Jerry, Marti, and Gavin gave us an amazing farewell with a hearty breakfast of eggs, hash browns and pancakes, and a ride up to the Pass with lots of hugs and kisses and a prayer - they're such a blessing to us! It was hard to say goodbye, especially knowing that it was our last "family" stop before being out on our own. We've really appreciated the extra time spent with the Neylands and Crams. They'll be highlights of our entire trip, I'm sure.
Despite not getting on the trail until around 10AM, we were still able to put in over 20 miles. I never knew how pretty it was south of Steven's Pass! Great views of Hwy 90 and then of Mt. Rainier! There's little lakes here and there an pretty meadows. Our guide books talk about clear-cuts dominating this section but I be to differ! Go to the Olympic Peninsula if you want a bit of perspective! Now those are UGLY clear cuts - these are clean and are growing back with green plants.... We cmaped by a road, one of the many we crossed. I liked them because they helped give me destinations to keep working toward. Sometimes you need motivation from the littlest things when you're backpacking all day!
People help too, which we saw a few this day. My favorite was the Grandpa who took the grandchildren fishing at a little picturesque lake. We ate some lunch and listened happily.
Day Two - July 16th
We decided that we had camped in such a spot that it put us within range of a shelter over 20 miles down the trail. We gave ourselves the lofty goal and sure enough we made it! It was exhausting with some parts of the trail. This was the second day I pulled my radio/MP3 out to get me up a big hill. The trail changed many times which made for some interesting hiking - nonetheless tiring - but fantastic views again and more people!
When we got to the shelter, another couple named Scott and Jackie were there, having hiked in from White Pass! I was so happy to hear what their hike had been so far, and we shared about ours. They showed us some pictures of the snow that lay ahead - YUCK!
We shared the cabin, which by the way was really beautiful - definitely mice issues, but there were a lot of hooks to hang things on. At one point I heard them chewing on something, so I woke Jason up to have him go check it out - that's his job right?! Apparently things seemed OK, and indeed in the morning nothing had bee eaten! I hate when mice win things!
Day Three - July 17th
We had a beautiful sunny morning in Gov't Meadows - lazy, sleepy, lacking motivation. Scott and Jackie awoke and we spent a little more time with them before finally getting going. Talk about time warp. Jason and I felt so weird all day. 1.2 miles seemed like 31. All day. And it was warm, fairly dry, and my feet hurt so much. The poor things developed some blisters from the days before. No fun.
We saw even more people today - popular section! Horse riders even! It was fun chatting with them about what we're doing and answering their questions. It's encouraging to hear other's enthusiasm.
It was a long day but still put in our 20 miles or so to Sheep Lake. We set up our tarp in really windy conditions and snuggled up eat some yummy chili.
Day Four - July 18th
Hello Snow. And hello Troy and Carrie! Seeing these two was a huge encouragement! Here we are, traversing a snow field, and here come two others right towards us! We stopped and talked with them for a little while and it was so great hearing a little bit about them and why they were out there. They had come from White Pass too and told us that we could do it! I love that. Thanks Abba!
We left them and continued on - snow, views, more snow, more views, clear trail, mosquitoes...oh yes - they're out in full force. But we fight back with our awesome bug net that Jason sewed. We sleep and even eat sometimes with no bug issues!
We made it to a lovely camp outside of a meadow and next to a creek. We've seen a lot of elk in this area which has been exciting. We set up camp early and cleaned up a bit - now time for some pistachio pudding with Newman O's mint cookies! Tomorrow, White Pass!
Day Five - July 19th
Being here at the Kracker Barrel is awesome! It feels so good to rest and relax, use the bathroom, eat a good sandwich!
Well I must say that this last section was less "Extreme" - minus the very extreme mosquitoes! But we just walked ourselves over 98 miles, seeing beautiful mountains, flowers, elk, marmots....It wasn't all easy, that's for sure. We ran into snow for just a little while - thank God! I'm nervous about the next section because it goes up to 7,000 feet again - yuck! Good views from that high though, huh? Reports are that there's a lot of snow so we'll see what happens.....
Blisters, tired feet - taking rest breaks feels so good! All of our camps have been great. The food has bee awesome! MVP's on this trip: chocolate Newman O cookies, crocs, sunblock, trekking poles, bug net, my hubby! I wouldn't be able to keep going if it weren't for him - he's a fantastic companion!!
Thank you for praying! Keep it coming!