September 21, 2017

Miles: 16

PNT mile 1130

Camp: Mink Lake – Olympic National Park

We knew daylight was precious today, so we managed to motivate earlier than is usual lately. We were on trail at 8:24, a small victory for me with a side dish of sleeping in. I can handle living in both worlds.

The forest was still pretty amazing. The trees were cloaked in mossy gowns and capes, grand and majestic. Water evaporated from trunks and plants as sunlight breathed new light into the forest. I felt really happy walking there, even as the overgrown ground cover soaked us from the waist down. My pants were dripping with water…conveniently into my shoes. The good old fashioned trail car wash, where the brushes are permanently stuck in the down position. Stay in neutral and power through.

We came across a couple of shelters as we hiked, neither all that nice. We sat in them for breaks but never got enough sun to dry our tents. We were wet and cold, but made it easy to keep hiking for warmth.

Eventually we climbed out of the dense, wet vegetation and onto a small ridge. We caught enough filtered sunlight combined with wind to dry our tents while we worked on eating all of our trail snacks. We traded chocolate bars and finished off the gummy bears. We also ate crackers and nuts. It is colder so we are more hungry, almost immediately wanting more food after every break.

Soon enough we found camp at Mink Lake and began to set up by the shelter. We didn’t want to sleep inside of it, but it provides protection from the cool lake air. Just as we were getting ready to set up, Pink got stung by a wasp. It is his 4th sting of the trail and each proves to be more painful! He had a benadryl handy and took it pretty soon after, so he was ready for bed in no time. We did manage to make a killer dinner with foraged chanterelle mushrooms, salami, garlic, pasta and cheese. We are getting pretty good as backcountry chefs!

It is our last night in the mountains. We will be at the coast for the remainder of the trip…it is so close to over and none of it seems real.