Slept well for once and got up quite early today with my mind set on getting to town in a timely manner, though there luckily weren’t any strict time constraints like a couple of times in the past. I was off to a speedy start thanks to a smooth trail, low food supplies, and I guess, motivation.
The day started with an ascent right into the clouds, which made for some interesting scenery, as the clouds/mist quickly changed in the wind and revealed or hid trees and distant mountains. Suddenly the visibility was very low and at suddenly there seemed to be no mist at all. Strangely, It seemed to be raining under just some of trees where drops fell and the ground beneath was wet.
Later in the day, the clouds cleared and unmasked that the smoke had markedly diminished, and revealed the surroundings clearly.
Past midday the trail got quite a bit steeper and occasionally very rocky. Washington won’t be as easy as Oregon was for sure. On the plus side, though, there were a bunch of ripe thimble berries along the trail. We also got by “Mirror Lake”, which was crystal clear, but alas, it was too cold for a swim. Anyways, I had to get to town, and the rugged trail was slowing me down.
Around six pm I got to the valley leading to Snoqualmie Pass, and just had to walk down some ski slopes to get there. Two years ago I had driven past there on a vacation hoping to set foot there one year later. It would be two years later due to work, but I had made it none the less.
I checked into the only hotel in town, “Summit Inn”. Why would you name a hotel in a PASS that? Either you have a very dark sense of humor or you think “summit” sounds cooler and hope people won’t notice. I’m betting on the latter. The receptionist obviously hated his job. I had asked for two nights but he wasn’t paying attention and booked for only one night and said hadn’t stated that it should be two nights a d that I should get it fixed tomorrow (so it was someone else’s problem). I didn’t find any point in trying to argue with him. The first room I got was without air conditioning, so I asked for another one and got it.
Hotel quibbles aside, I did a quick stop at a convenience store and subsequently went to a food truck named “Aardvark Express”, which had a good reputation amongst hikers. I found Oldtimer there and an Australian hiker named “Sussie” at the tables next to the truck. The owner was very welcoming and the food was delicious. I had a “Hurry Curry” with tofu amd a free beer to go with it. Oldtimer was almost done, so he didn’t stick around for long. Instead I talked a bit with Sussie, who had taken a break from her PhD studies in biology to do the hike. It was, aptly, about how wildfires affected mammals. Her preliminary results looked promising, which obviously meant a lot to her, as she had put a lot of effort into it. That’s the thing with science: you can end up in a situation where you’ve put months or even years into your research and end up with nothing to show for it. She liked her research but disliked the fierce competitiveness and long hours that came with it. I could relate.
A bunch of locals in some way affiliated with the owner were celebrating a birthday by the food truck and offered us wine, ice cream, and cheese cake. That was nice and we talked a bit with them. It seemed like a weird place for a birthday. There were only three tables next to the food truck, it was quite close to a road, a public place, and Snoqualmie Pass seemed a bit littered here being a ski resort off season. Nevertheless it was cosy and they certainly had a good time. The visit to Aardvark was certainly a nice ending to the day. I’ve decided to do a zero day here, so I’ll have some time to get rested before starting on the last sections.
This days miles: 2364-2393