If you've ever seen the show Highlander, you'd know that each immortal he destroys, he gains their powers. It seems that after each big climb I get stronger and stronger to the point where these hills no longer matter. Don't be afraid of hills, they'll make you immortal!
I am 188 miles from the end of my journey. How weird is that? By the end of Labor Day weekend I'll be back home trimming back this crazy beard and trying to figure out how to communicate to others my experiences of this summer.
I want to say that the journey from Chinook Pass to Stevens Pass was uneventful, but after going back over it in my head, it was filled with interesting moments. Seeing Mt. Rainier disappear in a matter of days was strange. Such a commanding mountain, yet it became smaller and smaller with each passing ridge line.
The first day out, we were met with a forest fire burning about a mile away. It was far enough away to not be an issue, but close enough to be slightly creepy. I moved down the trail as fast as possible to put miles between myself and the fire. In just 3 days, I was descending down into Snoqualmie Pass, but not before a major personal milestone. I hiked my first 30 mile day and believe it or not, felt pretty great afterwards. My body felt a little more beat up than usual the following day, but for the most part I was in great shape. I'd been ready for 30 for a while, but just hadn't done it. The time was right and I was making good time on day two so I went for it. I celebrated alone, camped with a stranger, and went right to bed.
The three days of hiking from Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass was something else. The trail cuts through Alpine Lakes Wilderness and it's not for the faint of heart. Climbs were steep and descents were just as bad. Smoke filled the basins and left ash on my pack at night from fires burning in Canada. It was rugged and beautiful and not a place I'm going back to anytime soon (haha).
There was no cell reception until an hour before I arrived in Stevens Pass so I had no idea my hiking partner had become sick on day one and returned to town to rest. All I knew was that he didn't catch me on either of the three days , but I figured he was okay. He lucked out... those mountains were an ass kicker. On day two, I accidentally hiked just over 27 miles due to camping and water locations. When I looked at the tally for the day I realized why I was so exhausted. That's a lot of climbing miles in one day, but for some reason I felt great. My body is beat up and it's still performing.
I have eight hiking days remaining until this summer escape is over. I'm ready for it to be over, but am sad to see it go. When you look forward to something for so long it's like it's immortal, yet nothing ever is. Everything has an expiration date so it's up to us to move along as well.
Over the remaining miles, I am going to focus on why I did this trail in the first place. What am I getting out of so many miles and how can I use what I've experienced as a tool moving forward? All things may come to an end, but lessons do not. My aim is to digest this journey over the remaining 188 miles in hopes that I'll finally understand it all.
Thank you so very much for being with me on this journey. Your personal notes and encouragement are some of the best blessings of my life.
Eight More days By Land,
P.S. I've learned I can hike 4 miles on 4 Oreo cookies. Haha!