August 12, 2016
Mirror Lake Junction (2382.1) to Snowqualmie Pass (2390.3)
Our total miles: 1984
We were up and moving by 6:30. We were meeting Laurie’s friend Audrey and spending the night with her Aunt and Uncle in Auburn, Washington. Thoughts of a shower motivated us to get an early start.
Laurie woke up with restless legs. Lately our bodies feel best when they are moving. We wake up with sore feet but after a quarter mile they feel fresh and ready for the day.
Laurie was excited to see her friend and took off down the trail. Lately she has been hiking faster than Andy and today was no exception. We hiked up and then down the rocky and slippery trail. Our pants were soaked by the wet brush, but that didn’t slow Laurie at all.
Since Laurie is ahead of Andy most of the time she created a game. She can stop and pick huckleberries until he catches up. But she must start moving again when he gets near so as not to slow his stride. Of course all of this goes out the window when the berries are delicious and we both want to pick and enjoy them.
We found Audrey near the top of the ski slope around 10:30. It was already hot. We stopped in the shade to hug, say hello and discuss plans for the day.
We walked back to the car together, chatting about life on the trail, life in San Francisco and her recent trip to Japan.
It is so wonderful to see friends during this adventure. These past 4.5 months on the trail have been enriching and we have truly enjoyed spending extended amounts of time together, but we miss our friends and community. The world feels complete again when friends become part of our trail experience.
As we got to the trailhead parking lot a guy jumped out of his truck and offered us bagels, fruit and drinks. He had hiked the PCT last year and was a friend of Speed’s, out to surprise him with trail magic. We swapped stories and enjoyed some fruit and M&Ms (Laurie) and a bagel (Andy) before heading to Snowqualmie Pass for an early lunch.
Word of good food travels fast along the trail and people had recommended the Aardvark many times. It was a permanent food truck at the Chevron Station that is owned by a hiker and caters to hiker palates and appetites.
Audrey, who is 6 months pregnant, fit right in with us hikers as she ordered the Avalanche pancake – bacon inside a pancake with ice cream on top.
We shared a beebop, a slightly altered bibimbop, and a burger. Andy helped polish off all three dishes.
Nemo joined us to chat more while we ate. We spoke about the push and pull of towns. When on trail we think about town days and what we’ll eat, but once in town we all crave the quiet simplicity of the trail.
After raiding the hiker box for more banana chips, we hugged Nemo, said goodbye to him again and headed down to yet another REI.
All of our gear was functional but Laurie’s new pad was a tad short. Her feet hung off and got cold at night. It was tolerable but since REI wasn’t much out of the way we decided to go and maximize her sleeping comfort.
And really, we had been to 8 other REIs during this trip so why not try to hit them all?!
We exchanged the pads, got some fabric repair tape for Andy’s rain pants and a pair of socks. It was our quickest REI trip thus far.
We went next door to Safeway to buy new Talenti ice cream containers (Laurie left one at White Pass) and really we just wanted an excuse to eat more ice cream.
We finally got to the Burns’ house around 2:30pm, where we met Mollie, Eileen (Audrey’s cousin), and her two children Eleanor and Ronan.
We are so grateful for the Burns welcoming us into their home. Again, the warmth and generosity of strangers deeply warms our hearts.
We showered, did laundry and played with the kids most of the afternoon.
We gave the huckleberries we had picked and carried for 20 trail miles to Mollie, who insisted on baking a pie.
Tim and Ben came came home from work and we shared an amazing dinner with pie and ice cream for dessert. As the evening air cooled we sat outside sharing stories of backpacking and hiking in Washington.
We have become intrigued by the mountains and wilderness areas in this state. We would love to come back and climb Mt Adams and hike the Wonderland trail around Mt Rainier. If only we could find a way to make a living by hiking!
We all started to fade around 9 pm. We happily crawled into cotton sheets and continued to attend to items on our to do list.
“No matter what we’re doing and what else there is to do, we’re gonna go to bed at 10pm.” This is the commitment we made to each other this morning.
And at promptly 11:05pm, we turned off the lights 🙂
Tonight we are grateful for the generosity of friends and their families and for delicious huckleberries.