August 20, 2016
Miners Creek (mile 2541.9) to Five Mile Camp (mile 2564.3)
Our total miles: 2158
We slept like rocks. The sound of the creek muffled all noise around us.
We headed out of camp with Ed around 7 am. The trail very gently climbed up towards Suiattle Pass. We talked as we walked – Ed asking us questions about our experiences on the trail and us asking him questions about his life. It is amazing how fast the miles go when caught up in good conversation.
We stopped to dig a hole and Ed continued on. The trail meandered past multiple clear and cold streams. The twists and turns of the trail felt so gentle that although we were climbing it felt like we were walking on flat ground.
It feels great walking on gently graded switchbacks! We are aware we’ve mentioned this numerous times but it really is that nice.
We were pleasantly suprised that the air was less smoky this morning. There was still a haze which lessened the dramatic views but at least our throats and noses didn’t burn.
We caught glimpses of Glacier Peak and tried to make out other peaks and glaciers through the haze.
We stopped to pick blueberries and attempted to fill a Talenti for dessert but the sun was too intense. With no breeze it felt like we were standing directly under a heat lamp. After 10 minutes and 1/5 of a Talenti worth, we were walking again.
From the top of Suiattle Pass we descended into a basin. We washed our faces in a creek and took a short break in the shade, staring out at a wall of rock.
We switchbacked down, out of the boulder fields and back into the trees.
Here we discovered super ripe and sweet huckleberries and thimbleberries.
We were both immersed in the bushes when Sam, an Aussie thru hiker, joined the picking party. We talked and picked and hiked until we found another good patch of either berry.
We had heard of Sam from Nemo and thought he was ahead of us. Upon meeting, Andy recognized him from the desert. We had started around the same time and had chatted briefly around mile 85. Neither Laurie nor Sam had any recollection of this but it didn’t matter. It was nice to see him..again.
We descended through overgrown bushes, trying not to trip over rocks or roots that lay underneath.
We crossed the South Fork of the Agnes Creek by walking on a huge fallen tree. There was a large river bed but only one third contained running water. The fallen tree spanned the entire river bed.
Laurie took a quick dip in the river to revitalize herself. She does not do well in the heat. She feels sluggish, her feet swell and she gets grumpy. Cheese, candy and cold water help bring the smile back to her face.
Once her internal temperature had dropped to a comfortable level, we continued on, walking through the forest. Despite being in the shade, it was hot. Near creeks we enjoyed brief reprieves.
“I am tired.” reported Laurie. She was tired of being hot, sticky, dirty and stinky. We had walked more miles per day in this section than the majority of other sections. And with not enough sleep she could feel her body starting to rebel.
“We are almost there, you can do this” reassured Andy. “And tomorrow you can have pie!”
This brought a smile to Laurie’s face. “Yum pie, I can do anything for pie!”
With 3 miles until camp we stopped for ‘happy hour.’ We soaked our feet in cold creek water and shared our last chunk of cheese.
Laurie was hungry today. Apparently she had donated too much of her food to the hiker box at Stevens Pass.
Tomorrow we will be going into town with only bars (2 for Laurie and 4 for Andy). It feels good to know that we are not carrying excess weight but it is uncomfotable being hungry most of the day.
We got to camp around 6:45. Many people we have never seen were already there. We found a flat spot and set up the tent before going down to the creek to rinse off and get water for dinner.
The water in this creek was cold. So much in fact that it hurt to stand in it for more than 30 seconds.
We returned to our tent, Laurie lay down inside while Andy made dinner. The ground was warm from the sun and to Laurie it felt like she was lying on a heating pad.
Eventually the air cooled and we were able to fall asleep.
Tonight we are grateful for sweet thimbleberries and trees to cross rivers.