Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 156

​Day- 156

Date- 9/18/16

Location- dirt road crossing

Elevation- 3688

Distance Traveled Today- 20.6

Distance Traveled Total-  2372.3

Weather/Temp- overcast, 50s

Injuries- none

Pain level- low

Spirits/Morale- rejuvenated

Days without shower- 4

Hunger/craving- pizza


I don’t think we started hiking until almost 9 this morning. The rain was heavy all night, and the fog thick.  All of my gear and sleeping bag was damp as a result.  Luckily,  it wasn’t raining come morning, and there were slivers of blue and sunlight shining through the clouds here and there.

We started out with a slow pace, and every time we came to a clearing with a good patch of sun,  I’d stop and lay everything out to dry for a bit; that was the priority,  knowing that we were eventually in for some more weather.

The day dragged on like this until mid afternoon when we had our first exciting animal encounter. We were digging into a long climb, and there was a steep embankment on our right when I heard and felt that familiar sound of disturbed vegetation and heavy hoof steps.  I looked up on time to see several elk bolting away up the mountain.  Then I glanced to see what katana was doing;  bolting up and down the trail,  super alert,  trying to see what was making all the commotion up above her.  I started calling her to “stop,” but she was too wound up.  The temptation was too much, she took off straight up the embankment,  deaf to commands.  The second she disappeared over the crest,  I shrugged out of my pack and took off sprinting up after her.  By the time I reached the crest of the incline where it leveled out a little more,  I couldn’t see her. A wave of panic washed over me as I gave another loud,  angry command for her to come back.  Within 10 seconds,  I could hear her running back, after another 5 seconds, I could see her leaping over dead logs and pushing through the vegetation,  shit eating grin on her face,  tongue out.  “Get over here!” I yelled forcefully,  but more relieved.  She looked at me and knew she was in trouble.  Instead of coming straight back to me and receiving my wrath right away,  she stayed just out of reach and quickly pranced back down the steeper embankment to where my backpack laid, then waited for me to slip and slide my way down to her.  It was leash probation until further notice.

Riding high off the adrenaline of what I might deem a “close call,” our slow pace kicked up a few notches.  It was almost 2 hours later, and I’d already tired of having her on the leash and released her again. We were coming across the top of another climb when once again I heard the sound of large animals fleeing through undergrowth.  Katana again perked up and began to give chase,  but this time when I sharply yelled “STOP!” She froze on the spot.  Funny enough,  the elk also seemed to freeze on the spot, as the noise of their movement abruptly stopped.  I quickly scooped up katana, pulled out my phone and began to maneuver to get a better look at the elk.  It ended up being a mother and her offspring,  and I was able to get a short and slightly obscure video of them looking at me shortly before sauntering off. Another exciting animal encounter,  and as a bonus I got to catch it on film.

We didn’t get rained on at all today,  but tomorrow’s forecast is looking damp.  We’re camped out at a little trail magic gathering at a dirt road now.  It’s 18 miles to reach Snoqualmie  Pass, luckily it’s right on trail, no hitching required.  I plan to get there as quick as possible.

Go to Day 157.

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