Day 144 – nearing the border

August 25, 2016

Bushcamp (mile 2625.8) to Hopkins Lake (miles 2643.7)

Miles: 17.9 

Our total miles: 2237.4

We watched the sunrise from the comfort of our sleeping bags. 

Since we had only 20 or so miles to hike we were in no rush to get going.

We shared how it felt to be so close to the end and discussed again the logistics involved in getting back to the trail in California.

Around 8am we finally stepped foot on the trail. There were darker, meaner looking clouds in the direction we were walking.  We hoped they wouldn’t produce precipitation. 

The first few switchbacks Andy commented again how much he enjoyed the sunset last night. 

“That spot and that sunset were absolutely spectacular. I’ve never seen a sky that red before! Washington sure did wow us on our 2nd to last night.”

We dropped into the trees, lost in our own thoughts until we reached the Holman Creek trail junction.

From there we climbed 1400 feet to Rock Pass in four miles. We took a long lunch break at the Pass, then made our way toward Woody Pass.

Our guidebooks warned us to not be tempted to take the old, unmaintained PCT as it’s treacherous. We stuck to the main trail and enjoyed the views between Rock Pass and Woody Pass.

The relentless climb up to Woody Pass kicked both our butts. We huffed and puffed our way up it.

“Where the heck did that climb come from? Did we really drop that much from Rock Pass?” Andy asked doing his best to catch his breath.

“I dunno” replied Laurie.

We kept hiking. There was a bit more climbing to do, then it’s all downhill to Canada! Nine or so miles with slightly more than 3000 feet down.

These mountains are truly beautiful and we continue to remain grateful for the weather we’ve enjoyed.

Around 3pm Laurie suggested that if we like it, we should camp at Hopkins Lake. We got to the lake around 4 and immediately decided we’d stay here. 

We were 2.7 miles short of our plan, but we can make that up tomorrow. We kinda like camping in pretty places. And this was our last night in Washington!

Laurie went for a dip before the sun hid behind the mountain while Andy soaked his feet. We stayed at the shores of the lake for about an hour, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the beauty of our surroundings.

Around 5pm we left the lake, hiked about 150 feet to an established camp and set up our tent. We’re hoping for another clear, dry night. 

We ate, journaled, listened to music and watched the mountains to the east turn golden brown. Well, Andy did all of yhst. Laurie took a nap which turned into a 7 pm bedtime.

It’s really peaceful here. Just us and the birds. Not many hikers around since we’re only 6.4 miles from the monument.

It’s gonna be a chilly night. Chilly and clear. Hopefully we’ll see lots of stars.

As Andy was tucking away the electronics for the evening (we wrap them in a fleece to help preserve battery life) he heard rustling.

He pulled out his headlight and not even 10 feet from our tent was a creature with large, beautiful antlers. We think it was an Elk but it may have been a buck. It didn’t seem concerned or interested in us – just the bushes around our tent.

Andy woke up Laurie and we both stared in awe. It was beautiful!

Throughout the night we continued to hear munching. We futilely tried to scare them off but they kept coming back so after a few minutes we gave up and went back to sleep.

Tonight we’re grateful for solitude and naps at 7pm!

Descending Rock Pass

Walking toward Woody Pass

Hopkins Lake

Our cozy apartment, usually with good views and lots of fresh air

8 thoughts on “Day 144 – nearing the border

  1. When Abel (Bonus Miles) and I got to the bakery at 3:30 they told us the ovens just went out and it would be 2 days until a repair man would arrive. Since they supply the ranch, we told them there would be some VERY disappointed hikers, namely Andy and Laurie. Glad Laurie got an extra slice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “where are we” now shows that you’re back in CA. CONGRATULATIONS !! on an epic journey. I can’t wait to catch up with you. Maybe we can hike some Sierra miles with you? Chris and I have big news to share 🙂


    • Ooh exciting!!?? We are in Red’s Meadow and heading north. Wanna meet us in Sierra city? As of now we will be there late afternoon sat sept 17 or early sept 18. We look forward to connecting on the trail or after!


  3. Wow ! Can’t believe you guys got to meet up with the legendary Billy Goat . You have been graced by many beautiful experiences. My imagination took over with ‘ the look back ‘ at each other’s departure from one another . My thought was ; he was looking back at his youth and you guys were looking into your future . Hoping that that will be yourselves at the age of eighty . So have you met with a lot of south blunders or mostly just a few scattering so ? We try to guess at what we can expect . To give our trail angel brother-in-law a heads up where he is at in Independence . And to supply some needs at the 549 cache . Usually a hit and miss kind of thing for us anyhow , as we are harvesting / canning dehydrating from our garden this time of year . We have been married for 43 years and this is something we’ve always said to ourselves , ” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change (you) , the courage to change the things I can (me) and the wisdom to know difference . Marriage / relationships are like long distance hikes , it’s not the destination that matters as much as the journey ! Keep enjoying , and happy trails and when the trials come just keep putting one foot in front of the other . Love love love your photos . My favorite this time was the buck in velvet . We are grateful for Andy and Laurie and that third person who writes sometimes . Whom I call Anlo, there is you Andy , then there is Laurie and that one together that you are building in your relationship .


    • Thank you so much for your beautiful message Patti. And your advice! We really appreciate it and enjoy/look forward to your comments ☺ We saw many SOBOs in Oregon but haven’t seen any in the Sierras yet.


  4. I think of that buck as a kindred spirit. they kept coming back because they knew they were in company of others who enjoy and savor eating as much as he does! i always love reading your descriptions of food, especcially how you capture that special quality that food has when on trail, the particular presence for savoring something like oatmeal for example which in city life is not so exciting!


    • I am glad you can relate. Food is amazing and I always look forward to the next meal- although these days our food is so monotonous- can’t wait to get to Sierra city where your care package is waiting for us! Thank you so much!!


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