Monday, September 6, 2010

500 Mile Countdown

Day 146-September 6th
Destination: Wenatche Pass
Miles: 16.5
Cumulative Miles: 2169

"There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear."
--Some Pompous Rich Outdoorsman

I don't generally write our blogs in the first person, but I think I will do so for this one, because it will be a lot of my emotions. I cannot fully speak for Apricots' emotions.

It is exciting to know that we are 500 miles from the end of this long journey. Sadly though, fall is here in the Northwest, and there is no denying it. We have had several bouts with rain, and it's not letting up. This morning we debated on whether to hit the trail or not, but we felt we should despite the bad forecast. If we waited around for good weather, we would be waiting until next August.

It is important for us to finish Washington quickly, so we can get back to the Sierras before fall sets in down there. As it stands, we are already behind our desired schedule by several days, maybe even a week or more. As such, despite our anxiety, and the weather forecast, we chose to hit the trail.

I was okay with this decision at first. I am no longer okay with it, probably because I am miserable. The first half of the hike was cold and misty, but not bad. We were moving, so we were warm. All our gear was still dry. This changed.

The further we got from Steven's Pass, the worse the weather got. We are now in a tent, and the rain is pounding heavily on the tent. Some of the seams are leaking, so we're getting the occasional droplet getting in on us. My temperament was positive pretty much all day, but that changed once we slid into our tent, and I discovered that my "dry clothes", which are strictly for sleeping in, had become damp.

I have a little extra clothes that was dry, so I am not entirely miserable. This rain, however, is supposed to last for three days. The trail is a slick mud already, and I slipped once today, catching myself on a high embankment. It's only going to get worse.

I find myself walking down the trail, asking myself "Why am I out here?"

I chose to do the hike for several reasons. First, for the enjoyment of it. Second, for the scenery. Third, for the challenge of it. I have come to realize that this rain takes away all the joy, and makes it impossible to see the scenery. It is a serious challenge, but I would be lying if I said that I came out on the victory side of all the challenges I have faced.

Tomorrow morning, I want to hike the 16.5 miles back to Steven's Pass. From there, I wish to get our way down to the Sierras, and knock those off before fall and winter sets in down there. We would miss about 175 miles of washington, making it an incomplete thru-hike. We would have to come back next year to finish these miles, but it would give us a "Monument 78" (Canadian Border) finish to our hike, rather than some strange unmarked middle point.

I have to reconcile these wants with Apricots, my love and hiking partner. She tends to be in higher spirits than least while in the tent.

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  1. Geez. Not sure what to say here. You sound miserable. I have looked at the weather forecast for Steven's and North Cascades. It does look like there will be little let up in the rain. I really don't know what to say here. I would just say practice caution and good common sense. God Speed...and blessings of safety. xo mum

  2. Ross Lake recreational area and North Cascades, and Mt. Baker...rain except for Thursday. Lake Chelan or Chelan dries out after tomorrow and is dry thru Tuesday of the following week. Don't know if this helps, just thought I'd send it along in case you have access to Internet and can see it. Take safe.