Mile 2461.7-2484.2 (22.5)
I was the first one awake at 6:30am. I ate breakfast outside, packed my pack, and was ready to go an hour later. A sobo hitched out with me as far as Skykomish. Our ride had just finished his PCT hike that he started in 2013.
A few miles in, I started seeing lots of day hikers. I felt overwhelmed at the groups and the traffic on the trail. There was a nice lake nearby but I wanted to get away from the crowds.
It got better eventually. I slowed down and ate huckleberries. I marveled at the crystal clear streams. I felt tired and walked slowly in the sun. Another hot day. Breezes up on the ridge felt like magic.
I climbed to Grizzly Peak and saw mountains in all directions, only Mt. Baker robed in snow. I imagined coming back and hiking this section in thirty years. I wonder if I will still feel as breathless and inspired.
I stopped for water at Pear Lake, a huge and amazingly clear body of water, then continued on. I felt tired from last night’s late bedtime on top of my normal fatigue. So I camped at 7:30pm, a little earlier than normal, and ate snacks in my little tent, safe from the flies and mosquitos, listening to the trickle of a mountain stream.