Location- Side of trail
Elevation- 4,780 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 22.5 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 2484.2 miles
Weather/Temp- clear 80s 70s
Injuries- sore feet
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 2
Hunger/craving- food from home
Our fortunes were good this morning, as well as my timing. I was already packed up and ready to go, but needed to take Katana to the bathroom before staging my hitching attempt. As I walked out the door, a group of 3 hikers were climbing into a van in the parking lot. I recognized all of them and asked if there was anymore room in the vehicle. “One more seat.” Perfect.
Turns out our driver was the owner of the outfitter store across the street. As much as we all talked, I had been late to the introductions and missed her name. She was very outgoing with a great sense of humor, so I joked to her that she needed to keep some bigger shoes in stock because she lost a sale yesterday. She joked that no one in Leavenworth had big feet.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and after the more than 30 mile drive back to the trail, we were hiking shortly after 9. Katana was on a mission once again, going almost too fast for me to keep up. I had duct taped my torn in half shoe, but that came off within the first 3 miles. So I’m stuck with an open shoe for more than another 100 miles, until I reach Stehican, where I had my girlfriend ship a new pair that I had ordered to the house back home.
There was no shortage of sweat inducing climbs, small and large, but for me it was the weather that stole the day. I can’t help but make a connection between the current weather patterns I’ve been experiencing out here, and the ones I experienced towards the end of my AT hike. My theory is that Washington has entered into some kind of Indian summer. We had a decent freezing rain for a few days that all of a sudden switched to clear skies and warm temperatures. Not totally out of the ordinary except for one small detail; the autumn colors have emerged. We have fall colors with spring temperatures that arrived after a bout of freezing rain. In my experience, that is indicative of an Indian summer. I haven’t heard anyone refer to it as that officially, but it’s my own personal theory. My only hope is that it holds out for as long as possible.
The day was mostly uneventful besides the pleasant weather and colorful foliage, and with only having taken two breaks all day, we wrapped up over 22 miles near a creek that’s running by a grassy clearing about an hour before dark at 6:30.
I found myself thinking a lot about home today. I’m at that point in the journey where I’m so close that it feels like I’m practically done, but in reality there is still quite a bit to do. The closeness is making me anxious, but I know nostalgia and the bittersweet feeling of being done will set in before the end.