Day 98 – trout lake to high camp Trail junction
July 27 | NOBO Miles 2229.4-2243.9
I said goodbye to Juneau and left Steph’s place for town around 10. At least 20 of the 30 cars I passed by on the road honked and waved with excitement.
On my way out I grabbed a veggie wrap for the road and giggled at the sign hanging in the café.
I hopped in the back of a dude named Steve’s truck (not as weird as it sounds, I was accompanied by 10 others) and he ferried us to the trailhead. The one and only downside of trail angel shuttles is that everyone arrives at the trailhead at the same time, and if there’s one thing I don’t like on trail, even before mosquitoes, it’s hiking within view of a stranger’s backside. So I pulled over .5 miles in and did what I do in these types of situations… called mom to distract me while I waited out the herd. Thanks mom, I’m glad the deck renovation is going well!!
Well, it worked, but then I ended up passing all those same people on my way up the climb into the Mt. Adams Wilderness. Woops.
The trail crept through a spooky burn area as Adams snuck into view. I was thankful for the slightly overcast sky above, even after having been rained on in the pickup bed just an hour prior.
As I gained elevation I was rewarded with killer views framed by bright green forest. The clouds parted as I leveled out for a few miles and cruised through creek-lined meadows full of wildflowers.
Indian Paintbrush, my favorite, was going wild.
Much of the water on the side of the mountain was cloudy and milky white–full of sediment from the glacial meltwater–and streams looked extra cool.
I was pretty amazed by all of this. It was my favorite day in Washington so far. It only got better.
I crossed a relatively tricky creek before coming upon a junction to a side trail that looked out on what I thought might be Mt. Rainier (it was). I ventured .1 off the PCT and was basically alone (here I capitalized on my knowledge that hikers are lazy about doing bonus miles).
And as soon as I saw this beautiful mosquito-free oasis of a sandy spot, I was sold.
With a window on Mt. Adams to my left and an open ridgeline to my right, I sat in the sand and just relaxed, doing nothing, which I rarely ever do, for the final hour of daylight.
The sunset, as I anticipated, was out of control. Sleep came easy in the cool, quiet, windless night.