Mile 2281.6 to mile 2265.1, 16.5 PCT miles, no measured off trail miles!
We are trying really hard to like you, Washington, but you’re making it very difficult!
We woke up around 7 to off and on showers. For those keeping count, this is day 4 of rain in Washington- since we were expecting Washington to be more wet than the desert it’s a little easier to accept, BUT after having two weeks of rain in the desert we are just OVER it! Especially since our shit doesn’t dry here. Ugh.
While Matt checked weather on our InReach, I dozed off- I believe Matt did too, eventually. By 0845 we were awake and packing, but taking our time- we were in no rush to get wet. We talked about maybe taking the day off in the tent- we did pack enough food- but we were both anxious to make progress.
So, we started up around 1015 wearing our rain coats, rain gloves, and bug nets.
We retraced those .9 miles we had hiked the day before, reclimbing that damn big-ass tree (we are now masters!), and slipping on the same muddy trail. We ended up taking off our rain coats- we were moving enough that we were creating enough body heat
It was wet with off and on rain as we climbed into new territory and passed our originally planned campsite- we both agreed that turning back the night before was the right decision- it would have been terrible up there!!
It was a rough morning: steep climbs with shitty weather makes for grumpy, miserable hikers!!! Matt suggested we put on our rain coats for wind protection just in time- as we reached the first of the two peaks we had to summit, it started to POUR!!!!!! Rain was coming at us sideways, absolutely soaking us! Our shorts were drenched, our spirits squashed.
We carried on.
Wet. Pissed. Cold. Tired.
While it wasn’t exactly frightening or anxiety inducing(maybe thanks to the weather? While we were missing the “incredible views” we also couldn’t see how far we could fall!) the trail was pretty sketchy- small, loose rocks (scree) became piles of big, wet slabs of rock (talus)- I was thankful we were going UP this section and not down, as Matt and I tend to skip and slide down scree- not fun!
I started getting anxious with the navigation- the trail crossed from sketchy rock to a snow patch, and I was over it- Matt took the lead as we climbed the second and final peak.
Wet. Windy. Cold. Tired. Over it.
After snapping a quick selflie at the top we started our decent.
I took the lead again. At one point we started to climb again- I stopped, knowing something wasn’t right. If there is ONE thing I plan and prep for, it’s the elevation gains of the day- I know where they are, how high we have to climb, and over how many miles- and there was NOT supposed to be another climb! We pulled out our map and realized we were somehow off trail. Some brief navigation and wandering brought us back on trail, where we had to cross a fairly large snow field. Slow and steady, we did it without our spikes. We crossed a few snow fields and snow bridges, some sketchy because we could hear running water- was it below us?! Feck.
I was miserable. The climb down was worse than the climb up. The wind was blowing and chilling me to the bone. No looked at my phone: we had been hiking for 4 hours and had only gone 6 miles! (To put this into perspective, we hiked 11.6 miles in 4 hrs and 20 min the next day…)
I couldn’t wait to be below the tree line, where I imagined(/hoped& prayed) it would be warmer.
Sure enough, as we lost elevation it started to warm up and the wind died down a bit. I found a neat tree fort that gave us some shelter while we stuffed our faces with some snacks.
Not long after leaving the tree fort we passed a NoBo couple adjusting their layers and gear before heading up into the mountain. After passing, Matthew said, “they don’t know what they are getting into…” Yep, but neither did we when we climbed up that morning. I shuttered.
As we continued down and walked around a ridge, we were treated to some amazing views.
The trail crossed over a waterfall (= wet feet) and up over a pass. Gorgeous.
We had to jump across a pretty strong-flowing creek.
We came across a potential campsite and saw Shotgun was already set up, but we decided to press on.
At this point we were hiking in the trees, and most people that we passed asked if they would be out of the trees soon- they were sick of the coverage, while just hours before I was longing for tree coverage!!
We ended up crossing paths with NoBo hiker named Sunny, who warned us that the mosquitos get super bad about 5 miles away- exactly where we were looking to camp!! Grrr! As an afterthought he said, “oh, and about half a mile back somebody saw a bear.” -that just put into perspective how bad those skeeters were- he thought of telling us about them, 5 miles away, vs. the bear around the corner.
As I turned a corner I thought I saw Matt walking toward me- what?! He was just behind me?! This dude, sporting a NYR hat (LGR!!), was rocking Matt’s outfit!! The best part? A few days before Big Momma had sent us a photo of this guy, saying that they found Matt’s outfit twin!! He laughed and said he had passed a group of 4 girls a few days back who said they knew somebody hiking in the same outfit!! I loved running into somebody who had met our old trail fam!
The guy’s name was Ziplock and he was just hiking OR and WA to finish his previous year’s thru-hike attempt. Maybe 15-20 minutes later we met Shaker- he, too, was just hiking OR and WA to finish his previous thru-hike attempt. Now that we are out of the desert section where everyone was just starting out and hiking north, we are not only meeting a ton of other flippers but also meeting a bunch of people who are tying up loose ends and completing unfinished business, hiking anywhere from small sections to entire states to finish their PCT adventure.
We finally got to our campsite- it was a great site a little off trail (we had to walk on a small overgrown path to find it) and it was next to a lake. Let me rephrase: we finally got to our campsite- it was mosquito hell.
We couldn’t set up our tent fast enough, and even after jumping in at record speed we found that we had about 79 new, blood-thirsty roommates. Holy shit. I was SO itchy and disturbed that I couldn’t even eat dinner- well, j/k, I totally ate dinner, but I didn’t enjoy it. It was driving me mad- my entire body was itching and I was pretty sure I was going to die. Matt thought it was hilarious.
So, some bug incidents (or shall I say insectdents- getttt it?!?) #igotmaddadjokes
1. I’m pretty sure 12 mosquitos flew into my pants when I tried to pee. As soon as my pants were down they dive-bombed me and I was completely surrounded and defenseless. I am never peeing ever again. I feel like a million ants are crawling around in my shorts right now… For my Rady girls, I feel like I’m having baclofen withdrawal: I’m itchy, bitchy, and twitchy AF!
2. I wiped my nose to get what I thought was a dry, crusty booger off the bottom of my nose (ew! gross! I know, but resources are limited here in the back country!! Sorry Mom, you can’t disown me.) BUT it turns out it wasn’t a booger….it was a dry, crusty MOSQUITO!!! I hate my life!
3. I finally crawled into my sleeping bag and started to recover from the Great Mosquito Ambush of 2019 when I noticed something on my gaitor- at closer inspection, it appeared to be a big, black ant. He wasn’t moving, so he was presumed dead. I tried to flick him off my gaitor and out of the tent, but that little fucker had his teeth stuck in my gaitor. I used the tent door to create friction, trying to cut the ant loose-but no! He was REALLY stuck! I had to use the tent door to squeeze and pull him off- guys, it was SO gross! (This might be black ant payback, tho- the other day I stepped on a stick at the same time I noticed a black ant on the distal end of the stick- the ant was catapulted probably a foot in the air- it was funny to witness and watch, but I guess the ant community didn’t find it too funny…)
4. There was a tiny worm IN my bug net while I was wearing it.
Yup, I am trying really hard to like you, Washington, but…