tiffany's pct journal

Washington Section I: Interstate 90 (Snoqualmie Pass) to Highway 12 (White Pass).

Days: 19 - 23.
Dates: July 22 - 26.
Trail mileage: 259.5 - 357.7.
Distance: 98.2 miles.

You'd think thru-hikers would be eager to start walking. I'd actually say thru-hikers are some of the laziest people when we're in town. I was "ready" to leave Snoqualmie Pass around 8:00 AM, judging by the timestamps on my photos. Didn't actually leave until noon, and there really isn't anything to do around Snoqualmie Pass. We're really good at finding reasons to postpone starting the day. (Most of these reasons usually revolve around town food.)

super clear pond
The days were getting warmer, but water wasn't a problem at all

The first night out of Snoqualmie Pass was one of the days our group got split up, and it might have been a good thing. When Oli and I reached the campsite around the same time that night, we realized the site we had all agreed to meet up at was hilariously tiny. We spent several minutes standing there, trying to figure out the best way to get all 5 of our tents into this ridiculously-sized site.

A little while later, Tyce showed up, and we were able to get all 3 of our tents in there, although we sort of had to commit to not leaving in the middle of the night to pee because we'd trip all over each others' guylines or stakes. We waited until it got dark for TL and Yahtzee to show up, but they never did. Again, not sure that was a bad thing that night because even looking at the photos now long after the fact, I'm not sure how we'd fit their tents into this spot.

tiny campsite
Getting really cuddly and cozy at this tiny campsite

We had a couple of firsts in this section. We started getting cell service on the trail for the first time. It was actually kind of overwhelming after basically being in the middle of nowhere for a couple weeks. Oh, and Oli had Nutella from the jar with a spoon for the first time.

trail in the burn area
Trail in the burn area

One of the sections we walked through was the Falls Creek burn area. According to an informational sign, a fire in 1988 destroyed over 3000 acres of forest. It was a really interesting part of the trail to walk through after all of the rocky passes and lush forest of the northern half of Washington, since all the trees were burned down but there was new growth coming in.

informational sign about the Falls Creek Fire
Informational sign about the Falls Creek Fire

We had more mornings of heavy condensation and dew, so I was spending lunch drying all of my stuff out. The days were warm and sunny, which helped. On one of these days, I made it to the Mike Urich cabin for lunch, and there were many other hikers sitting outside in the meadow next to it airing their stuff out as well. It's always a lot of fun to sit around with hikers every so often, especially since I spent so much time in my own head while actually hiking.

Mike Urich Cabin
Mike Urich Cabin

We passed through more sections that had been burned down, and as we continued on, there was more and more lupine everywhere, which made for some very pretty scenery.

trail surrounded by lupine and burned trees
All the lupine was a nice change in scenery

This is where we started encountering the worst mosquitoes. I hate mosquitoes. When I got to Snoqualmie Pass, I went online and ordered this stylish piece of incredibly practical outdoor gear, preparing for the onslaught coming around White Pass. We had heard stories, and they were bad.

Mount St. Helens in the distance
Imagine Mount St. Helens like 26000x bigger than it looks here and that's how big it actually looked to me

I did my first 25-mile day here! And we started getting glimpses of Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens, both of which I had previously stood at the summit of (well, for St. Helens, the crater rim). And Rainier was getting closer, too.

view of Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier, just getting bigger by the mile

When we got to White Pass, we all decided to split a room at the Inn next to the Kracker Barrel, and really relax. We hitched out to Packwood to get some groceries at the real grocery store thereso we could use the real kitchen we had in the room. We had to get 2 separate hitches because the first car couldn't fit all of us, and the hitch that gave Oli and me a ride took us to their home right next to the grocery store and gave us some freshly-laid eggs from their own chickens. They were delicious!

My partner decided to drive over since I was able to reach White Pass on a weekend, and it's only a few hours drive from Seattle, so he stayed with us at the Inn. It was so nice to just chill for almost an entire day.

trailhead information at White Pass
Trailhead bulletin at White Pass

We spent most of the following day hanging out with other hikers around the Kracker Barrel. I spoke to one hiker who was currently hiking SOBO, although she had been jumping around the trail since February. She said she was getting off trail at Cascade Locks because she had run out of money, even though she hadn't gotten to a lot of the trail yet. It was interesting to talk to someone whose hike was so severely affected by the snow in the Sierra, and it made me grateful that I had the flexibility in my plans to switch from a NOBO hike to a SOBO hike so I could avoid the snow.

I spoke to another hiker, Mavrik, who would eventually end up giving me a lot of great advice about the Arizona Trail in early 2020 (but COVID-19 ended up interfering with that thru-hike attempt). And we ran into Dan/Legs again from the border tag, which was great because we were able to properly thank him for saving my partners's hike, since we didn't get to see him after the border tag to say thanks again.

We didn't leave White Pass until around 4:00 PM, which at that point was kind of becoming par for the course on town days.

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