August 24th, 2021
Mile Marker: 2338
Miles Hiked Today: 25
It was so wonderful to wake up this morning and not have dew on our tents or a damp sleeping bag. The past couple of days sleeping in the fog and wet conditions caused us to wake up with wet tents and sleeping bags which is one of the worst things to pack in our backpacks.
I was able to sit in my tent and make some delicious oatmeal and coffee and enjoy the dryness.
Early on this morning I rounded a corner and could see the side of a mountain. A side of a mountain that I could tell was going to be huge. I had no idea that we were so close to it.
“Holy cow!” I shrieked to Journey.
It was the massive Mount Rainier!
I was taken back and just stood and marveled at it. I couldn’t get over it! I have never seen anything like this before. I think Journey captured my surprised/shocked face well. 😂
The trail took us around the side of Rainier and I found myself continuously stopping to look and stare.
I had this overwhelming feeling while staring at Rainier of how incredibly grateful I am. I am so thankful that I am able to live the life that I am. That I can see these views and have these experiences. I can’t say it enough, I am so lucky.
I also tried imagining hiking Rainier, it seems like it would be intense and take a lot of training, but man, I sure do want to try. It was hard to imagine that there were people on the top of that thing currently but it’s such a popular spot we knew people were up there.
What a way to start the morning!
A couple hours later I also walked by one of the prettiest lakes yet. It had crystal clear blue water that grabbed my attention immediately. It was a shame it was still morning and chilly or else I would have gotten in.
The lake hadn’t been touched by anyone yet. It laid calm and peaceful.
We then hiked a couple more miles to a highway and saw the massive amounts of people filing in on the trail. I was sure half of them would probably be hiking to that very lake. I felt special that I was able to witness it early morning.
It’s crazy to me how easily I feel claustrophobic when there are a lot of day hikers on the trail. However, I did have an older couple stop and ask if I was a PCT hiker and the woman clutched her heart and said “You are my hero!” They asked if I was northbounder and when I said yes, their excitement was palpable as they congratulated me on almost being done. The older lady then said,
“I got into this too late in life but I am so excited for you!”
I thanked them graciously and walked away with a smile. It’s always fascinating to me how people react when we tell them we are PCT hikers. It makes their day like we are some precious jewel and in return, it makes our day to talk about it and make them smile.
It was a great morning of hiking and after 14 miles we stopped at a lake for some lunch.
It was a nice spot that had rocks we could lounge back against like a chair.
After shoving food in our faces, we tried to lay down for a “coffee nap”. Meaning, drink some coffee, shut our eyes for about 15 minutes, wake up and feel energized.
While shutting our eyes, we had these two chipmunks that would not leave us alone… We noticed them during lunch and Journey named them Walter and Wilma. They were a hefty couple who ate well.
But they were Redonkulous!! They were running back and forth, coming inches from us without fear. They were running over our nearby packs and trying to get into them. They were insane! So our 15 minutes of shut eye was more like 0 minutes of shut eye as I kept having to shoo them away before they ran across my face.
Close to 2 we headed out for a goal of 16 more miles. Once we got up on the ridge, I could see how heavy the smoke from a nearby wildfire had become. I almost think this is the worst I have seen it. We can hardly see anything around us!
It’s upsetting to be walking through a past burn zone and then currently have smoke from a nearby fire. I can’t get over how common these are and I find myself never wanting to live on the west coast because of it.
Today was the first day that I think some of the smoke actually got to me. I found myself having a slight headache for majority of the day. I’m hoping the winds will change back to blowing east and it will all clear out.
We got to 25 miles today and decided to stop 5 miles short of what we originally wanted to do. We were hiking through the burn zone and realized that this current spot had live trees and read comments that the next one didn’t. That would mean we would have to keep hiking and get into camp late and well… none of us really want to do that anymore.
So we finished our day early at 6 pm which I won’t complain about.
All and all it was a beautiful morning and my shin splints are getting so much better! Yay calf sleeve!
Ready for some Z’s!
Iz and Oz