PCT Day 11. Sunday July 24, 2022
Mile 2282+ 14 miles today
Total Distance Hiked: 198 miles /318.5 kilometres

The fox did not return through the night but my happy bird did sing while we broke camp. Such a happy sounds.

After the magic of yesterday today was always going to be a struggle. But we had no idea of the mosquito hell waiting for us. We ran out of DEET so this morning we ran the gauntlet with the hungriest suckers so far.

From leaving camp it was a long section through a green tunnel with lakes and snowmelt ponds providing a fertile breeding ground for the hungry hordes.  The highway to White Pass could not come quick enough. It was hot and very still, not a breath of wind. We had dozens of squashed mosquitos over our face and hands.

There were two brief sections where the trail left the pine forest and we had  respite from being bitten.  We stopped for breakfast at a spot with a bit if a breeze and a great view towards Mt Rainier. From here we had a nice section of open trail out of the forest. It felt like a break from being eaten alive.

Soon after we were plunged back into the green tunnel on the descent towards the highway. We had run out of water with a few miles still to go. It was hot but there was no stopping to pick up water as we were so close to cold refrigerated drinks  at the Kracker Barrel store at White Pass.

With about a mile, mile and a half to go we could hear the traffic on the highway. And soon we popped out to a carpark and found…..TRAIL MAGIC. It was unbelievable – icy cold Gatorade, Coke, cookies, apples. A couple from Nebraska who are touring while seeing their son off on a southbound hike were feeding a horde of hungry and thirsty hikers. As we sat there more hikers kept popping out of the woods. We left hydrated and grateful for such wonderful generosity, keen to get to the store to pick up our parcel and get a room at the ski lodge above the store. We were so looking forward to a shower and getting out of the heat.

Trail magic- so welcomed❤

That plan soon went bust. The lodge was almost booked out with a schoolkids summer running camp. There was only room left at a whopping US$255/night rate. That felt like big city prices for what was a 2-star mountain ski lodge.  So we went to the Kracker Barrel service station where we picked up our parcel and asked for best way to get out of White Pass to head north.

Since we won’t be able to rest at White Pass we decided to skip the section between here and Snoqualamie Pass and pick up the trail there in a few days.  

It was our lucky day to meet  a gem of a person, Leah who worked at the store. A women of infinite patience with tired hikers, she offered to drive us to Yakima at the end of her shift at 4pm. We could spend a couple of days in Yakima to rest my inflamed knee and we can then work out the best way to get to Snoqualamie Pass.

We spent a couple of hours watching a steady stream of hikers arrive and do their town chores while we waited for Leah.
We sadly said goodby to Starman who will continue on up the trail. It’s been good to camp together and meet along the trail over the past 5 days.

Leah works as a ski instructor in winter and organises the kids ski school.  In summer she works at the Kracker Barrel store. The drive to Yakima is about 45 miles and passes through incredible geology.  Yakima is at much lower elevation then White Pass and is classified as a desert. It was certainly hot and very dry when Leah stopped to feed some cats at a place she is house sitting. She then  dropped us off downtown.

Gas tanks have been temoved at Kracker Barrel gas station.
A geologist dream on the way to Yakima
Lovely Leah – checkout the hat.

Leah suggested a better hotel then the one we picked, her recommendation Hotel Maison was a 5-star city hotel. Much classier and less expensive then the White Pass Lodge

By 6pm we were showered, clothes laundered and ensconced in an air conditioned luxe room.  Feeling grateful to have met this gem of a woman.