Campsite N of Table Mtn(2168)-Campsite N of Panther Creek(2194.5)
Today’s Mileage: 26.5mi(Plus 2mi off trail)=28.mi
This morning, I was awoken 20mins before my alarm by the very distinct sound of plastic being eaten by a rodent. At first, I tried to tell myself it was the wind and that I was imagining things. Then it continued louder. When I flipped on my headlamp, I caught a mouse nibbling through the mesh on my tent to get to a bag of cookies I had lying near my head. I heard the mice in Washington were aggressive and I was too stubborn to believe it. Lazily, I have always kept my next day’s snacks in my tent inside my hat by my head ready to go for the next day. These cookies had mistakenly been left out by the mesh. Sheesh! Lesson learned. I taped the little hole in my mesh and will now be keeping my food in my stuff sack, which will go in my backpack. I’m still too lazy to hang just because of mice, so we’ll see how this new strategy works out.
After dealing with that, it was almost 5am and time to wake up. I sent my sister an email and she called me. I forgot a benefit of this motherhood thing would be that she’d be awake all the time for me to bug. She is going to try to get in touch with the person who helps me with my blog issues to see if there is a way to improve the quality of the pictures. A lot had happened this morning and my alarm hadn’t even gone off. It was going to be a long day.
The “long” theme continued on the trail. Today was filled with long uphills that would last well over an hour and then downhills that would get me right back to the elevation I started. It was pretty hot out, but the dense Washington forest kept it shaded and somewhat cool. I hiked on my own the first half of the day and saw Yankee and Chunks at water stops and lunch.
Yankee does about the same mileage as me and we wanted to try to hike together, but he needed to get a resupply box that was one mile off the trail. Since this is a six day leg for me, I decided I could take the time to go with him to charge my phone and journal while he resupplied. It added two miles to my day, but was worth it to me. We are thinking about sticking together the rest of this leg and it’s nice to have someone else around up here. I know that seems like a big change from my solo mentality lately, so let me explain.
Southern Washington creeps me out. The forests are much darker with a lot of ferns over the trail. There are small animals and snakes in the brush, so I’m constantly jumping when a bush or fern moves off the trail. I keep coming across small snakes that I almost step on. Also, the days are getting shorter, so I’m hiking and camping in the dark more each day. There are a lot of dirt roads intercepting the trail and I imagine psychos coming out to mess with campers. I might be a wimp, but I think it’s creepy and it’s nice to know someone is nearby. Even tonight, it is super quiet out here and we keep hearing random noises in the surrounding woods that sound like something of significant size walking around and it’s even startling Yankee. There were some nice things too. Here is one of my favorite bridges.
It’s also great to hike with Yankee because when I unknowingly dropped a bag of crackers on the trail, Yankee was there to bring them to me. I told him last night that I dropped stuff and it only took half a day to prove it to him. He was quite entertained. After Yankee resupplied, we got on the trail and saw a sign that said that there was trail magic with lots of food at a campsite 15mi ahead…over a long 3000′ climb. It said they would only be there through the morning tomorrow. Yankee got really excited and wanted to push into the evening to get closer. We ended up doing our planned four miles and camped with Chunks who put in a big day for himself. He’s a section(or chunk) hiker doing 700mi and has a couple weeks more of hiking. We decided to get going by 5:45am to do the 11mi to trail magic and get there before 10am. It will be fun to have motivation to get up and over the hill quickly. We just hope they don’t leave before we get there!
One more thing. By the time this journal comes out, it will be my brother’s birthday. Since he is obsessed with fishing, I had fun taking his birthday picture at Trout Creek!
We were happy to have done as many miles as we did today with all the uphill and our side trip to get Yankee’s resupply. We are hoping to do around 27mi/day the rest of this leg starting tomorrow.