From Mica Lake to Miners’ Creek
The blue beaten steel of mica lake last night is transformed – just for a moment – into a bowl of molten gold. The weather forecast had said rain for today, but instead it is this golden morning. V, Thinkfast, and Goosebumps came in to Mica Lake a little bit after us last night, and it’s a companionable morning. The light shines across the deep valley and through Thinkfast and Goosebump’s tent, making the little gray envelope of silnylon look like the castle of a queen. We share the coffee and the view. I think this might be as good as it ever gets, and I don’t even like mornings.
From Indian Creek Trailhead
Even with the sun, even with a “ventilated” tarp, it is always a soggy morning here in the North Cascades. I hear Biscuit stirring next to us and know it’s time to get up. It’s cold enough this morning that for the first time I leave on my thick polyester leggings when we start to hike. I’m too thick through the thighs but with not enough meat on my backside, and they have tendency to slowly slide down. J makes fun of me and my saggy butt as I hitch them up again, the not-stretchy-enough fabric straining against my well-developed hiker thighs. As soon as I decide to stop being cranky about cold fingers, I am again blown away.
From Grizzly Peak to Indian Creek Trailhead
The inside of our tarp is sopping wet, I mean, possibly wetter inside than outside. I peek outside – nope. Everything is sopping wet. I turn over and go back to sleep.
When I wake back up, a brilliant ray of sun is shining in. The sky is completely blue. The inside of the tarp is still sopping wet, everything else is damp at best, it’s cold, I still don’t want to get up… I’m still tired from my bad night’s sleep at the Dinsmores and this will be our sixth day of hiking straight. But I know when I get up things will be ok.
From the Dinsmores’ to Grizzly Peak
The rain is back, I slept badly in the Dinsmore dormitory, and we have no food. I can’t do anything about the first two, but I’ll need to fix the last one. We tried to forward one of the boxes we never picked up in Oregon, and it didn’t make it. (I’ll be darned if J throwing away the package tracking numbers two months ago isn’t still biting us in the ass. Don’t throw away your tracking numbers.) There isn’t even a real convenience store in this “town”, so it looks like this is going to be our first complete resupply out of the Hiker Box.
From Deception Lakes to the Dinsmores
We sleep well; we sleep late. The plan was to get up early and get our miles done early to increase our chances of a successful hitch to the trail angels The Dinsmores’ from Steven Pass. So much for that. But I feel wonderful.
The morning is cloudy and dim, but dry. For a moment it even seems that the sun is going to make an appearance. That means double poles! I can leave the umbrella put away for a while. (Some people have a nifty setup where their umbrella hooks into their pack – but it’s never worked for me.)
From the Waptus River to Deception Lakes
Due to the falling rain, we make the decision to keep our foodbags dry and inside the tarp tonight, instead of dealing with a bear-hang like we usually do. (Rodent-hang is more like it, seeing as we usually hang it about mouth-height for the average bear.) It’s bad backpacking form, but classic thru-hiker move, keeping your food inside your shelter. Seems to work for everyone else… I snuggle myself down into my sleeping bag for the night.
I’m tossing and turning long after it gets dark. The rain makes me uneasy, and the mouse that keeps crawling over my face isn’t helping. (Shouldn’t-a put the food bag inside the tarp.) As the rain falls harder and harder, the ground stops absorbing it and small rivulets begin coursing inside the tarp. I make small dams of the loose pine needles around me, fall back asleep.
From ridge above Spectacle Lake to Waptus River
At each of my three morning alarms I wake up, look outside the tarp at the exquisite morning light across the peaks, then go back to sleep. I’m feeling a bit off. Or possibly just lazy. Hard to say.
The golden dawn is gray and dull already by the time we are up. Downhill from here, I suppose, although only in the metaphorical sense. Plenty of hills to climb.
From Snoqualmie Pass to the ridge above Spectacle Lake
Bacon and eggs, our packs stuffed with candy bars, our clothes clean, a pair of new shoes – and a forecast of rain. The fog is low here in Issaquah when Barry gives us a ride back to Snoqualmie Pass. We make small talk while I try and steel myself for rain. It’s ok, it’s ok, rain is ok…
Barry drops us off at the Chevron and wishes us luck. We’re back on our own.
In the basement bedroom where we’ve been put up by Barry and Jean, the sunlight bursts in, brilliant and warm. We stay in bed, watch the sun wheel an arc from one side to the other. Barry and Jean check in with us to make sure we don’t need to do anything? No – we’re going to stay here today, if that’s alright, stay in bed and watch a perfect Indian summer day slip through our fingers.
We know the rain is coming. We know that days like today are almost gone for the year. The forecast says – rain. Rain. Rain! And today is impeccably blue, impossibly perfect, and I am going to stay indoors.
From mirror lake to Snoqualmie Pass (Issaquah)
Our alarm has gone off, and we can hear the soft noises of 3D getting up and packing her things. We follow suit, sorting out our gear in the early morning light in record time. CrackerJack has emerged from his tent and has his music going. J and I munch down our last two clif bars.
The sun is just up as we head out. The sunlight on the mountains above the lake reflects back – damn if it isn’t a good day for hiking.