somewhere to the north. I left the spring after lunch with over a litre of water and ran out before I reached the next spring, 7 miles away. It was just so hot – I decided to stop deep in the forest and will make an early start tomorrow. I was surprised to find that I had AT&T service from my campsite. Such a bonus to make contact with Hammer earlier then I expected. The last few miles of trail to the forest camp were probably the least inspiring miles on trail yet.