August 30, 2016, Mile 2620: Thirty Plus Eight

At Harts Pass, mile 2620

I hit the trail around 7:30 today. The first order of business was up. As I mentioned, the Scout troop had done this hike in 2010, but in reverse. There were a passel of switchbacks, and I remember thinking at the time that I’d hate to go up. Less of an issue in 2016, as I’d already had a few warmup miles. But it was still nice to get to the top, and, as I remembered, the views were stunning.

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From Grasshopper Pass, the trail traverses very steep slopes for about ten miles. Some of the trail had slumped, which made for an interesting few feet here and there. But it was gorgeous, and I stopped every so often to look up from the trail and take in the vistas.

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I needed to stop for water, and there was a spring at Glacier Pass 2610. It’s maybe 100 vertical feet below a large campsite, so it took a bit to find. Another hiker pointed the way, and soon I found myself in a squishy little meadow, gathering ice cold water. Score!

The trail wound some more, passing uphill of Meadows Campground, and then around the ridge to Harts Pass Guard Station 2620. The ranger wasn’t on duty, but there was one thru at the site: Jan, from Cologne. He was happily munching dinner, and so I signed the register and went to chat for a bit. Turns out he has wretched blisters, making each step a painful challenge. I told him about my leg, and we both agreed that we could pound out thirty miles to the border, plus eight into Manning Park, BC, which is the actual end of the trail.

I had had a meaningful conversation with my leg. It was hurting more, so I pointed out that I was *not* going to brook any nonsense, nor listen to any complaints, for the next thirty eight miles. Its sorry self had carried me twenty five miles since whatever the injury was, and it had damned well wait until Manning Park before I listened to it. Thirty plus eight.

Jan took off, wanting more miles before dark. I paid for a campsite next to the guard station (and next to an Actual Privy). The Actual Privy had a great sign, which read PCT Hikers Only: Please Leave Your Hiker Trash in the Blue Bin. All Else Please Pack Out. The amusing, and no doubt intentional thing was that, within the hiking community, long distance hikers are collectively referred to as hiker trash. It’s less of a commentary on our worth, and much more of a commentary on our appearance.

Shortly after I set up camp, I had company. Speedy Squirrel, an AT thru, was bringing up some flippers. Fox had already done the Harts to the border section, so he was heading south in the morning. Zen and Vanilla needed to go north to tag the border, and then they were going to decide what to do. They flipped up from northern California, so they’ve got a thousand+ miles remaining.

Fox, Zen, and Vanilla sat down with me at the large Actual Picnic Table, and began sorting their resupplies. I made my dinner, and we hung out for the evening.

Thirty plus eight.

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