August 11, 2016
Bushcamp (mile 2364.7) to Mirror Lake Junction (mile 2382.1)
Our total miles: 1975.8
We slept well in our cozy tent. When Andy poked his head out in the morning he smiled. Mt Rainier shone brightly in the morning light.
We had walked around it the last few days but because of the clouds we didn’t even know it was there!
Nikki is going stoveless so Andy boiled some water to make hot chocolate for her as a treat. She enjoyed it while still in her tent and we shared a cup of hot water and berries.
We took off the rain fly to let it dry and enjoyed the views from the comforts of our tent and sleeping bags.
We really took our time this morning – letting the sun kiss us, catching up on blogging and sorting through pictures until it got too hot.
We started walking at 9:55am! This may be the latest start we have had thus far.
We hiked up and down small slopes past huckleberry bushes teeming with large, dark and juicy berries. Around the next bend we met a family out picking. Their buckets were hanging around their necks, full of delicious berries.
We climbed and descended all day. There were rarely moments of flat walking. At times the trail was steep, so much in fact we joked that the Washington trail crews don’t know what a switchback is.
Of course they do, and occasionally one was thrown in the mix.
We stopped at one particularly sunny and huckleberry laden spot. The berries were too sweet to pass up!
We dropped our packs and picked with a purpose. Our hands, lips and tongues were purple after 30 minutes and we had filled a Gatorade bottle, a Talenti and our bellies.
Hopefully we can make another pie tomorrow!
We got water from a spring a tenth of a mile later and hiked on. It was hot in the sun; we cherished the moments of walking amongst the trees.
“How do people walk by these bushes?” Asked Laurie as she stopped for the umpteenth time to pick and eat more huckleberries.
“Some people live off of miles, others live off of berries.” Replied Andy. We do the latter.
Around 1:30 we dropped down to a forest service road and saw Loopy sitting in a camp chair.
Walking Home had started his hike on April 14 and made it all the way to Carson Pass before getting off trail due to plantar fasciitis. He lives near Seattle and was out to spread the thru hiking love.
We sat in lawn chairs and devoured apples, melon, pastries, soda (Laurie) and beer (Andy). It was hot sitting in the sun but suprises like these make our day.
After an hour we dragged ourselves out of the lawn chairs and up the hill, Andy carrying an apple and an orange for later. We both felt sluggish and bloated. Laurie from the gluten rich scones and a sugary soda and Andy from the mixture of beer, fruit and pastries – lots and lots of pastries.
We put one foot in front of the other and although we weren’t moving fast, we were still moving.
D, a Swiss hiker caught up to us 30 minutes later as we were about to hike again after a bathroom break.
“Did you get something cold to drink before the climb?” Andy asked.
“No, there was no one there.”
Andy looked over at Laurie, no words needing to be spoken.
Laurie handed the apple to D.
“Now that’s real trail magic. Hikers giving fruit to another hiker! Thanks guys!”
We were happy to share.
Laurie kept up with D for a mile or so asking him who he knew and has hiked with. She stopped when she got to a stream and D continued on.
We hiked up and then down the remaining 9 miles to Mirror Lake. Laurie noted the silence of the forest. It was beautiful.
Aside from her breathing, sound of each trekking pole stabbing the ground and occasional loud step – it was quiet.
Walking this many hours day after day feels very meditative. We have moments when our minds are blank and our legs move themselves effortlessly.
We got to Mirror Lake at 7:15 and looked for a spot to camp. There were already at least 3 groups settled in the obvious sites. We inspected some potential tentsites near the lake but they were all very slanted. We continued up the trail and found a flat spot near the junction.
We ate dinner and talked to some people who had come up from Seattle to watch the Perseids Meteor Shower.
It would be nice to see the meteors but we are too tired to stay awake until midnight.
Tonight we are grateful for dry trail and trail magic.