Day 133: The Wait Is Over, It Rained In Washington

Memories from August 31

The first part of today was mostly a walk in the woods. I did learn that if you’re going to break a bridge, this is the way to do it (lower left). That way, it’s still usable, at least later in the season when the creek is low.

During a break at Glacier Creek, was passed by Lap Song (who I knew of as Will) who I last saw at the Deep Creek Hotsprings and Matador (who I knew as Emily) who I last saw at the Big Bear Hostel. I remember Emily in particular because she carried a Bluetooth keyboard so she could blog and correspond more easily. They had flipped up to Canada from Castella and are now hiking south to avoid being stuck in Washington at the end of fall.

The long uphill portion of the  morning and early afternoon eventually lead out of the woods and contained some really nice scenery.

Valley and clouds. The clouds have been more and more a factor in the hike. It’s been cooler because of the overcast and sometimes the softer light makes it easier to take pictures but other times the contrast between cloud makes it hard not to over expose the sky.

A small water fall by the trail.

Two streams merging where the trail crosses.

The top of the first climb for the day. Look at the mountains at the horizon.

From there the trail descended several thousand feet to Milk Creek which would have been more aptly named Water Creek, like most creeks. On the way down, I passed an elderly woman on her way up to Mica Lake carrying a fully loaded, old school external frame pack. She was moving slowly but surely and I was suitably impressed since many people, when their hair are as white as hers, like to use the hand rail when climbing the stairs. The punch line, though was that trailing by a switchback or two was a visibly younger, late middle aged lady who I assume was her hiking partner.

I don’t have any more photos from the day since it started raining while I was drawing water at Milk Creek. There was a long climb out of the creek and two women I met at there had gotten a tip about an unmarked campsite several switchbacks up. Given that the next listed campsite was over four miles up the hill, it seemed like a great place to stop. In actuality, it was probably more like 10 switchbacks up and by that time, I’d gotten used to the rain. There was exactly enough room for two tents so I left it to the women.

When the trail finally reached the crown of the hill and broke out of the trees, I was able to catch glimpses of the opposing hillsides through holes in the constantly changing cloud. Sometimes it was forested and plain, other times it might be ragged rock with a waterfall. Over the crest of the hill, there was only grey-white cloud in the expanse away from the hillside but I imagine it would have been beautiful as the trail wandered trough low, bright green brush (aka hikerwash) and small pine trees with frequent streams.

As the light began to lessen, my socks and shorts were soaked from the hiker wash and my shirt under my rain jacket was damp, I’m not sure from sweat or rain which had wetted through. I had been seeing fresh tracks in the new mud and wasn’t surprised at having to share the campsite with other hikers. My fingers had gotten cold enough to lose much strength so, while full limb tasks like hammering in tent stakes were as easy as usual, untangling guy lines, zipping up my sleeping bag, and opening foods wrappers for dinner were surprisingly difficult. Ironically, it makes me glad that I didn’t have a stove since operating one is a relatively complex manual task and I just wanted to lie in my sleeping bag and wait for my body to warm itself up.

Washington has a well deserved reputation for being wet. I had been hoping that if I were done early enough I might slip through before the rain. Oh well.

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