Day 133: Saturday, September 14

Tenting not far from Valhalla Lake (PCT mi 2481.6), walked 5.6 miles today

Got up at 7:48 sharp (7:48!) and immediately looked to my right to see Hermes and Lotus doing some impossible acrobatic yoga poses on the lawn. Once I'd determined that I had really woken up and wasn't just in a strange dream, I got up and moving, soon moseying to the cafe for breakfast. Didn't think it could beat dinner last night, but it did--a sickeningly (to a normal person) huge, thick plate of biscuits and gravy followed up with another ice cream cone, moose tracks this time. The hiker lineup at the cafe was mostly the same as last night, with Robin Hood thrown in for flavor, and afterward I drifted back to the ranch to do laundry and look at more CDT porn. Around 10 Hitch and I decided to hitch up to Skykomish, she to use their library and otherwise kill a little time before her mom and boyfriend showed up in Baring, I to maybe eat some more and then leave for the trail. We caught a ride with the help of the Baring store staff standing next to us, waving signs and pointing excitedly at us.

Skykomish was pleasant ... Made some phone calls there, utilized the stronger 3G connection to do internet errands, then around 1 went to rustle up some grub before hitting the trail. Saw an establishment with about 8 backpacks parked outside and figured I couldn't lose ... It turned out to be a bar, and the Laptop/Coca/Sailor Moon/Leftovers team of olden days was there, along with Egg, Spark and Instigate. Egg and I immediately fired up some slick tunes on the jukebox (two nights ago as I was going to sleep, the phrase "Snoqualmie maybe" came to me from nowhere and I've been excited about it ever since, we talked a lot today about ways to turn it into a hiker music video), then we all kind of sat around and drank for a couple of hours. At 4 things wound down and I went to hitch out just ahead of them, catching a ride with local hero Lexi, who was transporting a labradoodle from Bellingham to its new owner in Wenatchee. She told me that un-snipped adult labradoodles can fetch $30,000, which I did not know, because it seems silly to teach a dog to fetch all that cash. This labradoodle was just a puppy, however, and was mostly interested in barfing all over the backseat by the looks of things.

She dropped me off at the trailhead around 4:30 and I started hiking, immensely annoyed by the weight of my pack. My clothing system has some superfluous parts at the moment because there's been no good way to send things home, and I'm not sure what would stay or go anyway, given the complete crapshoot that is the weather this time of year. It may rain the entirety of the next three days or it may just be on and off, but the forecast makes it impossible to tell. Either way, I figured I'd choose a strong campsite as soon as I saw one after about 2 hours of hiking, which was all I was ever going to manage leaving town in a compromised state at such an hour. To my surprise, not one of the 8 other people who told me they were also planning on leaving this afternoon ever caught up to me.