At the trailhead at White Pass I found this message:
"As I sat there on the rock I realized that, in spite of the closeness of civilization and the changes that hemmed it in, this remnant of the old wilderness would speak to me of silence and solitude, of belonging and wonder and beauty." ~ Sigurd Olson 1958
The hitch to Packwood and back to White Pass to retrieve my resupply box at the postoffice went well thanks to the kindness of people. It was 20 miles each way but a straight shot which helped. A big thank you to Bill who gave me a ride in and three brothers in law who gave me a ride back. They had been section hiking the Goats Rock Wilderness and had seen me riding the horse on the trail. While in Packwood I walked into the grocery store and the lady behind the counter looked at me and asked, "Are you Heather Feather"?
"Well yes I am actually", I replied surprised. She had recognized me from my picture on the facebook PCT page. It's a small world on the PCT.
Back on the trail I hiked past numerous lakes and ponds dotted along the way. I enjoyed an early supper with a family section hiking at the picturesque Pipe Lake which was thankfully sheltered from the wind and then continued hiking until sundown, camping on the bank of the Bumping River.
The woods are teaming with hunters wielding crossbows as archery hunting season opened a week ago. It was not a good feeling when I walked up behind one of them on the trail, startling him and causing him to spin around with a loaded crossbow pointed at me. There was something horribly wrong with that picture.
The temperature dipped down to 27 degrees F, but I was warm in my tent bundled in my layers. I am grateful however that there is no rain.
The following day I woke up to the sound of hunters blowing on a horn which is evidently an elk call. Upon crawling out of my sleeping bag I started to shiver it was so cold and tried to warm myself up with a mug of hot camp cafe mocha.
The hunters call PCT hikers "Cresties" and when I heard the sound of an animal screaming, I could only assume that one of those arrows found their target.
Often my footsteps would go crunch, crunch, crunch on the ice in the mud along the trail and I was happy to enter Mnt Rainier National Park with spectacular views of the mountain, where weapons are not allowed.
Lunch at a stream included Mediterranean Curry Couscous, Oregon Chai and a handful of huckleberries for desert.
As a south bounding section hiker passed by he exclaimed "Ah! Two Feathers"! He had also recognized me off the PCT 2014 fb page. What fun!
Many ascents and descents took me past Dewey Lake amongst many and up over Chinook Pass. It was here that I crossed paths with Storybook, Tasty, Crawfish and Tasty's brother, south bounding the Washington section. It was so wonderful to see them again.
That night I found a delightful camp at Sheep's Lake. I was feeling very tired and missing all my loved ones back in Hawaii. I am so ready to get this last section done. I've been living out in the wild for a bit too long now and even though it's been an amazing experience, I have other things in life I'm looking forward too.
Upon leaving the lake I climbed and then traversed along the mountainsides all day with occasional views of Mnt Rainier.
This part of the section was not the most exciting and consisted of a few days of ups, downs, trees, burned sections and occasional sweeping vistas of the daunting jaggered peaks of the northern Cascades.
Socializing along the way with "old friends" from the trail who were south bounding made up for the less exciting scenery. I met Cash Money and Lancelot at a spring and was greeted with "Hello Dr Two Feathers". I earned this variation of my trail name when I had suggested a blister remedy to Cash Money back in south Kennedy Meadows. What a treat to see them and we had lunch together in a meadow. Later on I met One Track at another spring and we talked story about our adventures so far. The last time I had seen him was in Bishop, so it was great to catch up.
I did a short detour hike to Airplane Meadow where the remains of a plane crash lay. Apparently the pilot survived this small airplane crash.
I wanted to stop at Urich cabin but it was filled with rowdy, drunk hunters and I decided to press on, meeting up with Lobby, Trinket and Heckle. We set up camp together and then were joined by Sinyk and Blue.
Waking up to the sight of a pink tinged Mnt Rainier from a ridge is something I'll always remember. It's been such a treat camping with great people.
My Brooks Cascadias were disintegrating along the seams and the hole in my sock on my left achilles was causing chafing and pain. I sat beside a creek to darn my sock. More miles ensued until we met up with Lobby's friends Nicole and John who brought trail magic with them in the form of peanut butter stuffed pretzels, oreos and coffee. We hiked with them for the rest of the day, coming across more trail magic along the way and ended up at Snoqualmie Pass.
From here I had to try to get to North Bend to buy new shoes and socks and was kindly given a ride. I also picked up a resupply from the Chevron and did the usual civilization chores like laundry, showering and blogging. I'm staying at hiker friendly Summit Inn beneath the ski slopes and chair lifts and heading off for the last two weeks on the trail tomorrow.