Saturday 6th August

Start: Packwood, off mile 2292

End: Two Lakes Bushcamp, off mile 2312

Miles: 20

We had to get out of Packwood.  If I had stayed there I would be obese!  We had gotten into the habit of eating for the sake of eating, and none of it was health food.  So following our last real coffee for a while I grabbed my cardboard sign and was back on the highway trying to hitch a ride.

Who wouldn’t pick up this smiling person?! Lots of people.

It took perhaps 25 minutes, but finally a kind Mexican man named El Salvador picked us up.  He was driving a pickup full of oysters from the coast to Yakima, a town around an hour east.  He knew everything there was to know about oysters!  Luckily for us it was very overcast and cool, so we didn’t have to deal with a fishy smell.  Mount Rainer was no longer visible, shrouded in cloud.

Today I was the optimist (for a change).  I viewed the noticably cooler weather as a good thing – it would be much easier to make the miles.  Conrad, on the other hand seemed to see it as a sign that a bad weather front is coming in!  Doom and gloom.  It just occurred to me that I maybe jinxing the chance of a storm tomorrow by writing this.  I hope not.

Rainer peeping out by mid-afternoon

During the morning hike through a forest dotted with tiny lakes and ponds we kept bumping into horseriders.  It is Saturday, and there is a horse camp near the trailhead.  This meant lots of poop to avoid, and stopping to let them pass.  It sure did look easy sitting up high on the back of a horse.  One lady was drinking a beer (it was 9am), and another smoking away.  What a jolly!  Shame they couldn’t carry out bags for us!

We met a British girl on the trail.  I thought I was the only one!  Alex, from Vauxhall, was hiking south-bound having completed the entire trail north-bound last year.  I guess she must have loved it so much she decided to turn around and do it all again!  It was great to talk to her, I am inspired by all her globe-trotting.  Maybe we should travel some more too 😬

With fellow Brit Alex

Just before we stopped for lunch at Snow Lake we heard through the hiker grapevine that Dan was an hour ahead of us.  That guy is super sneaky!  Turns out we never caught him up all day, as he must have broken 20 miles.  Maybe he has decided to ditch us!  He missed out on a cold pizza lunch, watching bright blue dragonflies over a quiet lake.  I wouldn’t dream of eating cold pizza back home, but out here it is a rubbery-cheese luxury – albeit a very heavy one!

Mmm

I would love to know what my pack weighs today.  It was killing my back.  We have padded and pimped up our food supplies, opening up the dehydrated meals to add all sorts of extra stuff.  Whilst I’m sure this is going to satisfy our appetites better, I would now benefit from a back brace.

Later I crossed my first ford that required the removal of shoes and socks.  Conrad took a very high-risk approach of hopping over an impossible-looking combination of moving logs and stones.  I stood ready with the camera to capture his impeding fall, but unfortunately he made it.  At least I got a bonus foot wash.  The water was freezing, but it helps to reduce foot swelling.  The water in the many lakes and ponds we passed was much warmer.

Tonight we are camped off the trail at Two Lakes.  It is night 8 of camping since entering Washington.  A giant frog just scared me whilst I was taking a flannel wash.  Other than that, everything is so calm.  I can hear crickets and nothing else.  I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow!

Prince Charming?
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