Gizmo, Dirtnap, Cracker Jack and I wake up and hike the few remaining miles into Snoqualmie Pass. We head straight for the sign that says “pancake house.” They seat us far away from the “normal” people and we commence to breakfast feast. Gizmo’s friend joins us and picks up the tab. Thank you! My body makes instant use of the calories. I could easily eat another “1-90 special” but am sidetracked by greeting Smokey, Tin Tin, and Biscuit. Biscuit has a room she wants to share with me and Cracker Jack. We join her and explode our packs, shower, do laundry, and try hard to find a steadily working internet connection. I find Cracker Jack sitting in various spots: in the hallway, in the lobby and in odd places in the room. Oh, blogging. We spend the rest of the evening reading old issues of Backpacker Magazine and watching Sandra Bullock movies.
The next afternoon, we hike out with Goosebumps and Think Fast. We decide to take the alternate route that bypasses 10 miles of the PCT and brings us to a hot spring. It’s the weekend and the trail is packed with day hikers. We dodge them as we gain elevation up a rock-filled trail. We thought we would make it to the springs by 6pm, but its 8pm when we arrive. We set up camp and hike the short distance to the springs. They are marvelous! Cracker Jack brings candles and we float them in the hottest pool, which is located in a small cave. The steam veils and diffuses the light. The cave adds reverb to our voices. We move among the different temperature pools and, after a short time, I’m very relaxed and sleepy. I head back to our camp site, eat a quick dinner, and crawl into bed.
The next day, we hike and hike and hike, but somehow only make 4 miles by 2pm. How is that even possible?! We meet up with Pepa and Todd, a section hiker. They are experiencing a similar time warp. We try hiking more, but only come up with 15 miles by the end of the day. Pepa makes us feel better by suggesting we think of it as a nearo. As a nearo it’s pretty darn good.
After dinner, Goosebumps, Think Fast, Cracker Jack, and I hike 2 more miles by head lamp and cram into a tiny tent site already occupied by Jim, a hiker who completed the PCT in the 80’s. As we set up our tents, he entertains us with stories from his past thru hike and the differences between now and then – no LED lights, heavy equipment, very few other thru hikers on trail, etc.