WA PCT Section J – Part I, Day 4 – Hikin’ in the heat to get to Popeyes

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Part I, Day 4. Miles hiked: 3.5-4. Elevation gain/loss: +665/-700 ft
North end of Lake Kachess to End of the hike

I wake at 6:30. I was sure Bigfoot or some other monster would attack me in the night. Alas! I slept well and nothing got me. I take my time getting ready, wash my feet, make coffee, cook ramen for breakfast, pack up, and head up the hill around 9am to see if Mark is awake and how he’s feeling. He’s awake and feeling well enough to get on the trail and GTFO. We’re on the trail shortly after 9. So many ups and downs along this little ol’ trail. We go at a slowish pace but keep on chugging so we can get outta there before the heat of the day is upon us. The morning is already hot. At a water break we fill and eat a snack. Mark promptly throws up. 😦 Such a bummer to be feeling so crappy. It’s so hot.

We hit the end of the trail at 12:30 amidst several giant campgrounds. Port-a-potty bathroom break. We’re surrounded by sites full of families with their grills, trucks, and water toys. We find the registration hut and inquire hopefully about gatorade for sale. Nope, only water. We fill our bottles at the spigots and relax for a minute. How will we hitch out? Mark has a little service but not much battery life. (I lost his charger/carabiner at the pond. Whoopsies.)

We walk to a good hitchin’ spot and stick out our thumbs. Five or 10 cars pass by, some even peeling out in the process. Dang that’s cold. Mark gives one of them the finger. Eventually a guy with his family show us some humanity and stops. His wife gives him a hard time, but we gratefully accept the ride. We crawl into the covered cab, bounce down the road, and get out at the I-90 junction. One of the young daughters shows us her creepy severed doll head. We awkwardly laugh and thank them for the ride.

Another nice guy with two large dogs in an SUV stops to give us a ride to North Bend. The A/C is blasting. We chat about hikes. Mark naps in the back. I have service and text Jared, who is able to save us from North Bend soon! We get out near the truck stop, intending to shower, but are easily distracted by the allure of icy cold Gatorade (limon-pepino and lemon-lime, please) and Popeyes chicken. We devour a few chicken strips and I pick up several biscuits as a thank-you-for-saving-us gift.

Before we know it, Jared has arrived! It’s 2pm. The three of us drive to Wallingford where we drop of Jared to work from a cafe before meeting up with our other friend Marc. Then Mark and I continue on northward to Stevens Pass to retrieve my car. A stop at the Sultan Bakery in search of the elusive buttermilk bars. We settle for incredibly rich, incredibly large cookies. I feel sugar-high-sick three-quarters of the way into my reese’s cookie but manage to polish it off. Around 5 we’re at the pass. I get my car. Drive back to Seattle. Pick up Jared. Over the ferry and back to Vashon. THE END of Part I.

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