Wednesday 10th August
Start: Bushcamp at Keechelus Lake
End: Snoqualmie Pass, off mile 2390.7
We woke up to a dry tent! A good start to the day. It was noticably warmer at this elevation, despite a lot of cloud cover. Packing up camp felt far less painful than previous days.
Keechelus Lake was not really what I had expected. It looks like a man-made reservoir, fed by some natural creeks, but flanking Interstate 90, which we could clearly hear just 3 miles away. Not exactly scenic. But who cares, we were so close to our next resupply point!
For most of the 9 miles we followed The Iron Horse Trail, which was once the Milwaukee Road railway line connecting Chicago to the Pacific. The Washington section was converted into a State Park after the company went bankrupt in the 1980s. Not much remains of the railway itself in this section. The path was gravel, but looking closely I could make out the odd rusted remnant of steelwork, and if we had continued we would have come to a dark 2-mile tunnel which runs under Snoqualmie.
I was so happy to arrive at the pass. It always feels strange in ski resorts out of season. We had walked past a couple of seemingly abandoned lift areas on the approach. Such large parking lots, without a single car. I bet this place will be buzzing in a couple of months. Snoqualmie Pass showed more signs of life. It seems to be a popular truck stop, and general drive-through rest area.
Heading straight to the sole hotel – The Summit Inn, we found Dan in the adjoining Pancake House. Yes we had eaten our oatmeal today, but it was still technically breakfast time at 10:30, so we ordered seconds! The eggs and pancakes were bliss. We chatted away with Dan, debriefing on this last section. Thanks to his early start out of Packwood, and a massive first day, we didn’t see him for the entire time. At noon we were allowed to check into our room.
Following a browse around the small local grocery store, which was disappointing, we took a nap. Next stop was a snack at the Aardvark food truck popular with other hikers, where we sat outside feeling groggy and joining in with the typical trail conversations. Not long after we enjoyed dinner at the bar in The Commonwealth, a restaurant attached to Dru Bru microbrewery. As we closed the place and was chatty with our fellow patrons, the bartender gave me her last cookie! What a triumphant end to the day!