Beginning Elevation = 5,500
Ending Elevation = 5,400
Elevation Range = 3,700 – 6,300
Weather: Mostly sunny, high of 75°F
Last night, we had talked and all felt like taking our time this morning getting going. Yesterday had been a big day and we were all pretty whipped. So this morning, I enjoyed my coffee and oatmeal with all my stuff set up still and looked out at the view of Glacier Peak. Everyone kind of stuck to themselves a bit, each getting ready for the day in their own way.
TW left first, probably around 7:45am or so. And then Cheer, Calzone, and I took off together at 8:15am. It’s always nice when we don’t have to start out the day with a big climb and today was such an occasion. Down we went through a gnarly forest that took me by surprise. Yesterday’s wide open views had gone and now I’d found myself in a moss covered forest full of downed trees and beautiful cascading mountain streams
I even found the home of the trolls from Frozen…
I’m not exactly sure what time it was, but we had a point late morning where we all gathered for a break. This was a common theme for the day, lots of breaks! When at camp still this morning whilst I drank my coffee we’d collectively agreed to do a bit of a lighter day and only cover around 15 miles or so. The main reason was that for the next 8 miles after reaching 15 miles, the camp sites werent really existing. And we were on track to make it to our next resupply point by Sunday morning already anyway, which is what we’d all eyed as our goal when leaving Stevens Pass.
I left with TW from our break and we made our way down to Kennedy Creek before beginning our major climb for the day.
At some point on the climb, I pulled ahead of the Trojan horse and pushed hard to our lunch spot. It was odd, I had been super tired and not feeling too energized earlier when it was mostly downhill, but on this steep uphill I found my inner power hiker and crushed it. On the way up I got a sweet view from the backside of Glacier Peak, that we’d been wrapping around…
And other super views….
I made it to a great lunch spot at Pumice Creek around 12:50pm. TW showed up soon later and then the girls too. It was a nice long break including some restful nap-like attempts, lots of food, and tea time with TW. Spectacular views out from our rock too.
I was feeling a bit antsy to get going and so left solo 2:30pm. About a half hour into my hike I heard something rustling up ahead on the hillside and very quickly spotted something starkly black in color moving around. Sure enough, there was a black bear hanging out about 25 feet off the trail on the hillside hanging in the blueberry bushes.
I said, “Hey Bear” letting him/her know I was there. The bear didn’t seem to mind one bit. And so I quickly went right by on the trail after one more “Hey Bear”. Success! Once a good ways down the trail, I stopped and texted Cheer using my Garmin GPS to tell her there was a bear near the trial. I felt safe enough to take this video too.
While watching, I saw two more bears far up on the hill side. One was clearly a small cub.
About this same time, I heard another hiker coming along. It seemed that the first bear had made its way down onto the trail itself and so she was waiting for it to move. I heard TW and Calzone get there too. Remaining in earshot, I listened as they made there way past Mr. Bear. Afterwards, having all past safely, we thought it had been a very cool experience. We all four then continued on together, but after a bit TW and I went ahead.
We struggled up the last push to the top. Some more great viewing looking out again though.
And at the top it was absolutely stunning. We ended up staying up there for an hour or so just taking in the view. There was also a couple from Switzerland that TW got to talk some German with (for a while he acted as translator between me and them too).
Eventually Calzone made her way to join us. Unfortunately though, she’d taken a tumble on the trail though, which is why they’d gotten behind us further than we’d thought. This last stretch of trail was one of the worst maintained stretches we’ve experienced in a long time and on one particular section where the trail dipped and was eroding away, she, in her words “ate dirt.” I’ve now been around three hikers who’ve taken spills, Dave H, Snickers, and now Calzone and every one of them was a lot tougher than I would have been. She had a cut and some scrapes on her face, but she seemed in good spirits and happy that nothing more permanent had gone wrong! Cheer had first aided her up like a champ too!
We took a little extra time at the top letting them soak in the views too. And we did a little photo shoot as well …
The way down was just a super stretch of trail with winding switchbacks through a giant mountain bowl.
In no time it seemed, we’d made it to our destination, Mica Lake! Super super pretty. It was a dark blue/aqua-like colored lake with a steep and tall rocky mountain shaping the shore of its far side.
It took us a bit to find places to set up since there were quite a few other hikers staged here for the night as well. In the end, I opted to go for the cowboy camp on the flat rocks bordering the lake. TW was in his tent nearby and Cheer and Calzone were up top on a little ridge. We all had dinner up there at their spot.
Our post-dinner activity involved a celebratory dance experience to commemorate the accomplishment of having now, after reaching Mica Lake, hiked 2,000 miles of the PCT!!! The joy was overflowing from within and we felt the only way to express our emotions was through the art of interpretive dance. We’ve all become big Yanni fans recently thanks to Calzone, and so, without further ado, here it is…
Afterwards, I couldn’t help myself and went for a late night swim before turning in. Nobody else felt any desire to join me seeing as it was quite chilly out. It was just the perfect spot to jump in. The water was so clear I could see it dropped off from my boulder about 15 feet deep or so. And so, I peformed my first dive into one of the lakes on trail! Disney Pocohontas style of course.
I actually dried off pretty quick. It was an amazing experience there inside my sleeping bag, next to the lake, stars coming out up above, and mountains surrounding everywhere!
Avril Lavigne – Let Go
Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water
Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard