Day 108: You’ll Be Drenched To The Bone

Mile reached: 2511.3 (+28.8 + 0.3 bonus)

High: The sun came out in the afternoon!

Low: It was cold and wet most of the day.

Overnight it rained again, but I managed to stay dry in my tent. Thanks to a dike that “Gandalf” and I had dug the previous evening, water running down the hill was routed away from our tents. Though early in the morning I could still hear the constant patter of raindrops on my tent and resolved that I wouldn’t get out until it had stopped. The “Super Siblings” were the first to get going, and they considerately made comments about how nice it was to have a puffy as they left camp. Not long after, “Gandalf” was packed up, though he explained that it was no longer raining. The drops hitting my tent were actually just from the trees above. So within 45 minutes, I too was ready to go and ventured out into the wet.

The air was damp, but it wasn’t that cold once I got moving. All of the plants, however, were drenched and generously deposited the cold rainwater collected on them as you passed. Within a couple miles my shoes were soaked despite not actually walking through water or puddles. Lots of weekend backpackers were decked out in Gore-Tex rain gear, but I was just in my running shorts. So, maybe I deserved to get wet?

Wet and misty
The clouds blocked views of the bigger mountains beyond, but we still did get some open views.
It was hard to believe that there was a 10,000′ volcano just ahead.

After a few hours, I found “Gandalf” on the side of the trail taking a break. Thus far, it was shaping up to be a rough day and neither of us had been going very fast. However, I knew the White Pass area was rather scenic, and he agreed to go that far for lunch. Namely, we’d stop at a the Reflecting Pond, which was just past 2,500 miles! As I got close I expected to find some monument to 2,500 miles, but there was none. Someone else started to work on a makeshift one, but I continued on to pond where I waited for “Gandalf” in the intermittent sunlight. Fortunately, there was enough sunlight to dry out my gear while I waited.

Things got better in the afternoon even though we had to finish a large climb at the start. More importantly, the weather was improving and so were the views. Due to the climb I got quite a ways ahead and began the long descent toward the White Chuck River around Glacier Peak’s western flank. Some sections were stunningly steep for the PCT, and I smiled thinking about the complaining I’d hear in camp later that night. There was also a tremendous amount of water such that the trail was flooded for stretches. The rivers were also filled with glacial flour making them unappealing as water sources.

It wasn’t sunny, but we could feel the weather beginning to break!
Circling around Glacier Peak
The trail near the White Chuck River felt wild.
Storm is gone!

I reached the preselected campsite in the late afternoon and had a copious amount of time to both scout around and to collect firewood. Shortly after “Gandalf” threw down his pack, we got the fire going, which delighted the “Super Siblings”. We were all glad that we stopped where we did, because there was plenty of time to enjoy the fire, and we left a 3,000 foot climb for the next morning. With warm Mac and Cheese in my belly I put out the fire after everyone else had called it a night and then crawled into my cozy quilt as well.

“Stay Puft” and “Himalaya” around our fire

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