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Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, France!

Day 32 7/14
Mileage 23

Today, we ran the gauntlet of Washington's extremes. Boiling hot, mosquitoes, wet, dry, sandy, snowy, you name it, we hiked it. The rain had mercifully abated by the time we awoke this morning. The mosquitoes didn't. In fact, they got worse. I hiked fast, music on, headnet on, basically without stopping from 8-1:30, hiking 13.5 miles in that time. By then, I was tired, as my blood supply had probably diminished significantly. I set up my tent, ate all my skittles off my stomach, lying on my back. The siesta was enjoyable and I dozed as I waited for Peter and Kyle. I met Eleanor this morning, a woman in her late 60s or maybe early 70s, who's also hiking to Cascade Locks. She's going solo. I hiked with her for a bit, then continued on. We stopped again at Lava Spring, supposedly the best water on the PCT. It's a stream of cold, cold water coming straight out of a big pile of lava rocks. We saw a little Pica scooting around the spring as we washed our socks. Cute little guy. It felt wonderful to drink straight from the ground. Primal or whatever. We decided to continue another 8 miles to the Lewis River, near Mt. Adams. Adams got HUGE today! Even yesterday it looked so distant, but we're right up on its slopes now. We stopped and made dinner and met Steve, a nice section hiker from LA who's going north. Navigating on the snow was tricky, but we made it to the trail eventually. We were treated to a wonderful sunset, with Mt. Rainier's silhouette flanking us on our right, and Mt. Adams on the left, bright pink and glowing. We soon found ourselves confronted with a rushing torrent of snowmelt from the Mt. Adams glacier. It had been hot all day and the snow was melting fast. It was after 10pm by this point and the river was raging. We looked for a reasonable crossing, but we were unsuccessful and ended up just wading across. We finally made it to Lewis River only to find the campsite totally covered in snow and invisible. We're in a pretty flat spot now, sorta. My tent is half on snow and half on dirt, but I don't care because I am so profoundly exhausted. Today was a huge day. A real thru-hike kind of day! It's encouraging to know we can do this kind of mileage when we set our minds to it, even with a few leisurely breaks. I feel accomplished. Tomorrow may be our last day on snow! We have about five more miles up high, then we drop down again until mid-Oregon. Can't say I'm sad to leave the snow behind. We're going to sleep in and hike late tomorrow to miss the morning mosquitoes. Should be sweet. Good day.

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