Stevens Pass (2476.0) to Pear Lake (2494.3)
Miles to Canada 165.8 (266km)
Breakfast was served at 8am. There was a large group of us hungry hikers. Conversations centred on whether or not the fire closures on the PCT would reopen. Some hikers were so exhausted they already decided they would take the bus and ferry to Stehiken, thus cutting off 100 miles of trail. I’ve mentioned it before, we are all exhausted. We are all tired. We would love nothing more than eat 10 meals per day and sleep in a warm bed or eat those 10 meals from a warm bed. But still we are here moving north.
The news came through at 9am. I had already finished two full sized breakfast plates of eggs, bacon, French toast, pancakes and coffee. I was ravenous hungry. The PCT was open all the way to Canada from Stevens Pass. I am unable to explain the combination of relief, satisfaction and excitement I got from hearing the news. I sent text messages to others hikers behind me on the trail, probably out in the cold snow or rain. At least they would have some good news.
I hitch hiked back to the start of the trail. Other hikers arrived around the same time as me. We were all excited and ready to hit the trail until someone mentioned that we should go to the cafe to eat more calories before hiking.
I set off alone on the trail at around 11am. The weather was cool and cloudy but it looked like the rain might hold off. It didn’t. By 3pm I was climbing up to the top of Grizzly Mountain in a snow storm. It started as hail then it progressed to wet snow. Initially it melted as it hit the ground but after an hour of snow it started to accumulate. Not deep but enough that I had to be careful on my feet. Taking about feet they were cold and wet. I’m thinking waterproof shoes might at least trap the water inside the shoe long enough so it warmed up. Well, thru hiking is a compromise.
The snow stopped as I hit the top of Grizzly Mountain, one of those rare times the PCT actually summits a mountain, even if it was a complete anticlimax. It was now late afternoon. I was cold, wet and starting to think about camp. I made another 4 miles to camp next to a lake with a lady and her dog.
I was worried about how much fuel I had for cooking. I was unable to find any camping gas at Skykomish or Stevens Pass. I suspect I have enough for 3-4 days. It’s around 120 miles till my next resupply in either Mazama or Winthrop. I might be eating cold meals if I’m not careful. I warmed but didn’t boil the water for my freeze dried meal, a scenario I will need to repeat in coming days. I hope I can make it.
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