PCT DAY 40: Friday August 4, 2017
Mile 2390.7 – 2412.0
21.3 miles ( 34 km)
It took three hours of sweaty climbing to leave the hum of the I-90 behind. Although leaving it behind was only temporary, as the trail wound higher and over another ridge with further views down towards the Pass.
I shook off the pull of the comforts of town and once again embraced the silence of the forest. At over 2,000 feet above the pass the air was cool and there was a lovely breeze blowing. I was rested and the air was cool, it was bliss. Hiking felt easy.
It was quite technical trail over rocks and roots and then over loose rocky rubble. I had to constantly concentrate on where my feet were going. To take in what view there was through the smoky haze required me to completely stop. I passed a series of absolutely georgeous lakes framed by eroded volcanic peaks. It was very silent except for the sound of crickets rubbing their legs together as they flew around and the shrill whistle of marmots.
The snowy peak of Mt Rainier stood like a ghost in the smoky haze. At times I wasn’t sure I was actually seeing it or imagining. It would just end into the haze and disappear. The wind was blowing to the west which gave slightly clearer views to the east.
Hiking over trail perched on stony ridges in not my comfortable place. There was plenty of that as the trail would around sides of ridges for pretty much all day. There were not many places you could actually stop. Once the trail started to leave the huge rockfall area I found a spot to stop for lunch. Always nice to stop in the shade take my shoes off to dry my feet.
After lunch I started to descend towards a meadow I could see way down in the valley – passing a big burn area that looks to be fairly recent. I passed a few south bound section hikers heading over to Spector Lake to camp. It was late afternoon and I figured on stopping soon after I crossed Lemah Creek. But before I got there I met a Seattle local Josh, out for a couple of days enjoying the summer weather. We chatted for a while and on leaving he said he wanted to give me something. As I had just picked up my resupply I really did not need anything -but then he offered me a can of beer from a craft Brewery in Seattle. Of course beer will go down a treat when I reach camp. He said he was hoping to meet a through hiker and carried extra just for that. It was my luck day to meet Josh. I thanked him and wished him well.
I got to Lemah Creek and sure enough despite its deep rushing sound from a distance it really was an easy crossing with shoes off, despite the slippery rocks. A group of section hikers were having a wash in the river when I arrived. I fekt luje I was interrupting. Buy the time I was ready to cross they were gone and were setting up camp on the other side. I intended to get to the next river crossing and stay there before attempting the numerous switchbacks on the way out of Lemah River valley.
I got to my campspot and was set up in 15 minutes. It was so lovely to sit on a log, in perfect evening temperature with no bugs and enjoy the best beer I’ve had in a long time. A toast to Josh – may he have a long and happy life.