August 30, 2017: Hiked Miles 2312.1 to 2321.3 and 2346.1 to 2349.2 (12.3 total)
Last night was the best sleep I have had in a long time. I woke up before 6:00 to a barely lit sky and was wide awake.
We ate breakfast and packed up and were hiking early to a nice, cool morning. We climbed a little ways up a hill and were greeted with a gorgeous view of Mt. Rainer.
Finally! After only being able to see the top of the mountain for days due to the smoke, it was so nice to finally get a good view. The morning sun was hitting it just perfectly and it looked so majestic.
We hiked on a little further and got even closer to the mountain.
We hiked down to Dewey Lakes, which looked like it would be a perfect place to spend a day or a weekend.
And then we started a steep climb and could look back on Dewey Lakes from above which was glistening with sun crystals on the water.
We passed by four southbounders who stopped us to ask if we had heard the news. Oh no, I groaned, and they told us the bad news: the trail was closed ahead due to another fire that had actually jumped the trail. We just can’t catch a break.
We hiked down another mile or two to the highway at Chinook Pass which was where the trail closure started. The highway was also closed from here forward. You could see the fire a little better from here.
There were already about ten other hikers there who told us that a guy was coming at noon to start shuttling us ahead of the fire closure, about 20 miles up the trail. And while we waited, there was a plethora of trail magic to snack on.
Not the worst place to wait for a ride. I guess the fire closure had went into effect yesterday afternoon and actually started at White Pass which is where we took off from yesterday. I guess we made it onto the trail right before the closure went into effect.
Around noon, Derek, the trail angel who had left all the food showed up and told us that there was another trail angel who was going to be showing up soon to start shuttling us off the mountain. In the meantime, he busted out some hot dogs and his grill and Colton helped him grill up some dogs for everyone.
They slowly started shuttling us down to the small town of Greenwater. When it was our turn to get a ride down, we got a ride from a nice lady named Leslie who works at REI. She dropped us off in town right as the rest of the crew who had got rides down earlier were loading up in the local fire chief’s truck. We somehow managed to squeeze 12 hikers into his cab and bed along with all our packs. I had to sit with my head out the window just to make room.
He drove us way up some backroads into the hills and dropped us off at the other side of the closure. We are so thankful for all the people that helped us out today to get us where we needed to go. It would have been a long walk otherwise. From where we got dropped off, we had an even better view of the fire and it didn’t look like something that would have been fun to walk through.
So our huge group set off and hiked a few more miles together. It was so fun to have a big group of people together, people we have met off and on throughout the whole trail. We got to a stream around 6:00 and decided to call it a night since the next water wasn’t for another 12 miles and it didn’t look like there were too many places to camp in between.
It was already cooling off quickly so we set up our tent and put all our warm clothes on. We cooked dinner without it getting dark halfway through for once and were in our tent by 7:30.
One thing I really love about hiking the PCT is how it forces you to be adaptable. You can get angry on days like today when you get kicked off the trail and your plans get messed up or you can embrace the chance to get to hang out with other hikers and meet trail angels and roll with the punches. And eat hot dogs. Hot dogs always make things better.