Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yoo 618 - Stevens to Snoqualmie, Part 3

To the grand finale of this adventure! And it was a grand finale. Personal opinion: southbound saved the best for last on this section of trail. Each day was better than the day before and it's a fine way to live life.

We went thru our normal evening routine. Greg grabbed the food bags and started dinner while I set up camp and changed into my warm clothes. There were still sun rays beaming down so we set out the hiking clothes and shoes to continue drying. Blisters were taped up and a good branch to hang the bear bag was spotted.

A back country casserole with stuffing and salmon and craisins and gravy was consumed. The original plan was to pair the stuffing with chicken but Greg missed that memo and used the last pouch of chicken with the couscous the night before. Still tasty and no complaints.

The bear bag went up without too many swear words and we nestled into our own rock perches and watched the sky change.

I miss it so much right now.

The next morning was our slowest. I felt like we were at the climax of our trip and everything following would be centered on finishing and "just getting home". And I wasn't ready! I had to enjoy our paradise home while it lasted.

We had a deer buddy.

And an amazing breakfast perch.

We sat here people-watching the campers at the lake below and marveling at the predatory birds catching fish. 

Finally packing up...

Then the hiking began.

I love Greg and his solitary trekking pole tackling the rocks.

We hiked up and over the saddle of one mountain to start traversing along a rocky ridge line for the rest of the day, though we didn't know it at the time. Around we wandered and when we set up camp I could still see where we had started, as well as our final destination, Snoqualmie Pass.

The ridge line involved a lot of rocks. But I saw a mountain goat!! And also heard a rock slide above us. That quickened our pace a little...

We just snacked on a brownie!

Cell service? Cell Service! I wasn't that excited about intermittent service towards the trip end but we did need to let our families know that we were alive and would be staying an extra night. It took some searching but we got a couple texts thru. I accidentally let one work text slip in but I shut my phone off as quickly as I could...

Lalalalala I can' hear you! Ignorance is bliss!

Most of the day passed and we hadn't come across any water. This was unexpected as we had crossed a stream at least every 5 minutes in days prior. We filled up our reserves here just in case but the taste was awful so it became emergency use only.

Afternoon thunderstorms rolling in. More lightning in the distance. Greg's right quad was really giving him problems and our pace was all but a crawl. We made the decision to set up camp not long after.

According to my map calculations we'd gone 6 miles with 1900 feet of up and 2100 feet of down and over a million small boulders.


That seems so weak sauce now. I had to have miscalculated where we actually set up camp the night before...

Our last evening consisted of...DRUM ROLL....dinner and sleeping pad inflation and sitting around on rocks watching the sun set.

This is so exciting.


And if I didn't have a dog then I would quit my job and go back and stay forever. But, you know, the dog's got to eat sooooooooo I'm back.

There was a baby marmot crawling around that had Greg suspicious. "They can attack!"

We actually set our alarm and got up by 6 the next morning to begin our trek out. Eight miles left with only 800 feet of climbing and 3,100 feet of descending. I was so sad to see it all go but the rising sun cast the most golden of light across the landscape and we had a breathtaking view of those rocky ridges for a solid hour before we hit the shady treeline again.

Plus I found snow!

Greg was IN PAIN and popped a couple Excedrin. They were his best friend the last few hiking days.

And MOUNT RAINIER in the distance. It was all so bittersweet.

The last few miles were just trees and it was really depressing when we crossed over the final saddle and heard what sounded like a distant waterfall but was actually a distant I-90. It grew louder and louder and we kept thinking we were close but then we were still hiking 40 minutes later so it was all very deceiving.

But we finally made it!

As we were walking along the highway looking for the gas station where Greg's brother was waiting to pick us up, I kept imagining we were thru-hikers looking for a place to resupply before finding the next trail head.

It'd be pretty rad if Greg and I can make that happen together someday. Even if we're OLD.

And then I was gluttonous. Meet my post-hike burger. I went a little overboard...it had a huge slice of ham and two slices of bacon on it. Ordered from XXX Rootbeer Drive-In. Greg's brother did not disappoint when he said he knew where to go for a burger.

I would probably be down 15 pounds from the trip without it, but alas I am only down 5 pounds.

No regrets!

So that's that. That's where I'll be in my daydreams until my adventurous soul can wrangle more time off. OR RETIRE EARLY. Retiring early would be a lot easier if someone would just accidentally deposit 2 million dollars into my account and not notice it's missing.

Don't roll your eyes. Accidents happen.

Have a great day :-)

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