Pacific Crest Trail: Day #19-23
Skykomish to Snoqualmie
72 more miles down
2,390 miles remain
It’s 10pm in Snoqualmie Pass where I’ve emerged after four more nights in the Wilderness. I am sleeping inside tonight and I am clean, at least as clean as a thru-hiker can be.
I stood in the shower watching dirt swirl down the drain. It’s the second round of soap yet you’d never have guessed. A dirty handprint ran down the shower wall. I stood staring remembering how dirty thru-hiking can be. Had I not jumped in lake before town…
Fortunately, I am a veteran dirtbag and I love every second, the dirty and even the miserable. Tonight though, was not even close to the dirtiest I’ve been. I’ve been made to preshower under cold hoses and once, while cycling to El Salvador, I was so filthy my pants held there form and stood on their own while I slept. And yet, as I watched the dirt run down the drain, I couldn’t help but think, “WTF am I doing.”
We hitch from the deli in Skykomish using their custom sign. At Stevens Pass, we chill playing games of giant chess and talking to the mountain bikers. Then, we walk up the ski slope and into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Much of the trail south of Skykomish stays in river valley. Mosquittoes and flies vie for our blood keeping us moving or under our netting. We keep small fires to smoke them out; respite while we cook and eat dinner.
Chris and Dianna from Germany. Clay from Prince Edward Island, Canada.
A trail crew, the North 350 Blades, works to clear the trail of a massive, fallen tree. They use a handsaw to cut through the 4ft diameter trunk. Wedges keep the cut open preventing the saw from “pinching” or getting stuck in the tree. Metal wedges keep the wood from twisting and the webbing is for pulling once the piece is cut. I got to tie this knot as I was the only one on this side who knows what a “sheet bend” is. I use the knot for combining guy lines to form long ones and for my work in Pittsburgh as an arborist.
Eventually, we ascend up into the mountains. We pass Spectacle Lake and camp high above with a view worthy of the lakes name.
Clay and I traverse talus slopes of basalt that tinks underfoot like glass as we wrap around staring at Rainier for ages. You can see miles and miles of trail ahead. You can even see Mt. Baker far on the horizon. We’ll pass it too in another week or two.
We say goodbye to Galcier Peak looking back for our final view.
Then, we cross the Kendal Katwalk, trail blasted from a pass with verticle drops on either side. From there, we descend for miles into Snoqualmia pass where where we feast and sleep the night away.
We find friends waiting at the pass. I collect my resupply packages from the pile in the Chevron Station cooler. Then, we cross the street for food and beer at the brewery across the street. Trail magic provides three pitchers of beer and a blunt (as normal and legal in Washington as the beer). We sway across the street for a shower and incredible nights sleep in soft beds at the Summit Inn. Thanks Thomas!
Now, it’s on to White Pass. The section is roughly 100 miles. I plan to spend five nights out. See y’all up the trail!