Miles: 26.59
Camping: PCT mile 2362.84
Miles to go: 306.15

I slept great for the first time in a while, the folding of my sleeping pad under my hips helped a lot. I thought I heard rain hitting my tent in the night, but when I finally got up everything was dry. Breakfast went well this morning, as I was up early enough to watch the sun rising as I ate and I didn’t drop my only lighter in a pot of water before lighting my stove. I felt great and was eager and ready to make tracks today. I started out walking pretty slow but the views were worth taking in, and I was enjoying myself. By lunch I figured that coffee would pick up the day, and I found a spot under some trees for shade. As I began my lunchtime ritual of tortilla and tuna wrestling (my tortillas don’t hold form in my pack and they get a bit crumbly in travel), there came some southbounders down the trail. Again, I needed a moment of recognition before realizing it was Buddy Backpacker and family! There had been much speculation as to their whereabouts, and if they were even still on trail. They had also flip flopped and were headed all the way back to Belden, California. A lot of folks decide to start hiking south if they feel that they can’t finish the trail on time, ending wherever they left off. It was great to see more familiar faces this lunchtime, a new tradition I can get behind. We caught up briefly, but they had miles to make and didn’t linger long.

After my coffee I poured some electrolytes in my water for an extra boost and saw yet another person headed my way. This time it was Hoff Zombie and he was headed the same direction as me. He is from Australia and I had met him briefly back in Bishop, CA, but have never spent time with him until today. We talked as we walked and he is quite interesting, having traveled much of the world paragliding. We hiked to the Urich cabin, some 8 miles down the trail and decided to cook dinner there and then hike on (shelters usually have mice and aren’t desirable to sleep in unless the weather is inclement). The cabin was in the Government Meadows, a common elk grazing area, and was very well kept as a ski shelter. From the log book entries, it appeared that there had been some partying here on the days prior, which I was happy to have missed. I don’t care for more distraction at this point and I’m quite happy keeping a quicker pace with HZ, who normally hikes 30-35 mile days.

After dinner we hiked to a spring 5 miles on where we had planned to camp, but it was still pretty light outside and we’d already had dinner. We agreed that we could get a couple more miles in and the whole afternoon seemed to disappear with the fading daylight. The conversation was good and kept us both awake even after the sun went down and we were hiking with headlamps. Eventually, we stumbled upon a campsite next to a dirt road and decided to call it a day. We set up our near identical tents right next to each other and talked as we did our nighttime chores. It had been a productive day of hiking and I felt really good again. I wasn’t even that tired and felt as if I could hike 5 more miles, but knew I’d be missing some cool stuff hiking in the dark. I also tend to stumble a bit more by flashlight, depth perception thrown off by the extra shadows. We are only 37 miles from Snoqualmie Pass now, a town I’m excited to visit. I think it is where Twin Peaks was filmed and that makes me think of pie. I could certainly go for a piece of pie when I get there. Pie indeed.