I’m up around 7:30 – too early for a town day – but I need to get some writing done before I leave town. Lucky for me, there’s room-coffee available. It’s not great coffee, but it’s coffee, and it gives me the motivation to get up off my ass, get dressed, and head for the computer in the lobby.
I’m typing like a madwoman, and then trying to rush things along even more – another hiker needs to “manually” reboot a server a couple thousand miles away, and I should share, because I’m not a toddler. I feel like a toddler when I come back and check every so often to see whether he’s done or not, kick rhetorical rocks down the hallway when I find he’s not. Eventually, he finishes, and I get through one more post before it’s time to pack up and get out of Snoqualmie.
Checkout time is supposedly past mail delivery time, so I head over to the Chevron to try to suss out the changes between this morning and last night. I hunt and scour and search – and it’s still not there. I stifle the panic rising in my throat, go ask at the counter to see if the postman hath cometh. He hath – he’s delivering all the mail to the local businesses, whose mailboxes are also in the Chevron – and he says, with patience worn incredibly thin, that yes, he delivered, yes, all the packages are back there. I thank him for his time before I go to look again. I’ve nearly given up when Ridiculous – the other hiker whose package wasn’t here yesterday – finds his package, and mine is nearby. OH FRABJOUS DAY1!
I sort resupply under the awning of the just-stirring Aardvark Express, hand off an extra beer from last night to the folks who work with Dan, for Dan. An eye for an eye, a beer for a beer, I always say2. I end up hikerboxing some stuff – I don’t think I’ll end up needing as much as I think I will. I always have extra food when I roll into town. Then it’s off I go, back down the street, under the highway, and back to that sweet, sweet trail.
Quick enough, there’s a split for the Goldmeyer Hot Springs – but the weather’s supposed to turn wet in the next couple of days, and between the cap on the number of people allowed at the hot springs and the fact that it’s Friday and delays meaning I have to hike through the wet, I’m willing to skip this one. I’ll always have Deep Creek, after all.
Climb climbity-climb – I’m making good time up the first up, feeling good, passing lots of people training for the long run at Snoqualmie Pass tomorrow. Mama Lion is entered, but when I left her, had been going back and forth on whether or not she wanted to run it. I wonder if she’s gonna.
Washington, for its part, is continuing to amaze me with its views.
I’m alone for quite a while, alone with the clouds and the grandiose sights.
I get stopped by two gents looking to chat – they’re wondering where I’m coming from. Technically, Mexico. They seem confused, so I clarify: I’m on the PCT, so I hiked here from Mexico.
I think they’re about to ask again, but another couple of thrus coming in to pass distract them. They’ve got the same worn look I do, so I say I’m just like them. They then proceed to interrogate me about how long I’ve been on trail, why I’m wearing trail runners and not boots, what I eat on the trail, the usual. It’s a nice enough conversation, and eventually they release me back into the wild. Catch and release, thruhiker edition.
Then it’s down a down to Ridge Lake, where there are a bunch of hikers taking pictures. I attempt to commiserate by sighing about how the cloud cover messes with the white balance on my phone camera. I get the photography equivalent of “L2P n00b”3 from two other hikers – my temper flares, but I keep my mouth shut. I keep it shut probably long after I should, as the conversation turns to dating and how women are wrong to safeguard the phone numbers of their friends and should really just throw their male friends a bone by sharing said numbers without the lady in question’s permission. I walk away and find that some other nearby women are uncomfortable, but “boys will be boys”. I don’t know these people, so I hike on before I retort to any of it.
Up from Ridge Lake, then down, down I go, down the hill to 2400.
Both of the gents who made it weird pass me while I’m taking pictures, doing some planning at 2400 – I’m thinking four or five more miles tonight, given the two more serious ups before I head down for the evening.
I pass both of the gents along the way, and feel childishly smug about it.
I’m glad I decided to only go four more miles tonight, because I Can’t. Stop. Taking. Pictures.
The down before the up is a middling gravely-gravel:
Then the up ends up being straight up and also talus.
Then finally, FINALLY, it’s down, down, down into where I’ve decided to camp.
It’s 6:45 by the time I roll into the campsite, and I’m just generally done. Particularly since there’s a pond just two tenths off trail here. I frolic off to grab water, walk through an area that looks like solid mud but actually grabs my ankles and holds, almost tipping me face first into it. The outsides of my shoes are sO DIRTY, but the insides of my shoes stayed mercifully dry. We’re supposed to get rained on all day tomorrow, and I wouldn’t want to start said day by putting on wet shoes.
Tenure, Boy Pockets, and Cookie Scrambler arrive just when I arrive back to the PCT – they’re tired, too, and ready to stop. I inform them that the water’s not great and there aren’t great places to camp nearby; the best sites are under the trees near the trail. The four of us sort out an acceptable living situation, and then two more hikers, Undercover and A-Game, pull in, and we make room for them, too. After many days camping alone on trail4, I finally have the social time I wanted. YAAAAAAAAY.
We all sit around and eat together, chat, have a good time. Undercover and A-Game are carrying a DeLorme that they can use to send for the weather, and they’ve done so already – they inform the rest of us that it’s supposed to rain for the next two days, at least. Ugh. We talk contingency plans and hopes that it’ll dry off for at least enough time to dry our stuff. I’ve heard horror stories of hiking through two weeks of solid rain in Washington. No. Please no. Still, invigorated by the company, I head to bed thinking I can do it, particularly with people around.
I got this.
WE got this.
245 more miles to Canada.
Date: September 16 • Start: 2390.6 • End: 2405.4 • Day: 14.8
Notable Accomplishments: Found package! • Kicked ass at the first uphill • Camped with fun people!
 Seriously, folks, label your packages with crazy duct tape. The craziest you can find. And then put it ALL OVER YOUR BOXES so you can find them.
 Well, I do now.
 Learn to play, [derogatory term for someone new to the game]. I like to think the P stands for “photograph” in this context.
 And a day in town, yes, but it’s not the same. Being out on the trail and socializing with hikers is much different than socializing with them on trail.