Hiking a Section of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington

I took one last look down the river from my position on the interstate bridge in Montana, my friends still jumping, swinging and dropping into the water. It had been a great time, now I was moving towards Washington to meet up with friends hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

Molly and Kirby were hiking the who length of the PCT, essentially Mexico to Canada via California, Oregon and lastly Washington. I was keen to hike about a hundred mile stretch with them. I stuck my thumb out, in no time a couple in a Hummer pulled aside for me to join them on route to Spokane.

We rode through the hills and mountainous terrain until we hit the city where they dropped me off. I'd already arranged a place to stay with a couchsurfing couple in town for the night, I made my way to their porch and waited for them to return home.

They were a cool couple, into trying and brewing all sorts of beer. We chatted through the evening, sipping good beer and eating stir fry they cooked up. Crepes were made in the morning and then they gave me a ride to the interstate after the brief and entertaining encounter with them.

It only took two rides to get to the mountain pass where I was to intercept Molly and Kirby. First from a guy going to pick up a car, then a guy heading into Washington who changed his route slightly in order to get me to the right spot, by Tipsoo Lake.

I walked around the lake and got a handle on where the trail was coming in and out. I decided I'd hike down the trail a few miles or so to Dewey Lake where I could camp for the night and get up early enough to hang on the trail to intercept Molly and Kirby. Cell service was non-existent, so I would have to be sure to intercept them in this manner.

I hiked slightly uphill, earning a great view of Mount Rainier. The trail continued along passing small puddles and ponds, then went straight down towards Lake Dewey through the forest.

I'd just about reached the bottom when I saw two women hiking upwards, giving them the typical, "Hey, how's it going?", for which they responded with exhausted discomfort. I got alongside them and saw that they'd rigged their hiking poles with clothing into a stretcher, a lifeless looking dog laid on top that they were carrying.

Apparently the dog had gotten sick, perhaps bitten by something, and could no longer move on his own accord. They'd been hauling him the last several miles. Darkness was approaching and I had just come the couple miles of easy downhill, deathly uphill for these two, with packs heavier than mine and dead weight dog.

I stashed my pack in the trees off the trail and took over for the woman holding the dog from the back who was doing the heaviest of the lifting given how they rigged it up. We marched up the hill, myself and the other woman taking turns raising the dog up the hill.

Around an hour and plenty of conversation and exhaustion later we'd reached the last of the uphill. With them having just a mile of downhill to go and barely enough light for me to get back down find my pack and a campsite they were good to get to the trail head and their car on their own.

They thanked me up and down and gave me a box of wine and some chocolates they'd been carrying, then I ran on down the hill and recovered my backpack before it became too dark to recall which bend in the trail I'd left it at. I got to the lake quick enough and set up camp, filtered some water and slept like a rock.

I hiked back up the hill in the morning, much easier without a hound dog, then paused at the junction in the trail. I sat there for some hours, reading and talking to passing hikers. A few thru-hikers passed by and figured they had seen Molly and Kirby based on my description of them, seemed they were on their way.

Sure enough, Kirby appeared marching up the trail with Molly right behind him. We sat at the spot for a bit, then got on the move, a quick smoke break, then over the road to the next section of the trail. In front of us was just shy of a hundred miles until Snoqualmie, the next road and little break point.

We hiked until we hit Sheep Lake, a nice little spot where we decided to camp for the night. Darkness came and we finished up the box wine I'd been given and chowed our various camp food, catching up on time past before going to sleep.

We hiked a few more days about twenty miles each. The next night we landed at a little hiker cabin just after a big rain started. The following day we hiked until the sun came out and dried our gear, by sunset we'd found a cool little plateau to camp on. The forth night we camped in a campsite with another hiker with the trail name "Red Beard".

The last day we made it to Snoqualmie, down the ski hill and into the little town. We stopped in the diner and feasted on pancakes, a welcome big meal after the days of camp food. We ran into their friend Sweep, another hiker, then sat in the lobby bar of a hotel ordering pitchers in the early afternoon, relaxed and relieved.

After much of this it was time for us all to keep moving. Molly and Kirby were off to get back on the trail or find some nearby hot springs that people had been mentioning, I was off to the freeway to throw my thumb out again. My friend Aaron and others were at the Gorge nearby where Dave Mathews was jamming for the weekend. With my track record of sneaking into these sort of things and Aaron's high recommendation of the fun going on, this was my next destination.

August 25, 2012 to August 31, 2012

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