I woke up well rested. Just kidding, that alarm clock was way early, so half asleep me unfortunately pressed snooze twice. Other than that I did sleep quite well, though.
The start of the trail today was a shortish descent along the forest floor, but it had a surprisingly high amount of downed trees forcing us hikers to either step over or halfway crawl/squeeze under. Not that it wasn’t anything that we hadn’t seen before, but this time there were so many that it slowed me down quite a bit and it continued for much of the day. I guess one of the reasons that there were so many was that it often was on steep hillsides potentially making the trees hard to clear. Another could be that this section simply is so remote that it would take a long time to get to for a trail crew.
A bit into the hiking I met the first NOBO since The Mountaineers’ Lodge. We crossed paths trice. I also met two southbound hikers a bit later, but there really weren’t many people out here at all.
After the descent, the trail led across a creek, but the bridge across it had snapped at the middle so that the bridge was first going down touching the bottom of the creek and then back up like a “V”. While not structurally that sound, it was probably still the best way to get across, so I walked across it luckily without getting my feet wet at the middle.
After that there was a long ascent on switchbacks, which eventually lead to some nice views from a mountain top. On the left one could peak into a green and sprawling valley wheras on the right was a much more austere and rocky valley with a small lake at the bottom. There were also nice views of the distant mountains and a few marmots. I had my pre lunch here and took it all in.
I’ve said it before and been fooled by a warm day popping up right after, but today it really felt like an autumn day. It was mostly overcast, windy up high, and so cold that for the first time, aside from the rainy day, I never changed into just shorts but instead kept my warm leggings on all day. Well, I might be fooled again, but it will be autumn, at least technically, in three days.
Shortly after pre lunch the trail would go on a long descent followed by an equally long ascent leading to a new set of nice views with even more of the numerous distant mountains in view. Now the trail stayed up here for a while and went into a new enormous valley, and acro the other side one could just make out where the trail was going on the other side. I once again felt very, very small and alone, but not in a way that was as intimidating as yesterday.
After a while followed a very long descend, and my energy levels unfortunately went in the same direction as I did, but there was still a long way to go. I walked around a incredibly thick downed tree with a diameter was of approximately six feet. That three was huge, and it’d probably take quite some time to saw through it. A bit later there was a nearly as thick log of maybe 5 feet that had actually been sawn through. Someone had indicated years with open with more than six hundred in total. I didn’t recount, so I cannot vouch a hundred percent for that, though.
Unexpectedly, I saw four tents already pitched, which made me a bit jealous, as I still had a while to go. A bit later I had a ramen break. It was almost dark. Two through hikers that I had crossed paths with a couple of times starting all the way back at Whitney, MacGyver and Neo, passed me. They had spent over four hours trying to take a shortcut on the trail before eventually giving up.
I marched on now in the light of my headlamp, and I quickly got into a grove of enormous trees. Numerous of them were more than five feet in diameter. It felt like a weird place, especially here in the night. At one point I somehow managed to get a huge splinter of wood lodged through the front of my shoe with a thumb sized girth. Luckily it only penetrated the mesh of the shoe, so I didn’t get hurt. About two thousand feet later, the giants were all gone, though, having been replaced by aspen trees.
Eventually I got near Siuattle River, which was the largest river I had crossed on the trail. Luckily, an equally big bridge over it had been rebuilt seven years ago. There was a mice running on it near the middle. Supposedly, there was tent sites on either side of the river, but I didn’t see any way down to those on the south at a glance and there seemed only to be a quite small and uneven one on the north side. Given how late it had gotten I quickly settled on the small one. It was so close to the bridge that two of my guy wires were crossing below it. I closed the partially broken zipper with some safety pens as I didn’t want any rodent coming in for a visit. When I turned off my headlamp it was completely dark with the loud raging of the river as my soundtrack. I thought about whether “Seattle“ was a corruption of a potentially native American word “Siuattle”. I had done great miles today, but I was tired and it seemed like my bursitis had gotten worse.
This day’s miles: 2511-2541