PCT DAY 35: Sunday July 30, 2017
Mile 2292.4 – Mile 2318.1
+ 0.5 mile road walk
26.2 miles (42.2 km)

White Pass was very quite when I left this morning. One car passed me on the half mile walk to the trailhead. And just before I got to the trail, a second car came by, this car stopped. The driver asked if there were any fish in the nearby lake. He thought my hiking poles were a fishing pole. I said I didn’t know as I was not from around here. And as he drove away I realised that probably neither was he – the car had a Californian licence plate. So that clicked and as I stepped back on trail the booming magical voice of Mamas and Papas popped up in my head and sang ” California Dreaming” – “I stopped into a church, I passed along the way”. As you can see I’m still stuck in the 60’s.  So for the next couple of hours of beautiful  forest walking I hummed and sang the few verses of the song that I knew.  I was reminded that indeed stepping out into nature for me is similar to stepping into a church. Both places provide a refuge, a quite place to think, pray, meditate  or contemplate. This is my church. I recall last year when we went over Forester Pass and dropped down into the canyon valley below it felt like we were in natures cathedral, with soaring mountain peaks reaching out to the sky. The interior of Gaudis Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona draws lots of references from the natural world, particularly the interior space.  It was really pleasant hiking in the forest on a lovely summers day. And hours passed in quite contemplation.  Occasionaly there would be a break in the forest and wildflowers would appear.

2017-07-30 19.26.392017-07-30 19.27.55

I saw on the map of todays hike that the trail passes quite a few lakes. I was prepared for the thirsty mosquito onslaught. But when I got to the lakes section, a pleasant surprise – no mosquitos. The trail was undulating with no big ups or downs, so I made good time.

2017-07-30 19.28.482017-07-30 19.29.04

2017-07-30 19.24.25

I stopped for lunch before 12 having covered 16 miles. Just as I was finishing lunch a couple of southbound through hikers stopped for a chat. Boomer and Happy Feet shared some of their time on trail so far in Washington and made recommendations on places to visit along the way. They looked so happy, I wished them safe travels and happy trails.  They have such a long way to go to make it to the border of Mexico.

2017-07-30 19.30.132017-07-30 19.40.40
Soon after lunch  I entered Mt Rainier National Park Boundary with its snow covered ridge off to the left of me. After a while I could see a small dome shaped snow covered mountain in the distance – took me a while to work out it was Mt Adams and Mt St Helens. And as I walked on Mt Rainier kept  literally poping up right in front of me. Holly dooly it is enormous and it felt so close. How did it sneak up on me like that. I was so happy to see it but  can’t believe it’s that  close. I live the shape of the pines that I’m seeing through this section. Classic pine tree shape, so perfect. For a couple of afternoon hours the trail wound around the ever-changing southeast face of Mt Rainier. And than the trail dropped over a ridge and away from mountain views

2017-07-30 19.30.492017-07-30 19.31.042017-07-30 19.31.232017-07-30 19.31.46

2017-07-30 19.32.052017-07-30 19.32.422017-07-30 19.33.10

2017-07-30 19.33.342017-07-30 19.34.112017-07-30 19.41.09

I dropped down towards the enormous Dewey Lake and camped by its side. Mosquitos are about but not too troublesome considering the location. It is a beautiful lake. I’m camped alone and ready to fall asleep  at 7pm, absolutely exhausted.

2017-07-30 19.35.362017-07-30 19.35.52