Mile 2379.5 to mile 2402
Wake up early to a cold campsite socked in fog; I dreamt I was trying to southbound but the ride that picked me up hitching dropped me in Tacoma and I was stuck in the city, no way to get out.
22.5 miles to Snoqualmie pass today! We have to be there by three because Shelene and Roger, the trail angels who stocked the cache yesterday, are picking us up to take us to their land outside Snoqualmie and give all ten of us a feast. I don’t know what we did to deserve any of this but it’s incredible, and we’re all super pumped.
Climbing in the cold fog wearing my thermal tights, dew all over the huckleberries, eating rice crispie treats from my hipbelt pockets. The forest is lush, full of ferns, moss, the long streamers of lichen. I fall behind on the climbs per usual but I don’t mind, I feel good today. I catch the others breaking at a stream, sitting on the loamy ground, passing a single cigarette around. Coughee is telling his stories- he’s got a new audience in Pigpen and Handy Andy so he’s being Uncle Coughee-
“Stabbed my brother in the face with a pencil when we were kids,” he says. “Went all the way through his cheek. Stabbed him in the stomach with a pool cue. Had to run and hide in the suburban and lock all the doors, I was so scared. It was a constant battle, me and him.”
“My sister and I played Pretty Pretty Princess,” says Woody.
After the break I hike with the others in a train- me, Guthrie, Krispies, Coughee, Pigpen. The trail is big rocks tumbling downhill and we’re running, like jumping through tires in an obstacle course. I know it’ll make my feet hurt later but I don’t care. At some point I realize how long it’s been since I had a zero day.
“When we get to Stehekin it’ll be my first zero in six hundred miles,” I say. I feel proud of myself.
“When I get to the border it’ll be my first zero in 1700 miles,” says Handy Andy.
I eat salmonberries, huckleberries, thimbleberries, watermelon berries. Plus a lot of fruit snacks shaped like berries. We reach the ski lifts overlooking 1-90 and cut down through the wildflowers, jogging sending up clouds of dust. We reach the freeway and dart across to the Chevron. It’s 2 p.m.
The foodcart in front of the Chevron is just like I remember it- I get curry with pinneaple cake on top, drink a bottle of squirt. There’s a bunch of other hikers and we’re all sitting at picnic tables in the shade, laughing. Shelene and Roger appear- they’ve brought a huge truck and a station wagon, room for all of us. They also have a few dozen krispie cream donuts, and I eat three of them. I’m about to get my period, and donuts taste like euphoria. I can feel myself sinking into glutenfog and I know my stomach will be upset later, but I don’t even care. No donut will ever taste this good.
Shelene and Roger live on a lush hunk of land outside of Seattle, in a big house with a wooden deck and a wide, grassy lawn. There’s a chocolate lab and a cooler full of beers and we collapse on the lawn, throw the ball for the dog, drink beers. Showering, laundry, all of these things that feel so nice after so many long sweaty climbs in the woods. In the evening there’s a huge pot of spaghetti with meatballs (and gluten free spaghetti, if you can believe it!!), salad, crusty bread, watermelon, and a sort of strawberry custard pie. The light fades and we play The Village, drift off to our bedrolls. I get to sleep in the RV, in a soft bed with a real comforter. We are full and tired and happy.
Thank you Roger and Shelene!!!
Photos on instagram