June 23 (~07:20 – ~10:55)
Mosquito Creek – FS Road 23 / Trout Lake (10.2 mi / Total: 2229.3 mi)
Total PCT miles: 1129.3
I only have 10 miles to walk, but I seem to have underestimated how long 10 miles actually is, and that I’m in Washington, which apparently means I spend most of my time in ascend. I follow the trail through the same old forests and meadows and across several dirt roads, until I’m prematurely sick of walking and finally hit Forest Road 23, the access point to Trout Lake.
It 11 when I get there, and the town is only some twenty miles away, but the road is empty. There is a list of trail angels I can call for a ride, but I thought I could just hitch – perhaps not. I wait. One car passes, and I wait more. Then another. Neither stop and the road is empty again. I decide to walk the half mile down the road for phone service, so I can call someone for a ride. I feel horribly rejected already, hitching is so awful.
Before I get service a few more cars pass, and then one stops. I get a ride into town from a lovely couple and it’s not until I say goodbye that I find out I’ve received a ride from George and Rosanne – Rosanne! That’s my name.
My first Washington town is tiny, even smaller than I’d expected. I first visit the general store and check out their resupply – I’m going to have to get creative. I ask about rooms, I heard they offer some accommodation to PCT hikers and I end up staying there with two other hikers, Raili and RonForNow, and we have a great time chatting with each other and eating dinner at the local café. I manage to do all those things I needed to do – laundry, shower, and I wash my pack and everything in the front pocket until it no longer smells like chicken noodle soup.
I wasn’t expecting to meet any other hikers and I’m so happy I did – especially northbound ones. RonForNow has just finished the desert and has flipped up to Washington, and Raili is just hiking the Washington section. RonForNow is worried about the snow coming up, and spends most of the time philosophising his options, whether to do the section around Mt Adams and Goat Rocks or flip around. He’s under the impression there’s six feet of snow everywhere, but there are only thin layers around the highest sections on the snow map. But of course, even a tin snowpack could be treacherous. Apparently, no one has gone through this section yet. He did meet a hiker who left a few days ago, and is waiting to hear back about the conditions, but so far, no word.
It does make me worry. I was going to go in, but I may have to find a bail-out strategy. Goat Rocks is high and the idea of snow makes me shiver. I don’t have time to flip around, so I’ll have to detour around if I can’t get through. I just hope it’ll be all right…