8/24/17 – When August Throws a Tantrum
Miles: 2,312.05 to 2,334.48
Total miles hiked: 1,693.44
(Plus 0.3 from Two Lakes to trail)
The night was warmer than we expected but once again we didn’t make it without condensation and on the outside the tent was wet from few overnight showers. They were not strong or long but they left droplets of water to let us know they happened.
It was a gloomy morning. Wind chased clouds above Two Lakes area, and lower down at the trail level, the air didn’t move much but we were surrounded by fog and it didn’t leave us for most of the day.
Variety of purple flowers stood out in the fog. They were numerous along the trail together with white blooms of Pearly Everlasting and pinks of Monkey Flowers.
The wind came when we dropped to Chinook Pass. It was really gnarly in the area. We didn’t linger long. An uphill awaited us towards Sheep Lake and it was a welcome one that I knew would warm us up a little.
After Sheep Lake, where we met two gentlemen who assured us the next section is the most boring from all Washington’s PCT, we started another climb, this time to Sourdough Gap. We still didn’t see much but once atop we had a chance to see Sheep Lake bellow us, though the view was very brief.
Weather improved slightly when we started traversing slopes past the gap. Views because more frequent and eventually the clouds lifted and we had a good view of Crystal Mountain ski area, and later Norse Peak and Norse Peak Wilderness where fires are burning that started during last lightening storm.
The temperature did not improve much. Filtering water from a spring bellow Norse Peak was painful. My fingers were numb when we were done.
Luckily the next traverse led under a tall wall and for a while we were spared the wind. I still hiked in my down jacked but for a change my core felt pleasantly warm.
We were happy to find out that small campsites at Martinson Gap have decent wind protection. According to the forecast we are in for the coldest night on trail, with maybe the exception of Fuller Ridge where it snowed overnight.
This unseasonably cold weather is a great reminder that fall is coming and also a great motivation to put the miles in and finish before days like this, and worse ones, become daily reality. Now, please, summer come back to us.