July 12 (~07:05 – ~19:40)
After Suiattle River bridge – before Trapper Creek (23.5 mi / Total: 2567.2 mi)
Total PCT miles: 1467.2
Weather: Overcast, with a little sun. Nice temperature, warm.
No one joined me at the tentsite last night, and I woke up in the dark forest alone. It’s early still, and I enjoy leaving in good time, and wandering up the green paths. The next campsite up is filled with people, just like the river sights last night. I like it here. The change from yesterday continues. The forest has changed from a morbid and overgrown jungle to a seemingly considered dense layers of greenery.
I have another pass to get over today. From some 2500 to 6000 ft and all the way down again, but somehow it feels a little bit easier today. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s a little less steep, without the endless switchbacks right on top of each other, or because most of the forest is a little more open, and I feel like I can breathe more easily.
On my way up I pass another convoy of southbounders, and with some I have nice little chats. Then I jump over the many streams, and slowly I get higher, and views of nearby craggy peaks begin to appear through the trees. This is what I was waiting for. Open views onto snowy peaks, and a perfect path across the ridge, leading me through everything green to the meadows on the other side. I sit down for lunch but after a few minutes I am covered in mosquitoes, and I struggle to finish preparing the sandwich, so that I can eat it while I quite literally run away.
But I don’t care. Today is a good day. The path goes up and down just a little, into a forest and back out to where the light it, the sky still overcast but brighter with the sun – the sun that tries so hard to shine upon us after all those days of rain, and all the colourful flowers and quiet streams that cross the trail.
It’s marvellous. I am surrounded by mountains or rock, then I’m in a forest again, next is another mountainside that deserves my awe. Washington hadn’t quite given me what I’d hoped, but here everything is different. The overgrowth is like an English garden, the forest are dark green, there are collections of rock. It’s wild and romantic. This is what I was expecting.
I spend most of the day taking pictures of the mountains around me, but even the forest on the way down is enjoyable. I don’t mind the head-high brush, although my knee hurts a lot more on the way down, and I even get passed by a northbounder for the first time. I’m so hungry I decide to eat my extra dinner later in the afternoon, and although it doesn’t fill me up, it feels good to have something extra.
Now it’s just a few more hours to my campsite. It’s supposed to be huge, and only 5 miles from the trailhead to Stehekin, so I expect it to be busy, just like the campsites I passed this morning, and last night. But it’s empty. I guess it makes sense to be here for northbounders, everyone else would be walking a bit more after visiting town. Just me for another night.