Today, I woke with a goal to hike the 27.5 miles to Stevens Pass and get there as early as I could. The first thing (and the hardest) was to abandon the warmth of my sleeping bag and begin the routine of packing, changing out of my sleep clothes, pack up my sleeping bag, pad, tent and lastly food. It’s a process that even though I have done it about 88 times, still takes me about the same amount of time. About 30 minutes later, I was on the trail.
It was cloudy with a breeze going most of the day. It was just warm enough to make you break a light sweat after a long uphill and when you stopped to take in the view, the wind would make it cold.
Around noon, I ran into a day hiker who had a Texas Longhorn shirt. I asked if he was a fan. He said he lived in Austin. He and I talked about our home town for a bit. It was cool to run into someone from your own town. We both shared the thought that it would be great to see the old rivalry game of UT vs A&M again.
The trail was just as beautiful as the day before, with gorgeous mountain lakes and high ridge lines.
I made it to Stevens Pass at 3:30, in time to go to the ski lodge to pick up my supply package. Near the lodge, there were a lot of mountain bikers riding the hills. I went up to the main desk and asked if they had my package, but after searching her list, she said it wasn’t there and they would have to check the loading dock. While I waited, I got an ice cream cone and found a place to plug in my phone. About 15 minutes later, she came up with my box of food. It was a great package, exactly what I needed – thankyou Kate. I waited to charge up my phone a bit longer before heading out again at 4:50.
About 30 minutes up the trail, I ran into someone I did not expect to see. Psych was southbound hiking towards me. It took her a second to recognize me as we had not seen each other for quite a while. We talked for a good 25 minutes. Unfortunately, it turns out she was hiking back to the pass to get off the trail. She had been hiking with Oliver until he had gotten Giardia from some bad water in Oregon. Oliver had to stop and she kept going. She had been pulling 40 mile days until one day she crashed and was only able to hike 15-18 mile days. Her boyfriend had come and picked her up and she flipped to Steven’s Pass to hike to the border. But after attempting that for a day, she could not shake the feeling of tiredness and muscle fatigue. So she was heading back now to see a doctor. I was sad that she had to get off the trail, but she did not look very good, like she needed a few good days of rest.
I hiked about 5 more miles and set up camp near a couple whose trail name was Retro. They had been section hiking the PCT for a few years now and were on their last section from the border to Timberline Lodge in Oregon. They were good company. The guy was from Texas and we talked about the trail. And as they were about to go to bed, they warned me that there might be some snoring.