Snoqualmie to StevensAfter soaking our feet and licking our wounds for a day, we caught a ride up to Snoqualmie Pass with a new member of the hiking team - Elissa (Andrew's sister) was out to join us for her first-ever backpacking trip. We figured a 7 day trip would be a good introduction (following the trial-by-fire McDavid rule).
We headed up from Snoqualmie in the warm late morning, caught views from the Kendall Katwalk (a part of the trail blasted into the side of granite with dynamite), enjoyed a beautiful sunset, read some poetry, and fell to sleep at our campsite under clear skies at Ridge lake.
|Heading up from Snoqualmie Pass on a hot, clear day.|
|Taking in the views from Kendall Catwalk.|
|Views near Ridge Lake.|
|Family photo shoot at sunset, Ridge Lake.|
|they finally catch us.|
|Clouds spilling over three craggy peaks (Three Queens?).|
|Hurriedly swimming before the rain starts.|
The clouds finally overtook us as we stopped to make camp and swim at Spectacle lake. We huddled in the tent, reading and cooking through the afternoon and evening as the rains came once again.
We quickly became pros at this as we waited out thunderstorms and hail under our tarp over the next several days.
|Walking through burned forests|
|Escondido Ridge through the clouds.|
|A plane makes it's way across the sky above Deep Lake and (the non-cathedral-like side of) Cathedral Peak|
Another darn lake, also beautiful
Along with lakes, there were stream crossings...
...forests consisting mainly of snapped-in-half...
...and sign-eating trees...
...beautiful views back toward Mt Daniels...
...and birthday candles.
|Melting a candle to a Snickers bar counts as a birthday celebration, right?|
|waiting in the rain, ready for a shower|
Stevens Pass to Rainy Pass
Section K. One of the most beautiful and rugged sections of the PCT. I know I might be hasty making this claim, having not walked the whole trail, but I have a feeling that I am right about this one.
We had a bit'o'weather at the beginning of this section, and didn't get many pictures or views of the far-away stuff the first few days, but for those you can look here or here or here. I did keep noticing the smaller plants, fungi, mosses, and lichens filling up every space near the trail.
|Ferns growing from cracks in the rock|
|I love the concentric rings on this one|
|and the purple color of this one (more vivid in real life)|
|blankets of moss|
When the clouds lifted the second day the vistas were spectacular. We camped at Lake Sally Anne, mostly because there are views like this from camp:
We curved through familiar territory - Cady Ridge, Meander Meadows, Indian Pass, Dishpan Gap, Kodak Peak - all subtly different than previous trips.
|You big, beautiful thing, you (the mountain...of course)|
|One of my favorite Wildernesses|
We climbed up to White Pass, then Red Pass, taking in the vast basin views.
|at Red Pass|
|Down through the Basin beyond Red Pass|
It is always amazing what a difference weather and time of year make on a place.
What a difference a year makes:
What a difference a year makes:
|My favorite tree, 2012|
My favorite tree, 2013
As we neared the climb up to Kennedy Ridge, I began to dread the upcoming overgrown sections that had us tripping and cursing when we section hiked this portion of trail in 2012. A few miles up the trail we ran into some forest service employees that had been out for the last month doing some trail maintenance near Milk Creek. I sang for joy. While we still had downfall to dodge, they had just made our day a lot easier without the extra hindrance of our feet getting tangled in vines. While still a big climb, the Milk Creek valley was much better off this year for walking. This was real trail magic!
|dancing for joy (or drying out my pits)|
|Views of Glacier from Kennedy Ridge.|
|Old Cascade Crest sign at Fire Creek Pass|
|Camp at Grassy Knoll|
|descending from Dolly Vista|
|Racing Logs on the Suiattle Bridge - Andrew won this one|
We pushed hard to make it to Stehekin and ended up completing Section K two days faster than we walked it last year. We took a rest day in Stehekin, whose slogan should be "best place to take a rest day". Andrew ran into old college friends and we met up with some trail pals and spent a sunny day eating baked goods from the bakery and fruit from the farm, reading, lazing by Lake Chelan, swimming, drinking PBR, and slowly doing our laundry and bathing chores.
|North Cascades National Park Boundary|
We took the first bus back out to the trailhead the next morning and made our way ever-northward. We made the decision to get of the trail at Rainy Pass, 50-ish miles short of the Canadian border. We will be back to finish the short walk to Canada soon...maybe when the larches are turning colors this fall.
We stuck our thumbs out at Rainy Pass and got a ride with the first person that pulled in the parking lot. He drove us to Seattle and dropped us off a few miles from our apartment - this might take the prize for best hitchhike ever.