Things are working out pretty good currently.
On July 11th, after sitting in the Stevens pass ski lodge for 6 hours or more and having some bad food, we went out to good ol' highway 2 and stuck our thumbs out. We were kind of having a crappy day but then when we started trying to hitchhike we were laughing and having fun. I guessed it would take us ten minutes and it took us exactly ten minutes.
Two old hippies pulled onto the shoulder and gave us a ride. They were driving to Seattle to pick up marijuana. Recreational pot is legal in Washington now, wow! Then they offered us a hit of their pipe. They had no teeth so we were wary but, oh well, we hit it anyway.
We were dropped off 12 miles down the road at a parking lot for Deception Falls, where there supposedly is a trail that connects to the Pacific Crest Trail halfway through section J. This is the snowbound section we tried to hike into 2 days before. Deception eh, whats so decieving!? We walked up to the falls, it was a big cascade, there was a tunnel under the highway we walked through. Then a dead end. We climbed up to the side of the highway and there saw a faint trail. We followed it.
It was rough and unsigned and brought us to more waterfalls. We found ourselves stoned as we wandered into this dripping rainforest. Moss clung to the trees and carpeted the ground. Tall grand ceders and drooping hemlock trees surrounded us, with an undergrowth of ferns. We came eventually to a sign with a map and we hiked 3 miles in.
We camped that night in a glorious spot, wood didn't burn well there, it was very moist. In the morning we hiked about 12 miles. We forded some big streams and saw some waterfalls. We found a warm shallow alpine lake and bathed in it. Then we found that Pacific Crest Trail. We were kind of killing time because we had still 4 days worth of food intended for section J. We didn't need to be another week early, this snow needs to melt! So we were still hiking around section J just more dysfunctionally. It was good training. We found the most beautiful spot that night.
The next day we climbed to the top of Piper Pass. It was the snowbound pass that had defeated us on July 10th. We went around the backside and conquered it. There was no snow on this side, Deception Creek bypassed all the miserable white stuff. The view was great up there, we got our first look at wicked Glacier Peak, the mountain responsible for all this wild terrain, what a beast.
So without enough food to continue to Snoqualmie we left the way we came. We spent that night down on Deception Creek and both cleaned ourselves very well on a swim in the rushing stream. The next day we vamoosed.
We hit the highway. We intended to hike to Skykomish and find some way to get to 100 mile distant Snoqualmie. There wasn't a trail to get to Skykomish like I had thought and searching for it brought us on a mile or two road walk along the shoulder of highway 2, affectionately known as the "highway of death". Then we hiked a pretty backroad back and wound up wandering around a dirt road picking berries. We gorged ourselves on salmonberries, thimbleberries, purple thimbleberries, and the most delicious blackberries ive ever had.
So Maggie said, through a mouthful of berries, "I wish someone would just offer us a ride so we didn't have to hitchhike." 10 minutes later a lady pulls up in a Prius and offers us a ride! She was old, quirky, and nice. She brought us right to the magnificent Skykomish deli and who did we see walking past but our friend Heidi. A girl we met on the trail 2 days earlier who is hiking northbound through Washington. We congratulated her on making it to Skykomish. She gave us a peach and a bunch of cherries and then her ride showed up and off she went to Seattle. It was perfect timing that we saw her again.
Then a stranger handed us a huge chocolate muffin. Then we got ice cream and sandwiches and someone else offered us a ride the next 10 miles and brought us right back to Andrea Dinsmores doorstep. Back to the wonderful hiker haven for showers and a PCT movie night!
In the morning we had the grand breakfast at the Baring store and the great man Jim drove us all the way around the mountains, a two hour drive to Snoqualmie pass. He talked my ear off the whole time it was fun. We found ourselves in a foreign town again, back on our own, and wandered into the most dirty, disorganized Chevron station ive ever seen. Thete were boxes on the floor, food everywhere, shoe boxes stacked to the ceiling. I found the bad tempered mexican man running the place and asked him about my PCT general delivery coming here. "Its in the back" he tells me. So I wander off and find my way into turned off walk in cooler filled to the cieling with junk. Flipped over and beaten up among the horde was my food box with the turquoise tape. I grabbed it. I saw the back kitchen of this place and there was a tv on the ground, bags of meatballs on the ground, dirty pans and boxes laying everywhere, and barely enough floor space to walk around, yikes!
So we met the trail angel Dan and he let us hang out by his food cart "the Aardvark" for hours. We found a bag of cookies, Dan gave us beef stew. He gave us each two 16oz beers for free. He gave us a bowl of chicken curry. A stranger walked up and handed us a huge blueberry muffin!
Then who was to show up but our friend Jes. He hiked section J and had just made it through. Great seeing him again and we traded socks for chocolate. We eventually shoved off, hiking two miles in past I-90 to a lake and camped. Wow what a week, cannot believe the kindness of strangers. We are having an excellent journey. Then it was today. We got on the PCT for real here in segment I. Snoqualmie pass to White pass. 99 miles and several mountain passes. I believe the snow is melted here, its July 16th.
Today we hiked 21 miles and learned that wow, no snow means- no water! We've been used to constant water. Today we went 14 miles and then instead of stopping to camp went forward. I thought there was plentiful water but have been misreading the maps a tad. There was suddenly no water for 7 miles and we needed to be by it to camp, we didn't have enough water to cook. We made it to a spring, found a nice spot nestled in the beargrass, and now are looking forward to this grand adventure. Finally saw mt Rainier today, he's immense, looks like a ghost mountain.