Day 129: Tuesday, September 10

At the Mostel (mostly hostel) near Snoqualmie Pass (left PCT at mi 2400.7), walked 25?? miles today

The fog disappeared overnight at some point and I woke up to the sun rising and all possessions crisp and dry, not even a hint of dampness. Got started a little early, at 6:45, the better to get to Snoqualmie Pass early and sit and eat and hang out at the hostel. Again, I can't really account for the morning and this time more than ever I'm having trouble remembering anything about it--there were no wildlife sightings, no remarkable views, no interesting weather, and no people. I just kind of walked along for 12 miles then took a break near a dirt road, where I read ollld journal entries for the first time in awhile, just to jog the memory back to the desert and see if I could notice my writing style changing at all (I basically couldn't). A mile or so after that break, I ran into two volunteer trail crews and talked with each of them a bit, the second one more than the first. They confirmed to me something that I've always suspected, which is that the trail tread really can migrate downhill over time just by people consistently walking on the downhill side of a bench. I've noticed places where the trail has been like a party streamer strung up between trees, sagging in between them then climbing up at the last minute to get above them, then sagging again. It's actually really annoying to walk on, because you're constantly moving down and up and down and up without gaining or losing elevation .... I'd always wondered if that kind of trail started off level at one point, and what the crew leader told me today suggests that it usually did. So that was a productive conversation ... I made sure to say thank you to them, then kept on my way.

Chit-chatted a little with one day hiker out picking mushrooms 5 miles before the pass, but that was about it for human traffic. As with White Pass, I took a straight-down-the-ski-run shortcut to get to the important buildings (the Chevron station and Aardvark food truck) that saved me several miles from the official PCT route. This one wasn't nearly as long or harrowing, however. Once down, I ran into Dinnertime, last seen in Ashland, but he was the only hiker around ... He said others were at the hostel, which was about two miles away. He also mentioned something which I knew about beforehand but had forgotten until that point, which was that the U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier was on TV just then, and they were showing it at the Pancake House bar across the way. Spent my next two hours there, enjoying a few adult beverages and watching the U.S. not so much win as take advantage of Mexico stinking up the joint. The food at the bar was garbage so when I was done I obtained a massive amount of curry from the Aardvark, and also scored a ride over to the hostel with local hero Kristen (there really are year-round locals up here, they're mostly connected to the ski resort in some way).

At the hostel, there was indeed a crowd, most of whom I either hadn't met before or had but only in very brief passing a long time ago--Caveman, Bier und Ranch, Yabba Dabba Dude and his two huskies (last seen on Forester Pass, mile 780), Weebee, and Burrito Grande (last seen on the bus leaving Mammoth, mile 909). Hitch showed up after an hour or so, having been around since the day before, and I'll probably hike out with her in the morning. The Mostel is super super nice and clean and well-thought out for $20, and I had a good time hanging out downstairs with the crew. They started to watch Reign of Fire, with (and Caveman and Weebee were at pains to point this out) a heavily bearded/mustachioed Christian Bale and Matthew McCoughnahy (spelling?), around 10 and at that point I turned in, being the boring old man that I am. The upstairs bunkroom is rather warm and stuffy (it was hot today, like 90 degrees, at Snoqualmie Pass in September!) so I don't know how much sleep I'll be getting.