Mile 2247.0-2279.8 (32.8)
The first few miles of trail this morning were choked with hikers. One southbounders told me he had seen ten nobos in the last hour. Where did all these people come from?
I passed two older ladies, then a couple. The trail was smooth and shaded. There were a few mosquitos out, just extra motivation to keep moving. I filled up on water at a small stream. Washington’s ponds are small, muddy, and low. I like clear and cold water when I can get it.
The forested morning slowly gave way to views as the afternoon progressed. First, the hills behind me. I climbed higher and Mt. Adams peaked out. I hiked up and over Cispus Pass, which was stunning. Deep valleys, carved mountains, everything exposed. On the other side of the pass, the landscape turned green and stoney. Streams cascaded down the steep slope until little waterfalls and clear pools developed. I could see Mt. St. Helena to the southeast.
The high point of the day was in the late afternoon. I climbed up toward Old Snowy Mountain, the whole blue ocean of minor mountains below me. Mt. Rainier to the east, presiding over the whole scene. I took the alternate, the old PCT that climbs up and over the new stock route, for bonus views.
I could see for miles. I could see the Knife’s Edge to my immediate north, the narrow path kicked into a pile of scree that clings to the mountainside. I could see the rest of Washington, the deep forests and alpine lakes and steep mountains that would keep me company in this last stretch. I could see the monument, the Canadian border, Manning Park and the bus ride to Vancouver. I knew if I looked south I would see Campo and Pat and giardia and hikers napping in the shade, rattlesnakes and cowboy camping and windmills, high mountain passes and microspikes tracks and raging creeks, and the rest of the long solo trek to where I am now.
I sat down for the first time all day. I ate some chocolate, some almonds, drank some water. Took it all in. Put my pack back on and kept hiking.