Monday, August 28, 2017
PCT 17 - Smoke and Poetry - Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass - 71 PCT miles
This short section introduces northbound hikers to the ups and downs of the northern Cascades. We climbed and decended over 17,000 feet, which made for long strenuous days.
The scenery was classic mountain ridges and beautiful lakes, although many of the longer views were obscured by the active forest fires. All of the trails east of the PCT were closed due to the fire and the smoke was thick enough to make my eyes smart at times. On the plus side, this usually-busy section didn't have crowds, even though I hiked through on the weekend.
An unexpected highlight of this section for me was running into Mr. Whiskers, who was hiking southbound. Something possessed me to ask if he was a poet and he proceeded to recite with great expression "If" by Rudyard Kipling, as well as Invictus and Ozymandias. It was a remarkable treat.
Also in this section, I ran into Lori and her husband Bill. Lori and I had hiked together for a few days in April near Tehachapi. They were section hiking southbound and I stayed with them two nights after reaching Stevens Pass, enjoying their hospitality, which included fresh blackberry cobbler.
For two and a half days I hiked with Greg, aka Half Squat, which was a nice variation on my usual solo hiking. Half Squat had balanced being a commercial airline pilot and single dad, resulting in an unperturbable attitude.
For those of you following my foot challenges, I did get some relief using moleskin foam, and will try that again in the next section.
The upcoming section feels a little outside of my comfort zone. 107 miles with more than 25,000 feet of climbing. I'm giving myself 5.5 days, which is my longest stretch so far.
Here is a link to the photo album for this section: https://goo.gl/photos/NFNzyUK453VLNnj78