Day 127 mile 2359.9 – 2384.9

Elevation: ascent 5,508 ft, descent 6,294 ft

Well we didn’t wake up to Elk walking through the campsite as someone had posted on Guthook. The five of us were all up by 6:30. Double Down and I left camp with Bob at 6:50 and were heading downhill towards our first water, which was in about 5 miles. During this time we got to know Bob a lot better.

Bob, Link and Double Down

We got to the stream around 9:00 and not much longer after that we had a whole lotta hikers congregating at the spur to the stream. There was Double Down and I along with Bob. Then Mantis and Pants showed up along with four other section hikers. The section hikers had a whole lotta questions for us about the trail and how things were going for us. While there we also got Mantis and Pants involved in the ongoing Pop-Tart debate. Neither of them had ever tried a Pop-Tart so we used them to see which flavor, Cherry or Brown Sugar Cinnamon, was better. The results after the taste test, the guys like the Brown Sugar while the girls seem to prefer the Cherry. More testing may have to be done on this 🤣. After drinking our breakfast shakes Double Down and I packed up and headed up the trail.

The Breakfast Club
Pop-Tart taste contest

Most of today we spent hiking in a whole lotta dense forests. We had stretches with amazing mosses, ferns, and fungi. We even ran across some new species of fungi along the way. This morning also resulted in us finding two tiny wild strawberries. They may not look like much but they packed in a whole lotta flavor!!

Dyer’s Polypore
Admirable Bolete (right)
Wild strawberries

The dense forests would give way to open areas, exposing us to the warm weather that Washington is experiencing right now. This resulted in a whole lotta sweating on my part. There was even the largest anthill that we have ever seen!

Double Down collecting water

We are finding that the trail here in Washington is quite different than Oregon. The elevation changes are drastic here. The climbs are steep and the descents are just as steep. It definitely rivals the elevation we had in the Sierra. There aren’t a whole lotta switchbacks so the climbs just go straight up hill. The lengths are short thank goodness!! From what we see on the trail app and from what we are hearing the elevation changes will be about the same the rest of the way. This will definitely test our trail legs as we finish off the last 268.2 miles of this trail.

The trail this afternoon had many more reliable water sources than we had been getting over the past week. With the increased water around we also saw a whole lotta frogs just hanging out in the trail. We had to be careful walking so we didn’t accidentally step on any. There was even a cool little waterfall that we came across.

Double Down and I got our heart rates up today and it had nothing to do with us hiking. While cruising along the trail we both heard a very loud cracking coming from the sky above and behind us. It sounded like fireworks going off in the sky. This was followed by an extremely loud crash as a large tree must have fallen in the forest not too far behind us. This is a bit unnerving as you really don’t get much warning. Also, both Double Down and I are aware of a hiker who tragically died here in Washington in 2019 while hiking the PCT, when a tree fell and landed on him while hiking. The odds of this happening are slim but when you hear a tree crash close by it will get your attention.

The last 2 1/2 miles consisted of the steepest climbs we had all day. We had almost 1,500 feet in that span, resulting in a 660 ft/mile grade in some sections, and causing a whole lotta sweating again. There was an option to stop at Twilight Lake but it was super marshy so we kept trudging on. We reached Mirror Lake at 6:20 completing our 25 mile day. The lake here is beautiful and felt great to clean up in. While setting up our camp we even heard a screech of an Osprey which then dove down to the lake, grasping a fish near the surface. How cool is that to see!!

Twilight Lake
Mirror Lake

Tonight is warm so we weren’t rushing to get under our quilt. Around 8:30 Mantis and Pants, along with Bob, showed up. So the five of us will be camping together again. Tomorrow we all will head into Snoqualmie. Bob is heading home to Seattle while our hiking family of four will stay in town for our last official zero on trail.

Thanks for all of your support!! Link.