Miles: 10.75
Camping: Summit Inn in Snoqualmie Pass
Miles to go: 266.99

There is something about waking up on a town day that has both a relaxing and rushed feeling. I look forward to getting into town but I know there is no hurry, as there is rarely a deadline. Today, I decided to drink my coffee cold and just have trail bars for breakfast. My goal was getting to Snoqualmie Pass in time for a hot breakfast, pancakes on the brain all night. HZ was already awake, and we both got packed up pretty fast and on trail in no time. He flew off in front of me as he was meeting a friend in town, and I meandered at a casual pace. The forest was beautiful this morning, wet from the night’s rain, trees creating their own fog, green lakes calm in the still air. I passed Mirror Lake and realized that I had hiked there 15 years ago with my friend Megan when I lived in WA. It looked different, but I recognized the image from a single photograph I took all of those years ago.

As I was coming down the mountain there came the sudden sensation that I had to use the bathroom. Sometimes on trail there is little warning, and we are sort of spoiled by the fact that we can just run off into the woods on a whim to relieve ourselves. Sometimes though, even on the trail there is nowhere to go. Today was one of those times, as the hill rose steeply to my left and dropped steeply to my right. It was suddenly very urgent, and I thought back to the night a few hikers told their embarrassing stories of soiling themselves in these situations. I didn’t want a story to tell, so I held on tight and picked up the pace in search of flat ground where I could dig a proper cathole. I could see the comedy in the moment but I began to sweat from the effort of holding on. Just when I thought I would lose all control I saw a flat area open up to my right, and I bolted over to get the job done. It was a very close call, one which I was happy to escape and move on from. We all have our fair share of moments like this on trail and we become less modest about them as we go, openly discussing these things while dining out. It is all part of the comedy of being human, I suppose.

Feeling worlds better I nearly skipped through the damp forest. There were lots of small flowing streams to jump over and moisture clung to the leaves and branches, falling off on me as I passed. It was almost a virtual carwash at times when plants grew close to the trail. Soon after real rain returned, and I quickly donned my large poncho for the last couple of miles. It is uncomfortable to hike in the rain, but not as bad when town is just around the corner. I’m not sure how I’ll hold up when I have to spend days at a time hiking and camping in the rain, it is truly uncomfortable. It is impossible to stay dry because even in rain gear your sweat creates its own weather system in between you and the nylon (or whatever it’s made of). I hike in the rain all of the time at home, but I always have a dry place to go at the end of the day. This is a whole new level of hiking in the rain.

I made it to Snoqualmie Pass via a road under the ski lifts. Blisster had passed on word that it is a quicker, more convenient route, and the rain had really picked up at that point. I walked faster and soon I had the hotel/cafe in my sights as my legs and feet got more and more wet from the runoff of my poncho. I walked into the warm dry building and found all sorts of hikers I haven’t seen in ages, including Hugs and Pockets! I haven’t seen them since California, and now we were reunited again in Washington. I love how Washington keeps bringing this trip full circle, it’s beautiful and almost sad at the same time. Our days are truly coming closer to an end out here.

After hunting down my packages at the gas station, a bunch of us collected in hotel rooms and watched movies in piles on beds. The rain continued and we ate curry from the Aardvark food cart in the parking lot, which was some of my favorite food on trail. My mom had sent me some gear replacement to deal with the cold and wet, which will be detrimental to my finishing. She sent waterproof socks so I can keep wearing my Chacos, and a new warm shirt to hike in. I’m ready to finish Washington! I’m about ready to finish the hike in general, but will get the most out of this remaining time on trail (and in town) with my friends.