June 29 (~06:15 – ~09:55 / ~17:00 – ~21:15)
Before Hidden Springs Junction – Creek before Bumping River (20.8 mi / Total: 2307.8 mi)
Total PCT miles: 1207.8
Weather: Cold when I first start walking, but then it gets hot very quickly in the sun.
I get up early so that I can reach White Pass in time. It’s only another 8.4 miles to Highway 12 and White Pass. From there I can either go into the town of Packwood, or walk half a mile to Kracker Barrel, a gas station where a lot of hikers resupply. I don’t want to stay in town – I want to continue hiking at the end of the day, so my priorities are mostly to resupply and sit somewhere with outlets for some time, so I can charge my electronics. To be honest, I’m daydreaming about Packwood already, and all the food I could buy there. The resupply is Washington has been limited, and I really hope to find some better, fresher food.
First I find my way through the burnt forest, and climb up to beautiful views of Mt Rainier. Even though I’m just trying to reach town, the views from yesterday aren’t over yet, and the morning hike proves to be a beautiful one. I pass lakes in valleys I wish I could live at, and revel in the blue layers of early morning mountains in the distance.
After the views from up high, I follow a rocky slope down again, a long sidle through snow made easy with all the footprints of the people I’ve passed so far. At the end, I take off my microspikes and sincerely hope I won’t have to use them for a while.
Then I’m back in the forest, flying through until I meet the road. Ah, town. I stay at the trailhead for some time, trying to hitch. It’s not busy but it’s busy enough – nevertheless no one stops. I decide to walk down to the Kracker Barrel gas station, where I have a look at the resupply options. It’s certainly geared towards hikers, but it definitely doesn’t have the things I’d want. It would be another unhealthy few days, and I’m already sick of those. I buy a coffee and sit in the café area, where I plug in my battery pack and work on my blog. I send RonForNow a message, and update him on the snow situation in Goat Rocks, the snow he needlessly avoided, and he texts back, saying he just went off trail – he got too homesick.
I give it a few hours, then I head out to hitch into Packwood again. It’s only some 20 miles away, it’s not far. I’d have to be back by 4pm, so I could still make some decent mileage for the day – my visa pressure is certainly keeping me on top of things these days. After half an hour I still haven’t been picked up and I decide to give up. I don’t have the time to stand around here for hours, and I’m surprised this hitch is proving so difficult – trail towns are usually very easy to get to. Either way, I head back into Kracker Barrel, plug in my devices again and do my resupply, I guess I’ll be eating more instant mashed potatoes these coming days.
I want to leave at 4, but I don’t manage to get out until 5 pm. On my way back to the trail I run into a southbounder who tells me she’s seen 3 or 4 northbounders today – I really need to try and meet these people! At the trailhead I do a bad job at filling out the wilderness permit while trying not to get stung by the many mosquitoes. Then it’s back into the forest. It’s the same I’ve been seeing for weeks, forests and lakes and meadows, all beautiful but all very similar. I pass one person in a tent, and then I try to run. It’s getting late. I wanted to hike another 15 miles but I realise it’s not realistic if I want to set up camp by 9 pm. There’s just not enough time in the day. I still manage to make it to a stream a few miles earlier, and set up next to a grand meadow.