Friday, August 10, 2018
Part II, Day 1. Miles hiked: 10.8. Elevation gain/loss: +3350/-2260.
Stevens Pass to Just shy of Trap Lake (WACS2453)
Back on the Trail! One week after starting the first leg of the hike. I managed to get a few more days off from work so I’m finishing WA Section J. This time starting at the north end, solo, hiking SOBO, tagging the pond, and heading out the Pete Lake Trail (way better maintained than the horrific Mineral Creek Trail).
So after a full 2 days at home, I board the Amtrak bus from Seattle. At 12:30pm it drops me at Stevens Pass and I begin my hike. It’s warm but not hot and don’t mind the afternoon climbing start. I hike to the ski lift at the top of the hill, down under the power lines, past Lake Susan Jane, views of Josephine Lake, Swimming Deer Lake, Mig Lake, and Hope Lake. I pass 30+ people either hiking or at campsites, most of them around little Hope Lake at the top of the Tunnel Creek Trail. Some day hikers mistake me for a thru-hiker and I feel legit. I plan to make camp around 10 miles in or at 7pm whichever feels right.
At 5:45 I have 10.8 miles under my belt and decide to settle in nearish another tent. Hiking solo makes me nervous – it’s not necessarily other people, or even animals, but more the unknown. I mean, how do I know Bigfoot isn’t out there? I feel better near other backpackers. I’m pretty much adjacent to the trail, but that’s fine. There are a few small pools here from which to filter water. Also lots of mosquitos so I set up my tent right away. Dinner is beans and rice with hot sauce tonight. Pretty good even though it needs some salt. Three guys come by and I chat briefly, making sure to mention the other tent nearby (never can be too safe). They head on down the trail.
My feet are tired. I have new Brooks Cascadias for this leg of the section. My old Altra Lone Peaks and their lack-of-tread just weren’t cutting it. I also brought a book this time – Tommy Caldwell’s “The Push”. Weighing in at a hefty 11 oz it should sustain me throughout my solo journey. I have also downloaded a handful of episodes of the Cascade Hiker Podcast, which are decently entertaining. I read. I pee. I go to sleep around 8:30 or 9.