After not a very good night’s sleep (we’re not used to sleeping in bed) we got up at 9, took another shower and started to make sandwiches for breakfast. We had a lot of food to destroy before heading out (noone wants to carry extra weight) so we got pretty full. Kristians even managed to drop his luciously hummus-covered sandwich into the fridge, covering everything in the beige goo. Great.
As we had to check out at 11 we then quickly packed our things and made a sign for hitching back to Stevens Pass. After handing in our keys we went to buy gas from the sports store and then met up with Coconut and Tomb Raider. We then started to walk out of town and hitching at the same time. After some time a lady picked up Kristians, T-Bone and me and drove us about 20 towards the pass. From there we got a ride with a friendly surfer-looking dude who clearly lived in his car – that ride was only 3 miles. And from there we got on the next car – a Christian guy who had picked up Coconut and Tomb Raider already; so we all jammed ourselves into that small car.
After we finally got to the pass we said good bye to the nice guy and also to Coconut and Tomb Raider who went to get some fries before hiking out. Our plan was to hike 10 miles to Janus Lake and camp there. It was a hot and moist day; the trail was pretty flat in the beginning but then up, down and up again. We crossed lots of streams and mostly stayed in the forests. It was a bit less smoky today but the views were still not the best.
We reached the lake at 16, set up our camp on the shore and washed up a bit. And as we had still packed out a lot of food that we hadn’t managed to eat during the breakfast then the objective for the evening was to just eat a lot to lighten our packs. And that we did – enjoyed the warm evening and had a nice conversation. And then it was time to sleep at 19.
My “alarm” went off at 7:40, i.e. the nature called. But then I got back to the tent to sleep and cuddle a bit more…so we finally got to breakfast at 8 and managed to hike out at 9:40. As this was our very last stretch on the PCT we decided to take it super easy and not push miles: the plan was to hike just 19,6 miles to a beautiful lake.
The trail was just up and down the whole day and it wasn’t that smoky but we still did not get the best views. The trail climbed straight over Grizzly Peak, making us sweat – it was a hot day. After a short downhill I climbed up to a ridge and then again up and over to a gorgeously blue Pear Lake where I missed a turn and hiked a bit on the wrong trail. But after checking the map I climbed back to the trail, which of course went up & up. And then finally zigzagged down a slope.
After 12,6 miles I finally made it to the stream where Kristians and T-Bone had already sat down by a huge boulder to have lunch. Kristians had also picked some blueberries so the meal was quite spectacular. After a proper break we had 7 miles to go: we headed down to a big creek, crossed it and had to then manouver through a big boulderfield. The trail was pretty steep here but at least we saw a bunch of marmots that made the life a bit more interesting. My left heel was also hurting a bit so the end of the day wasn’t that jolly for me. Finally I got up onto the ridge and after a bend suddenly arrived at the clear blue Sallyann lake – the boys were already setting up camp right at the shore.
We then got some water and washed ourselves a bit – it was tempting to go for a swim but the water was numbingly cold. After these procedures we sat down for dinner and had a conversation, during which T-Bone realized that we only had 5 days left to hike and not 10! So our plan to hike slow now made even more sense – we really wanted to enjoy it. And after these thoughts we headed into our tents at around 20 for some rest.
We got up relatively early – at 6:45 already. It was a bit windy this morning but also a lot clearer than the previous days had been! So we packed the tent, had breakfast and headed out at about 9. The plan for the day was to hike 22 or 23 miles.
We had to go a bit uphill but then had a long way down to a big creek, which we crossed on a bridge. Now the trail continued up, up, up and over a mountain pass. The views here were pretty amazing – a huge valley, hundreds of streams flowing down its sides and the massive Glacier Peak in all its glory on the background. The trail zigzagged down this enormous landscape, making me feel oh so small. On my way down into the forest I said hello to a lot of marmots and then finally met up with Kristians and T-Bone, who were already having lunch by a stream. And so it was time to eat & rest before moving on.
After our lunchbreak the trail continued even more downhill, all of it in the forest. Up above us were the numerous glaciers of Glacier Peak, feeding the hundreds streams and creeks that we had to cross. At one point the trail itself was pretty much a stream and I hade to make my way around it, mostly in mud. Just before the last climb of the day (600 meters) there was a bridge with a broken bridge, but somehow it was still possible to cross the raging river by using it.
The ascent was pretty darn steep and long but luckily there were huckleberries and blueberries all around to make my life a little more tasty. As the trail continued to ascend it also got colder, so that by the time I reached the Pumice Creek, which is where we camped, we were already surrounded by clouds. We set up camp, washed a bit in the freezing cold glaciar-fed stream and then sat by a huge boulder to have dinner.
T-Bone was already hiding in his tent and having dinner – it was indeed pretty chilly outside. Nevertheless it was a pretty epic campsite and we went into the tent just as the tentsite became completely engulfed by the cloud.