July 8 (~08:10 – ~19:10)
Before Nason Creek – before Saddle Gap (20.1 mi / Total: 2487.2 mi)
Total PCT miles: 1387.2
Weather: Grey, chilly, cloudy. Sporadic sun during the day.
It’s yet another morning but I get up in an overcast, grey forest again – Washington just won’t change. The path today is carved deeply into the slippery mud, through roots and rocks, and I carefully navigate the twisting and turning route, my knee hurting, even after I’ve warmed up. I really screwed it up, it seems.
The ups and downs today are not as great as they were these last days, but they are still long and steep, and moving up those endless, overgrown switchbacks in the forest is making me lose motivation. I just don’t feel as though there’s much here for me. All I do is go through the motions of steadily moving along, of walking the trail.
At least I have enough food after my hitch into Leavenworth. I eat my bars, and all those big carrots I’ve been lugging around. I pass more lakes and climb up to Grizzly Peak, where I get my first views of the day while I move along the trail at high elevation. I watch those wooded mountains around me, and wait for some excitement to rise, but it never happens. I can see it’s all very pretty, but I’m just not feeling much.
Once I reach the peak it’s different. The rocks turn into grassy fields and it’s nice to be somewhere that looks a little different for once. I break, then descend again, more switchbacks until I’m down, and I have to go up again. My knee still hurts, the pain coming and going, and my feet are sore from the uneven, rocky surface. Every climb and descend feel like they take hours, and I’m exhausted. I don’t know what it is – the food I’ve just eaten, the lack of sleep, the repetitive gloomy surroundings, the fact that my nails are falling off, but I’m done.
I’m so tired, I wish I could just sleep through the next few days. In fact, I wish I could sleep through the rest of Washington. I sit down next to the trail and close my eyes. If only I could stay here forever. It takes some time until I rise again, with only a little newfound energy, just enough to begin the next uphill.
This one leads to a precarious jumble of large sharp rocks, and I enjoy the views even though I keep thinking I’ve reached the top, and I haven’t. I manage the long, slow climb only by listening to music and partly zoning out. Once I’m on the other side the trail begins to lead down, steeply, to a few campsites. I hoped to keep going, but I decide it’s late enough. I feel like I’ve failed another day. This section to Stehekin is supposed to be one of the most gorgeous – but perhaps tomorrow I will snap out of my funk and get my energy back.