Day 99 – high camp trail junction to near walupt creek
July 28 | NOBO Miles 2243.9-2269.2
I slept like an infant and woke up to toasty beams of sunlight heating up my quilt. The thermal blanket put me back to sleep for an hour. No Thermarests could I hear being deflated, nor packs rustling, nor breakfast being chomped. Not a soul walked by. And that is how I got to sleep in until 9AM. Where is the cruise director? I would like a mimosa please.
Leaving my beach house, I strode back towards Adams and reconnected with the PCT, which sent me cruising downhill for the first 10 miles of the day. I turned one corner and walked into this view of Mt. Rainier really showing off:
I immediately thought of my dad, who backpacked and bummed around the Cascades as a kid, and how he would be so stoked to see this (hi dad!!). Maybe after I’m done here I will follow in his footsteps and find work at a Washington pancake house, apprenticing under the tutelage of a mad French chef and hanging out with the neighborhood Hare Krishnas.
As the heat of the day began to swell, I passed a homemade mile marker that, oddly enough, corresponded to my exact mileage as well… whoever made this must have walked just as much trail as I have, which is really bizarrely specific. Flip flopping is so hot right now!! 1800 down, 850 to go. Let’s roll.
At a dirt road I bumped into a trail work crew and had a good time chatting with them for a few minutes. I thanked them profusely for all their hard work and told them this past stretch of trail had been pristine. They thought I was flattering them. And maybe I was, because I had seen their cooler full of ice cold beverages and fresh fruit. Alas, they offered not, but it was fun talking with them and I know they got a kick out of it too.
I then entered a tediously long section of vista-less, mosquito-infested forest. Stopping for a break was out of the question. This sign lifted my spirits slightly:
I was entering a section I’d been dreaming about for 4 months. Goat Rocks is famously one of the coolest parts of the trail. I trudged through the land of the bloodsuckers, imagining all the hard-earned views that awaited me.
At one point I was pretty tired and on the verge of vagaling, so with my pack still on I collapsed onto a sandy spot beside the trail, leaning backwards onto my beast of burden as one would a chair, legs sprawled out in front of me and arms crossed over my chest. It was pretty nice actually. A few SOBOs passed me in my lounge state and I hope they were at least a little amused. At 400 miles in they have yet to become quite this casual.
I made a move to woman up and began my last and best climb of the day, which led me along a wide-open path cut into the side of the mountain just as the sun began to dip.
Views of nearby lakes and Mt. Adams abounded.
I slowed to a shuffle, deliriously basking in the light of the Golden Hour. At last I spotted a small path up a hill to my right, which led to a dope private Adams-facing camp spot in a grassy clearing.
As I crawled into my tent, a large buck walked by and we both stopped to observe each other for a good 10 seconds before each resuming our business. Being out of NorCal and away from the land of ballsy deer, I trusted him not to revisit me in the night and make a meal of the cork handles on my trekking poles.