Mile 2390.5 Snowqualmie Pass to Mile 2650 The U.S./Canada border…Part 1

Caught in a constant downpour of rain I was soaked to the bone, morally beaten down and in turn, so very uplifted. After spending one night in a room at Snowqualmie Pass, I was back on the trail, in the rain and loving it! If you can embrace it, the rain has a way of pushing you forwards. So embrace I did and the time breezed by. The miles were often obscured by clouds. On mountain tops with no bearings for what was up or what was down, nothing was visible except but a few feet of trail that surfaced in the mist.   When a break in the clouds happened it was the most beautiful thing my eyes had ever seen, every time. Jagged peaks, glaciers, waterfalls and rainbows would peek out without notice and demand my attention. And the sun, oh for its brief warmth between passing clouds.I had no choice but to stop and let it shine on me if only for a second. Greatest…thing…ever!   With my embrace of the rain also came the most amazing thing about rain…it stops! And it was the the stopping of the rain that made me deeply appreciate every day of fair weather. Anything was possible with the sun now shining. Everything was awesome no matter how hard the days trek was, just seeing the blue sky and feeling the warmth of the sun had me floating along towards Canada. I felt like I had been granted passage through this amazing land scape of the North Cascades so I could not disappoint. I would accept this gift of stellar weather and use it to finish this trail! Upon hiking in to Stevens Pass Ski area I quickly took over a sunny deck, dried out my gear and enjoyed some ice cream…I was so tired from the last 3 day stretch of rain. An hour after I hiked in I was ready to get back on trail. I briefly looked over my food for the next 4 days and decided I could make it by on mostly candy bars I’d bought at the ski shop. This would prove to be costly mistake that would test me in away that I had yet experienced. My determination to hastily get back on the trail caused me to overlook the extreme elevation gains and rough terrain that lay ahead. But in my fatigue I headed back to trail. I somehow ran into part of my hiker family whom I hadn’t seen since Portland and off we went… Within one day I would be too weak to keep up. On my first night I truly realized that I had made a dangerous mistake by not properly resupplying my food…and then…I panicked. Since the sky was clear it was now below freezing at night. Without calories to burn my body could not keep its self warm. So, I just laid there shivering. Since I couldn’t sleep I decided to look at my food and the mileage ahead and to come up with a game plan. The plan I formulated for the next 3 days was 1. Get up now and hike to keep warm 2. Keep hiking through the fatigue and get the miles done asap! I know, what a weak plan! Regardless, I packed up camp in the darkness and with numb fingers and toes I started hiking. It was so cold! So dark! So icy! These moutains were burly.  My tummy constantly grumbled at me. I talked to it a lot and told it too eat the reserve I had gained for this trail. I felt my old reliable belly fat and discovered that nothing was there anymore! There was no happiness in the realization that I was skinny. I instead realized that I was truly experiencing hunger and all of its desperation for the first time in my life. Even my dear friend of a shadow looked skinny…  My fuel was on low and I expected my body to perform on high…it would be a mental game for me and I refused to lose it. I made  my self smile. I thought “Remember, anything is possible with blue skies ahead”. And hey, I’d just hiked 2500 miles, I’d be fine!  So up and down mountains I went; alone, quickly and quietly. Some climbs were rather intimidating with crazy elevation gains and seriously daunting looking switchbacks…

 But I’d meet great people (and the most awesome thru hiking dog ever) and when hiking with them the time would fly. I would feel less hungry and more happy…     And after 3 days I was gaining on my last resupply stop on the trail, Stehekin, Washington. Almost everyone was hungry and worn thin at this point. We all day dreamed of a fairytale like bakery filled with all the baked goods one could ever desire that lay nestled in the middle of no where. If you just kept walking you would eventually reach a far off dirt road and a shuttle would come and sweep you away to this place. So we walked and waited…   And I’m still not exactly sure but I think it actually really happened…     I had made it through 108 miles of the most remote, rough terrain that I had seen yet. After, 27,000 feet of elevation gain and 30,000 feet of elevation loss in 3 and 1/2 days all while eating less than 800 calories a day…I…was…ready…to…eat! Here’s to remembering those special moments and to remembering that every bite of food I have is a true blessing…



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