Destination: Delate Creek
Cumulative Miles: 2097.5
"In all, this section will challenge your legs, lift your spirits, and probably confirm your reasons for backpacking"
--Wilderness Press PCT Guidebook
Our legs were challenged, our spirits are renewed, and undoubtedly today was easily in the top five of the entire trail. The hike started with a relatively arduous 3000 foot ascent, starting first in fir and hemlock, before reaching the higher unforested ridges. The descent was equally difficult, almost a mirror image of the climb, but the views were ever changing.
As we made our climb, we had stunning views of Snoqualmie Mountain and Red Mountain. It wasn't too long before we could look south to Mt. Rainier, and north to Glacier Peak. Exiting the forest, we began a long on-again-off-again crossing of talus. The views opened up, the Hemlocks became smaller, and vast valleys swept away under the steep slopes we trod across.
Looking up we saw craggy peaks of many shades and colors, matching the talus we walked across. Looking down we saw fir filled valleys, filled with shrubs starting their autumnal color changing. At times the hillside was so steep, we actually walked on a trail blasted into the cliff face. Hiking along the flank of Alaska Mountain, we could peer down into the blue green depths of Alaska lake, its perimeter highlighted by rock slides scattering into its crystal depths.
Taking a tight chute down the mountains in the evening, we made at least 40 tight switchbacks before reaching a beautiful waterfall at Delate Creek. We are camped at a tiny campsite just before the waterfall, and will have the pleasing sound of the cascading river to lull us to sleep.
Our camp is being visited by a small mouse, or perhaps it is a Pika. Hopefully the critter doesn't chew its way into our tent. On a side note, Psycho's spider bite from two days ago has caused his leg to swell a bit. It looks as though he is trying to grow a softball just above his sock line. If we see any other hikers, we're going to see if they have anything that could help, because he notices a subtle pain with every step.
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