At Lake Valhalla, Mile 2467
Memory eternal, Dad. I hope you’re proud of me.
I got a shower and loaded up my pack, before we took off for Skykomish. Because of the uncertainty of everything, I’m carrying two extra days’ worth of food. Food is heavy.
Jerry and Carl and I had breakfast at the Cascadia, and I once again did myself proud in the calorie department. Burp. We said goodbye at the Sky Deli, and I grabbed the deli’s hitch sign (“PCT Hiker to Stevens Pass”) and proceeded to stick out my thumb. Nobody pulled off of the highway, but a mom (Sarah) and her little daughter (Eva) were at the deli, and mom said, “You’re a hiker! Get in! We can take you to the pass.” And it was a delightful drive.
They dropped me off at the pass, and I adjusted my pack (yet again), grabbed a Powerade, and got the latest info on the trail. Nothing has changed.
I crossed the pedestrian bridge and set off from the northbound trailhead. There’s probably a couple of miles of flat, paralleling the highway. I took advantage of this to catch up on my recording.
My destination was just up the trail, to Lake Valhalla. It’s very easy, and is a popular day hike; I was here last year, relaxing at the beach and handing out magic to the thrus. This year, the hike was discouraging. I’m going to be hiking through a bunch of weather, to a dead end; I was asking why I’m even doing this. But I just kept walking. Listened to a podcast, kept walking. Kept walking. Kept walking.
The weather forecast is pretty dismal. Rain should be moving in by Friday. There’s functionally 100% chance of rain, between Friday morning and Saturday night; it then tapers off to almost 100% chance of rain. It’s gonna be a damp one. But if you want to hike in Washington, you’d better be able to deal with rain.
I doubt I’ll see many PCT hikers on this section. There’s probably only a few doing what I’m doing, getting to a stopping place and not missing any of the trail until that point.
I had an entire large campsite to myself, with a family off in the distance. Two gentlemen came through but camped elsewhere; they had attempted to drive up Smithbrook Road to get to the trail via Union Gap, but Smithbrook is closed due to fire danger. The road actually goes over the crest and into Eastern Washington, which is undoubtedly the reason for the closure.
Later on, a father and his teenage son showed up, with shiny new gear. Unfortunately for them, they only threw the rain fly on top of the tent, and didn’t bother staking it out. This may not bode well.
I had my current favorite dinner: 4 oz of spaghetti, cooked until not quite al dente, and then dehydrated. Rehydrate in boiling water for a minute, drain. Toss with 2 packs olive oil, and then 2 packs parmesan. About 800 calories. I’ve got to think about what I’ll be eating the next few days, as I will undoubtedly be cooking in my vestibule, out of the weather.
And speaking of weather, it’s starting to move in; things are clouding up, with mackerel skies and mare’s tails.
I texted with Steve for a bit. I told him I’ve faced bigger challenges in my life than just putting off a dream for a year. I can do this. But I don’t want to. I want to keep going, and hit the border. And I don’t want to wait; I want to do it right now. But that’s not even an option, from the side of the fire that I’m on.
So I’ll just keep plugging away, and knock off 77 miles. And good heavens, I’ve done part of this segment in the rain before, so I guess I can do it again. I’m not going to push myself too hard, because why? I’ve got enough food, and the trail is familiar enough. So sometime next Thursday-ish, I’ll head down the hill.