The morning is a drizzly wet. It’s impossible to be dry, but not too difficult to be warm. I hike in shorts, a merino base layer, and my beloved red/grey striped hat. We’re moving slow again. Even though we know that we have to cover more than 22 miles today, we keep breaking and chatting.
It’s after 6pm and the rain has picked up. I fall behind, taking 3D rock pictures and dealing with some pretty serious diarrhea. I’m currently on a small saddle at Deception Pass at 4,479 feet. There’s an exposed tent site in 3 miles on a ridge at 5,796 feet. After that, it’s 4.5 miles to Mig Lake and the next reasonable site. I know that Think, Goose and Cracker will be eating dinner at the ridge and I don’t want to make them wait or hike alone in the rainy dark, so I run the last miles. The wind and rain continue to pick up and it’s a miserable uphill at the end of the day.
When I get to the ridge, my friends are just settling down to eat. It’s cold, windy, and wet. We use as much optimism and humor as we can muster. Along with dinner, it helps. We add some more clothes and hike down the rocky hill together.
I hit a wall. I can’t make our goal. I just don’t have anything left to pull from. I call to Think and Goose and ask them if they would be OK with calling it a night. We’re standing near some flattish space. We can just pull over. They seem slightly relieved. Cracker Jack would continue, but joins us too. There is no real flat space left after they select their tent sites. My tent slants down and to the right. I “terra form” by stuffing clothes underneath my Neoair to create something more level.
Just as we settle in, the rain starts with renewed effort. My stomach grumbles.