26.1 miles (Miles 2334.1 – 2360.2)
Sheep Lake – Spring at PCT Mile 2360.2
Ever since I wrote about my favorite town things, just a couple of days ago, I’ve been thinking what I might list as my top five favorite things about the trail. I spend more time out here, so it seemed to make sense to think about. It’s really tough to pick just five, but I came up with these:
#1. Hiking. Duh, right!? If I didn’t absolutely love to hike I’d be in trouble trying to complete a thru hike! I could break this down into a million pieces on its own and why it’s my favorite, but in an effort to keep things simple, I’m just going with it.
#2. The scenery – the views. The big, open, expansive views… the small, tiny, macro views… and pretty much everything in between. I think that covers it!
#3. The PCT community. The people on this trail really make it a unique, wonderful experience. You can expect to see mountains and flowers, but you won’t know what amazing personalities you’re going to end up mingling with. It becomes sort of a family out here.
#4. Accomplishment. I’m not referring to the big picture of completing a thru hike… yet. I’m talking about the accomplishments every day. Getting to the top of a big climb, or hiking a long distance for the day, for example.
#5. Breaks and camp. Taking breaks is fun, and you get to sit, relax and eat. Getting to camp is similar. Especially if you get to camp tired. It’s such a great feeling to lay back and put your feet up, knowing you’ve worked hard for it.
Close runners up are wildlife sightings, trail magic, springs, lakes and streams, swimming and abundant sunshine. I could make this list a mile long, so I’m going to stop before I get too carried away.
As for today, I did better with my oatmeal, but it felt like a test of strength toward the end to finish it up. I also burped a few times the first hour of hiking, and tasting it again wasn’t so pleasant.
Mt. Rainier keeps peeking over mountains at us. It’s fun to predict when we’ll see it, depending on where we are. I got it right a couple of times today. I’d think, “okay, just over this ridge I should see the tippy top…” and sure enough, there it would be!
We saw a whole bunch of mountain goats today, which was such a treat! They were up a huge, rocky hillside layered with different levels of meadow. Tears, Max Slack and I stood and watched them navigate the rocky slope back and forth for a while. They make it look so easy! My photos came out kind of blurry because I had to zoom in so much.
Later this afternoon we hiked through some beautiful forest. I was completely distracted by every single mushroom again, and I took a bunch of photos. I just really enjoy how they are all so different and colorful! A couple reminded me of pancakes. Mmmm, pancakes.
One more for now…
Just before getting to camp there was an old burn area. The trees were stripped of all their old bark and stood tall and white against the afternoon blue sky. In between was a rainbow of color from all the foliage, mostly the reds, yellows and greens of huckleberry and blueberry bushes. It was beautiful and delicious scenery!
When I got to camp, Haggis, Running Commentary, and Tears had a cowboy camp set up. There wasn’t enough room for all of our tents, so we’re all on groundcloths in the open… it’s a cowboy slumber party! Alphabet Soup, Kudu and I believe Verde are down by the spring. Boo Boo Kitty, Giddyup and Wokka Wokka also made it here, and we are all tucked into this sight nice and cozy.
It was a great day, again. I’m full of plump, sweet and yummy huckleberries, I had some spectacular wide-open views, some great forest with loads of fun mushrooms, and now I’m laying under the stars… in Washington… and it’s not raining. Life is good.
Tonight I love the rhythmic sound of my footsteps on the trail. That has to be one of the best sounds in the world.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!