Today started off cloudy, cool and humid, with fog on the next ridge over. We were happy, though, that the fog was not on top of us. CareFree and I managed to get hiking before 8 am, heading to Snoqualmie Pass to meet my cousin and head to Aurburn, a suburb of Seattle, to resupply.
After finishing the steep climb yesterday ended with, the trail dropped for the next mile, and then somewhat gently bounced around for the next several miles. The trail was fairly easy (and/or we were pretty excited to get to town), and we hiked almost 6.5 miles in just under two hours, a pretty good pace.
After stopping for a break, we began a climb. Interestingly, pretty much as soon as we started going uphill, it got immediately and noticeably cooler, warming up once we crested that hill and began to head down, towards Yakima Pass. The trail also got a bit more rocky than it had been, slowing our pace a bit.
On our way down to the pass, the trail entered the Cedar River watershed, part of the city of Seattle’s water supply. Even moreso than the Bull Run Watershed, the water supply for Portland, Oregon, there were quite numerous no trespassing signs until we crossed over the pass and began climbing up the next mountain.
Someone not far ahead of us clearly likes making hearts on the ground; we passed another heart made from small stones, and CareFree fixed a few out of place stones so it looked better.
The steep climb up from Yakima Pass brought us to Mirror Lake, on a plateau about two-thirds of the way up the next mountain.
After making it over the ridge, beginning our descent towards Snoqualmie Pass, we got a view of the extremely steep side of the mountain, where trees were growing almost straight out of the side of a cliff. It wouldn’t take much for the rock to fall apart, giving those trees a rather bad day.
Around 12:30, we stopped in the trees near the edge of a meadow for a break, sitting in the sun when we could for warmth. From there, it wasn’t too long before we were able to see I-90, nestled in the mountain valley near Snoqualmie Pass. With the interstate came cell service, and I let my cousin know that CareFree and I should be getting to the pass sometime between 3 and 4.
While dodging in and out of the forest for a bit, and crossing over a short scree field, the interstate and its valley were visible, though did not get any closer for a while, as the trail followed the side of the mountain parallel to the road.
We passed by two small groups of hikers looking for Lodge Lake, a small lake on the ridge just west of the trail. They had apparently missed it, overshooting by three-quarters of a mile. At first, I was unclear how they missed it; it looked reasonably large on my map, though the first guy we met said that he had larger mud puddles in his backyard. As we approached the lake, we passed by the “mud puddle” he must have seen, and then a short distance later, a bit of a thinning in the woods and a trail and sign for the lake.
After passing the lake, the trail climbed up a bit, and then back down, entering the ski area near the pass. As we got closer to the trailhead, there was a sharp increase in the number of day hikers.
A little before 3, at the early end of our estimate, CareFree and I arrived at the trailhead, at the end of a fairly large parking area. The obvious thing to do would be to go to the end of the parking lot, near the road, and wait for my cousin there. However, we didn’t make it very far into the parking lot before we came across a few folding chairs and hikers sitting in the parking lot: trail magic!
Put on by Songbird and his partner 3G, the trail magic had soda, beer, hot dogs, fruit, chips, and more. (Songbird hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2016; I saw him pretty frequently on the trail until somewhere in Virginia.) We hung out there until my cousin arrived with her husband and daughter.
About an hour or so later, we arrived at my cousin’s house. After CareFree and I got showers and a bit of relaxing, the five of us went to an Outback dinner (mmm, steak), and then to REI for gear resupply. I picked up two fuel canisters, which will be more than enough to last through the rest of the trail, and a pair of liner socks to replace another pair that started to get holes in the heels. CareFree got fuel, as well as a new pair of shoes.
Tomorrow: One last food resupply and trip to the post office to mail out food packages.