8/31/17 – Stevens Pass
Miles: 2,447.70 to 2,461.62
Total miles hiked: 1,820.58
Clouds hugged the peaks above Glacier Lake in the morning, steered by light breeze they contoured mountain sides. It was a nice show to watch but it looked cold and damp up there and that’s exactly where we were headed.
At first we were protected from the wind, climbing to the top of a tall wall on the East side of the lake. The trail was steep but relatively easy going compared to other sections we recently experienced. On the other side, real treat awaited us, a view of Trap Lake long ways bellow us, surrounded by a mix of fall colors and light grey boulder fields. This treat, however, came at a cost of colder breeze and rougher terrain.
Miles did not come easy on the rocky trail and by our second break we have only hiked 7.75 miles. On any other day this would not be a huge problems, there would be still plenty of time to make our distance, today though our goal was to hike out at Stevens Pass and hitched to a small town Skykomish where our resupply box was waiting for us. The post office closed at 3:30 pm, and if we kept our current speed, we could not make it. We would need to wait till the post office reopens at 11:30 am the next day to get our food box. Spending a night in Skykomish would be OK but a more exciting plan stemmed from a conversation about whether or not we should take a full zero day. But it was only feasible if we got to our box in time today.
We were able to increase our pace but between the steep uphills, rocky descends, and amazing mountain views, there was no racing. First view of Stevens Pass opened in front of us around 1:00 pm. We still had 2 miles to get down the last hill before reaching the highway.
Luck was on our side. Less than 10 minutes after we arrived at Hwy 2, lady with whom we exchanged few words on the trail picked us up. We had 40 minutes and a 20 minute ride. We thought we were safe. Until the traffic stopped and did not move for next 20 minutes.
We had 4 minutes left when we turned off the highway, and just as we did we saw the railroad track gates closing, cutting off our access to the post office. It was a long train. Slow one too. At 3:32 pm we finally parked in front of the post office parking lot. It was closed.
To make long story shorter, we got our package in the end and off we went back to the highway. First hitch got us back to Stevens Pass. Second one took us to Leavenworth, small Bavarian-style mountain town full of great food where we decided to spend our zero day. The temptation of good dinner was too tempting to pass. Our feet deserved a rest too, we haven’t stopped for a full day since Cascade Locks.
Timing really worked for this rest day. Our friends Andrea and Jon got to town earlier today. We met them for dinner and made few plans for the last two sections of our trip. It feels surreal to be so close to the border. To have hiked 2,000 miles. But first we have to finish the remaining 190 miles. I’m excited to see what else Washington has in store for us.