PCT Day 84, SoBo Day 3

July 5

Mile 2359.9 to mile 2337.5, 22.4 PCT miles, no off trail miles!
Total PCT miles: 672.4
Running total mileage: 773.2

Ughhh! The morning alarms (and Matt’s 50 snoozes)- getting out of the sleeping bag is my least favorite part of the day, especially now that once I do, I have to put on my slightly wet clothes- I don’t think anything really fully dries in Washington, so I have come to accept a constant state of dampness.

While I avoided the inevitable, Matt got out of the tent, retrieved the food bags, and ate breakfast- he apparently saw a few deer with big antlers that I missed ’cause I slept in. No pic though, so did it even happen?? 😉

We started hiking around 8:30, which was later than we had hoped (oops!)
Guys! This morning we had the sun AND A VIEW!!!!

At one point we both stopped dead in our tracks: through some trees we spotted Mt. Rainier! So cool!! I visited Rainier a few years back with my friend Pui-seeing it up close was magical and incredibly beautiful, but from afar if was breathtaking(or was that the climb?)!!

We enjoyed the sun and mountain views for a good portion of the morning!

Around 1115 we sat down at a really nice tent site by a creek for second breakfast/first lunch. We were joined briefly by Shotgun, but he continued on to a cabin on trail about 5 miles away where he was hoping to enjoy his lunch.

Although big black ants kept crawling all over us and onto and into our things, we were enjoying the sunshine so much that we took a 1 hour break!

Eventually we started up again- boy did those 4.7 miles to the cabin feel like they went on forever!! Apparently I wasn’t the only one to think that- about a mile out from the cabin we passed Shotgun sitting nearly on the trail chowing down on some Mountain House backpacker meal- he said he got hungry and couldn’t wait! Hiker hunger, man!

The cabin was super cool- it’s owned and cared for by a local snowmobile club, but it’s open to anyone who can hike there! I know a bunch of people had slept in the cabin to escape the recent wet weather, and when our trail fam passed through about 10 days before they were surprised by a cooler full of trail magic! We only stopped briefly to look in the cabin, sign the guest book, and fill up some water – Matt was awesome and walked over to the buggy creek to get a liter for me while I researched possible campsites for the night.

We didn’t stay at the cabin long as we still had another 10 miles or so to go, but before leaving we chatted quickly with a SoBo hiker named Patrick- he had started at the Canada/US border just 11 days before- that’s over 300 miles in 11 days!!!! The coolest part? He had met our friend Watercolor who flipped up to the border to hike SoBo!! Love this small world! Since this guy is super speedy, we told him to keep an eye and ear out for our long-lost trail fam!
In our brief time at the cabin we watched as low clouds started to roll in quickly. Matt checked the weather on our Garmin and it said we had a 10% chance of rain- “great,” I said, “10% for us means it’s definitely gonna rain.” …sure enough, we eventually had to stop to put our pack covers on to try to keep our already damp things from getting wetter.

The rain drops were HUGE, but I somehow managed to stay fairly dry- it was as if I was walking between the drops!!
We walked for about 5 miles and stopped for water and a snack. Matt’s knee had been bugging him and I was tired, so we agreed to call it quits for the day and camp .2 miles away.

Unfortunately, when we got to that site, it was in a field of a recent burn area- the site itself was awesome, but we didn’t want to risk a branch or tree falling on us so we decided to continue another 4.6 miles to the next site.

The rain continued off and on for a bit, but it wasn’t terrible. Whereas previous days’ mist gave the trail a mystical and enchanted feeling, today felt very eerie as we hiked through the burn areas.

We saw blue sky briefly!

At one point, as we were crossing a ridge, I heard a noise. I looked around and saw that I had accidentally kicked some rocks down the steep slope, so I figured that that was the noise. As I continued walking I heard it again- it was maybe like a “roar” or a large sigh/huff. This time when I turned I found Matt stopped and looking up in the direction of the noise.

“Matt?”
“Yeah, I heard it.”
“Bear?”

“No idea.”

“Mountain lion?”
“Nah, they wouldn’t be that loud.” (Comforting.)
We didn’t see anything so we carried on.

We found a nice site around 7:40ish, set up camp, prepared and ate our food, tied our food bags to a tree, then climbed into our tent.

At some point during the day I had realized that more so than finishing our “thru-hike” at the Canadian border as I had originally dreamed of, I just wanted to finish the 2650+ miles in it’s entirety, somehow connecting our steps. With our 5 weeks off trail we were closing in on an already small window to end in Canada before the snow starts again, and the more we talk to people who had finished in October, the more we realize it wouldn’t be enjoyable to end in snow or freezing rain. I mentioned this to Matt, just to test the water, and he agreed with no objections. SO, double flip and a flop, NoBO turned SoBo turned NoBo to SoBo again: we will hike into Canada and come back south to end in Tehachapi, the place that tried to end our thru-hike in the first place! We just need to figure out when and where and how we will flip!

Ps..i ate ramen for the first time ever! It was delish! But I hope bears don’t like the ramen seasoning that I powdered my leg with! Grrr!

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