Day 136: Tuesday, September 17

Tenting by Miners Creek (PCT mi 2557.6), walked 29.1 miles today

Woke up feeling very warm and dry, but one look outside was depressing because it was just as dark and foggy as the day before, although not raining, which was a plus. The real thing that has motivated me the past few days is that I barely have enough food to get to Stehekin tomorrow ... If I had been flush with good food this morning, there's no way I would've found myself putting on wet clothes at 7 a.m. to step out into a cloud and go hike 30 miles. I would've been doing what Spark and Instigate were doing as I left and discovered them in an adjacent site--snoring my ass off. Carrot was there too and, as the only one awake, was the spokesperson for the group ... She said they had gotten in at 9:30 last night, borderline hypothermic. Fun times in Washington on the PCT!

Got started around 7:30 and for the first few miles, the trail was still an overgrown rut. Past about 5 miles, however, it was clearly a brand-new, fresh-out-of-the-showroom tread, and I felt like I was flying downhill and then up past Milk Creek. Halfmile's GPS disagreed and told me I was going less than 2.5mph, which makes me wonder how accurate his mileage figures are in this section, which he admits on his maps that he has not personally hiked. At the top of the steep 4-miler out of Milk Creek, I ran into Hermes and Lotus and they said they were repeating roughly the same mantra today as I was--"It's not nearly as shitty as yesterday!" It really wasn't bad at all, except for the dearth of good views ... There was only one spell of real rain around noon, and aside from the first 3 miles, overgrowth levels never reached yesterday's. Leapfrogged with those two the rest of the day, and hiked with them at about 4mph for the brand new section of trail south of the Suiattle River, which was wide and flat like a sidewalk, and passed easily the biggest trees of the whole trail so far. After the Suiattle bridge--also brand new because the old one was wiped out several years ago in a flood--I got ahead of them for the last 8 miles up to this site, which had two frisbee bros from Portland camped at it already (I saw their disc lying on the ground before I even saw them). Found a well-sheltered but, it turns out, kind of lumpy spot among the trees, set up, even let some things hang out to "dry," and fixed up my now standard meal of potatoes with hunks of sausage. After getting in the tent for good around 7:30, it did start to rain a little, but if it's going to rain, that timing is fine by me. Stehekin tomorrow; whether it's the 3pm bus or the 6pm depends on my start time.