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PCT 2015 Day 136: Washington’s Beautiful

  • Start: 2,403.0
  • End: 2,427.5
  • Miles: 24.5
  • Camp: Overlooking Waptus Lake

This morning I woke to frost on the ground and ice on the tent. The early morning sunshine hadn’t yet reached our campsite and the temperature remained low enough to preserve the sparkling crystals on everything from leaves to trekking poles. The chill didn’t deter the camp robbers though, the gray jays. As we breakfasted and packed up camp I was diverted often to scare off a newcomer hopeful of some food scraps. Fat chance.

The trail was steep and rocky, and we made fairly slow progress, but this gave me an opportunity to take in the scenery and contemplate the approaching end of the journey. The rocky slopes are home to the barking pikas sounding like squeaky toys, as well as the whistling marmots. Meanwhile the leaves are turning fiery shades of red and yellow, contrasting fiercely with the evergreen trees.

Suddenly the serenity of the landscape was torn apart, and we looked straight up away from the sound to see two fighter jets soaring between the mountains. Later in the day we passed through an area where the forest service is blasting to improve the width of the trail, and the valley echoed with the sound of explosions every hour. We hadn’t quite left all traces of humanity behind.

We had a long climb after lunch, and I had thought podcasts would be a necessary distraction but the climb wasn’t hard just long. It looked like rain by the time we reached the top, so we made only a brief stop at a pond for water before heading down the other side to camp. I nearly fell in whilst balancing on two small rocks to scoop water, which would have entirely negated the good luck we were having with the weather holding off. Thankfully we stayed largely dry although it became chilly as it grew later. We found a campsite before it got too late, a cramped and sloping thing but with a beautiful view. The rain is forecast overnight so I wouldn’t be surprised if we can’t see it in the morning.

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