At White Pass, Mile 2292
I got up at 5. Today’s goal, of course, was the Kracker Barrel, 13 miles and 2000 feet; my resupply box was there, and they closed in the late afternoon. I had to hit the trail early, as I knew I’d be in pain all the way. My leg was *really* beginning to hurt. Well, actually, it has been hurting, since the second day. It’s my foot, ankle, and lower leg, getting worse. And worse. And worse. But my only choice has been to hike 40 miles on a bad leg.
It was time to quit my complaining, and head for White Pass. I refilled at the spring, which was maybe a quarter mile off trail, and I was off. It was a long day, but not without its eye candy.
The trail went generally up, until the junction with the Shoe Lake Trail. I met the group of retirees there while I was having a snack break. They were going to take the alternate loop down to Shoe Lake. I stuck to the main PCT; there was a large talus slope, but after that the views were amazing.
We met again at the junction, crested the ridge, and then traversed a stunning basin around Hogback Mountain and Hogback Ridge. Mt. Rainier showed her head above the ridge, and behind us was a beautiful view of the Goat Rocks.
Alas, with my reduced speed, they were soon out of sight. The trail began a long descent to Ginette Lake, where I grabbed a liter, and then switchbacked down to White Pass.
From the pass itself, it’s a half mile road walk west to the Kracker Barrel, home to resupply boxes, convenience store foods, a little bit of a menu, and all kinds of general goodness. I arrived about 4, only a little later than I thought I’d be.
My plan was to grab my resupply box and hit the trail. But I decided the heck with it: I’m going to get a room at the lodge, resupply, sleep late, and regroup in the morning. So I’ve got a nice Motel-6-esque room with kitchenette, which as far as I’m concerned is the Taj Mahal. I exploded my pack (yes, that is a phrase), and headed down to pick up my resupply.
I took the last bit of my dinner, went out, and camped on the bench along the front of the store. It’s the hiker hangout, and I got to chatting with a girl (whose name I can’t remember). Turns out she has shin splints, and was going to skip a SOBO section to head to Trout Lake. She’s getting compression sleeves, and is the second person who is using those for shin splints (Casey Burt being the other one). We compared symptoms, and at this juncture it looks like it could be a leading candidate for me. It’s certainly not an uncommon injury among long distance hikers. Anyway, Steve will be bringing compression sleeves up with the Chinook Pass resupply (THANK YOU).
I’ve been having a great time at the Kracker Barrel so far; lots of giggles over this, that, and the other thing. Far more so than last year, I feel part of a community. And that’s good, because that’s one of the things I’ve been hoping to find.