Pacific Crest Trail – Day 95 (32 miles)
Last night had strong, fridge gusts of wind. I didn’t want to get up so I hit the snooze button then turned off my alarm completely. I didn’t really sleep, I just lay there daydreaming.
At 7 am I finally convinced myself to get up and start walking.
It was a glorious morning. The smoke haze from the nearby fire painted amazing colours on the steep mountain peaks. The North Cascades are a truly special place.
On the way down to the first valley of the day, I met an older guy who hiked the trail in 2015. We stopped and talked for a few minutes and he recited a poem to me: ‘If’ by Kippling.
Enjoying his recital, I continued on down the hill. At the bottom, I ran into a ranger closing the trails out of this valley as well. Apparently, the fire had grown by 1,000 hectares last night, but the PCT was still fine to travel on.
I proceeded up the hill, watching Cathedral Peak draw ever closer. At the pass, I spent half an hour taking photos of the towering rock formation. The haze adding a depth to the landscape that I was truly stunned by.
I left the peak behind and started down again. I had three small ridges to get over before nightfall.
They were steep and took effort going both up and down. The views from the tops made it worthwhile, but the stars of the show were the three turquoise lakes in each valley.
I got really hungry and stopped at the third lake for dinner. The Sun just starting its evening performance.
A little tired by this stage I pressed on to a fourth lake. I wanted to camp just short of it so that I would have an easy time getting to Skykomish tomorrow in time to get my food package from the Post Office.
About a mile short of my goal, I ran into a could of southbound hikers. They said that there is no camping from our spot to the lake as the trail followed a steep traverse the whole time. The lake also had a lot of mosquitos.
I ended up cutting my day slightly short and set up camp with them. It turns out that they hiked all the trail up to the Washington border last year. This time around they were hiking the 515-mile missing section.