If the memory serves any purpose, this summer I wanted to do two sections on PCT: one in CA (originally from Tahoe to Yosemite, flipped due to high snow and river flows to Tahoe to Lassen NF edge, 210 miles) and first half of WA (from Bridge of the Gods to Snoqualmie pass, which during that first hike first transpired into "50 miles North of OR border and up" to "Heck with leaving my husband behind and being in the midst of through-hikers"). But, there were tickets (yay, SouthWest and the change of dates and places!), so I switched mine from PDX to SEA and aligned it with the date Larry was to come and get me - and just like that, we have a mini-vacation in the making!
As the days dragged after my CA hike, I questioned the sanity of the decision. Please, no disrespect to Texas, Texans or anybody who simply loves Austin. This city has nothing for me (for us), and the weather is just killing every cell in my body AND brain! Instead of getting re-energized, I got depressed - and frankly, Larry seemed to have been going through his own spell. We both just dream about mountains day and night...a sorry existence, if you ask me, because there is nothing we can do for another 1 year and 10 months, so we keep snapping each other out of it as good (or not very) as we can.
Anyway, the first couple of weeks I did feel extreme fatigue setting in, whether from the aftermath of the 210 miles with a backpack, or affects of heat and humidity. Slowly, though, some running returned, and the following 2 weeks I was doing runs 5 days a week with 2 Saturdays going for 8 miles each at - get this! - 10:40 and 10:20 average paces! (I don't have a Garmin, so I time the watch, the divide the miles from the mapmyrun.com website). No, no trails. Just the usual, boring local streets. But still, it was a breakthrough that allowed me to start thinking about setting a goal - more on that later.
During that time I also managed to work EVERY DAMN DAY for 4 weeks straight - when my day off finally arrived and I realized how long it has been, I almost died a little. I think it affected me more mentally than physically, although my hand, shoulder and back were at the breaking point as well.
It was 4 days after that silly day off that we were on the earliest plane to Seattle airport. jumping in the car and driving straight to a trailhead. Larry did all the search work, and we picked Mt. Si, a local feature for trail lovers, to conquer.
We stayed in Cle Elum, where the hotel was super-nice, but the town itself sucked big time (ask me how I know next time we meet). We just hoped the next day would be worth it...
And it was! We drove to a PCT trailhead at Snoqualmie pass - the one I was to come out of if I were to hike the WA section, and took it North. The day began at 7:30 am, the temperature and humidity much lower, and YES, CLEAR SKIES! Hallelujah! The climb itself was also more mellow, I believe all together in our 8.5 miles out or so we got may be 3,700 feet total of gain (it rolled in a few places). And there was nobody around us for pretty much the whole way up! The views! The air! The mountains! No wonder people say North Cascades are the most beautiful in PNW, and we weren't even that much North! The combination of craggy peaks of all colors, far-away snowy peaks, including Mt. Rainier, and the lush green with tall trees and dense bushes around, with wild flowers blooming - a pure paradise no words can describe.
Our projected turning point was Joe lake - we reached a saddle in the mountain with a shade and a gorgeous view on it by noon, and spent 30 min just soaking it all in. It was hard to leave.
I gasp (I always get surprised how many thoughts pass in my head on the way to the ground during a fall's short time), scream, and lay for a second. Nothing seems to be broken, I think. I slowly pull myself back up, and check the damage. Nice! Bring in the camera, because if it ain't photo'ed, it didn't happen! We all know that!
The wounds sting - between dirt and sweat, it really does hurt - and I think about crying for a bit, but then again: what's the point? Nobody's here to save me. Gotta hobble down. The knee swells up (it later bruised a lot), the shirt brushes against my side, and the arm - the deepest scratch - sort of hurts as it shakes with the steps. I eventually reach Larry, who's eyes get wide - and he feels so bad for me, I start calming HIM down that I'll be OK. Couples are funny like that!
|Keeping my arm up to not touch the bushes|