August 16, 2017
PNT mile 573
Camp: Whistler Canyon
I had no trouble getting up at 6 today and it felt good to wake up naturally for once. We didn’t get walking until 8, mostly because we didn’t need to do a big day today. All we had to do was get close to town so we can walk in for breakfast in the morning.
The morning was cool and we walked fast to get warm. Pink commented on how the morning shade/shadows seem to linger the longest and the afternoon ones take a lot longer to expand. We are always looking for one or the other, shade or sun.
The day was composed of dirt road walks and we renamed the trail, “The Pacific Northwest Road: Some sections may be trail.” It is getting kind of silly how often we are on roads, though we knew going into it that it is an incomplete trail. We didn’t realize the extent of the road walking and it is hard on both of us. Our feet, knees, backs and motivation all suffer from never ending roads. My feet have been especially ornary lately, they simply hurt all of the time. Sometimes I take Vitamin I just to go a few more miles. It is getting to be too much.
I’m toying with the idea of skipping all paved roads on the rest of this hike. I can live without being a thru hiker if it means a more comfortable journey in the good parts of real trail. That’s what I’m here for, not to prove I can follow a continuous footpath from A to B. It’s been on my mind a lot as I dig for morsels of motivation.
Today had a few beautiful moments though. We saw a white horse hanging out with a mama and baby cow. They were all standing in a clearing, watching us walk by. We also caught a glimpse of the Pasayten. That is the wilderness we hike through next. It is supposed to be one of the best parts of the PNT and it even shares some miles with the PCT there. We will be there for 7-9 days and should be far from roads up there. It is a thought that keeps me going and seeing the range before us today was a wonderful moment. I always love watching a mountain range grow before me only to watch it fade in the rear view as I walk through. It is a great display of how far we travel. I also seriously miss the mountains right now. It is time for some of that wild life.
Just before dinner I was lagging a little behind Pink and I saw him stopped ahead. This could mean any number of things…but it turned out to be something rather unexpected. There was a rattlesnake in the leaves next to the trail. It was rattling away and posing in strike position ready for our attempt at passage. We looked at the ravine below and the rise above, ultimately walking up and around the snake. It didn’t seem to have any plans to vacate anytime soon and we were within eyeshot of our dinner spot.
We ate dinner with no visitors but the flying kind. Mosquitoes made a mild return tonight as we have been a good amount of time without them. They weren’t terrible but any can be too much.
We are now camped next to a dry river that the guidebook lists as as good source. It’s a tough game of trusting our sources out here. We look forward to the wetter western section of this trail…just after the Pasayten.
As for now, I’m wiped out and ready to sleep. It is hotter than it has been tonight, so hopefully I sleep well! Goodnight.