Beginning Elevation = 4,850
Ending Elevation = 5,500
Elevation Range = 4,200 – 6,500
Weather: Sunny and clear, high 75°F
I opened my eyes, turned to my side, and pressed the top left button on my Casio Electro Luminescence watch…6:08am. Precisely 42 minutes later, TW and I started our walk away from the tents back to the PCT. We waved to Cheer as we passed, she was packing up. Calzone remained hidden inside her tent. 10 minutes later, we made the turn from our side trail back to the PCT at 7:00am and once again continued north. The lake was quite pretty again this morning…
Today would be another incredible day. Certainly up there in the category of most beautiful days along the trail, one of the ones that will stick out in my memory I believe. We were hiking too late to see the sun rise above the horizon, but it was still low and offered up some golden light over our surroundings. As has happened before along the trail, we followed along and when the trail switched over a ridge we began seeing some cloud cover, out, down below. There was also a thick layer of dew/condensation covering everything this morning, including our tents when we packed up.
Following the walk up high up along the ridges, we descended via switchbacks through a nice forest. Still lots of picturesque shrooms…looks rather poisonous to me though, so I held back from taking a bite out of it.
We had a nice breakfast at a somewhat sunny spot where the sun shone through the gap in trees . And we tried out my new coffee creamer that I splurged on for this stretch. Pretty good edition to the breakfast routine.
After breakfast, we’d eventually make our way back up and out into the open. The sun burned away the clouds quickly too. The rest of the day had straight sunshine covering the relatively open mountainsides and valleys. It made for an absolutely beautiful scene! The blueberry bushes were changing colors too it seemed, from the light green to a purplish maroon color.
You may have noticed that I’ve started listing the stuff I’ve been listening to each day at the bottom of my posts. Today I was getting into some bigger picture topics…black holes and space, the yet unexplored bottom of the ocean, and climate change related stuff. Particularly, the Liturgist Podcast titled Pale Blue Dot struck me as the guests they had on were documentary film makers. They interviewed astronauts for their project and the main thing they discussed was their feelings/reaction as they looked back at earth from space. At one point, the description “profound awe” was used to explain the feeling/experience. I thought this was quite accurate for what I felt today as well!
I caught up to TW for a nice lunch break where we emptied out our packs to dry our tents and air out our sleeping bags. Feeling rather intrigued by the climate change discussion I’d listened to, specifically the astronauts understanding that we’re all in this together (that was one of their strongest opinions when viewing earth from space, and also that our paper thin atmosphere looks so fragile!), I had a nice chat with TW over lunch about it all.
In the afternoon, we must have been feeling pretty strong still and in good shape to get into our intended camp at a decent time, and so TW and I took a side excursion up Mount Mm What’d You Say! I believed we were the first humans to ever summit it and so we got to name it. 360 degree views from the peak. We were feeling John Denver rocky mountain high!
After our detour, we continued on our way inspired by our spontaneous climb. Soon I came across some grouse aka Washington chickens…
The days stunning beauty continued throughout the late afternoon/evening hike! We entered into Glacier Peak Wilderness, saw some more marmots, hiked up and around glowing mountain-sides, and even had a random run-in with two hikers from my home town of Grand Rapids. Not only were they from the same town, but happened to have attended Grand Rapids Christian High and Calvin College as I did.
The small world connectedness of the situation continued however…in fact, I discovered, the one lady knew both my parents and even graduated high school with them. Small world indeed! We chatted a bit about all our various connections and then we kept treking. They had already set up camp and were doing a trip around the Glacier Peak area.
For our last stretch, we popped over and down from the green side to this darker, shadowed giant bowl. It was striking and impressive in a much different way…
We found a lovely tenting spot that was up a steep side trail off the PCT a tad. TW and I dined together and once again Cheer and Calzone joined later. It was another very enjoyable evening in eachothers company with the backdrop of Glacier Peak above. We had a bit of story telling time in which I may have explained the plot of the movie Armageddon. Not all my hiker comrades knew of this classic film and it’s memorizing content and thus I felt compelled to tell the tale.
Ted Talks – Inside the black hole image that made history – Sheperd Doeleman
Ted Talks – What’s at the bottom of the Ocean, and how we’re getting there – David Biello
Liturgist Podcast – Pale Blue Dot
Michael Jackson – Michael