Day 42 (8-28-21): Back on the Trail

PCT Mile 2465 -2484

Miles Hiked = 19

As I mentioned in my last post, Sydney and I enjoyed our zero day yesterday in the small “Bavarian-themed” town of Leavenworth. Greg picked us up this morning at 6:30am and drove us back to Stevens Pass where we had left the trail two days ago. It was about a thirty minute drive. Thank you Greg!

Me, Sydney & Greg

We were on the trail and hiking by 7:30am. Our packs were loaded up with five-plus days of food – approximately ten pounds heavier than when we left the trail two days ago. The next town stop is the tiny town of Stehekin on the shore of Lake Chelan, a narrow fifty-mile long lake in northern Washington. For most northbound PCT hikers, Stehekin is the last town stop and resupply opportunity before reaching the northern terminus monument at the Canadian border.

It was a little chilly this morning but the skies were blue – it was going to be a nice day. The trail was flat and well groomed for the first couple of miles which made for an easy start with our heavy packs.

We soon entered the Henry Jackson Wilderness.

The trail started to climb and in a couple of hours we passed Lake Valhalla, a very pretty lake that is popular with weekend day hikers. There was a trailhead nearby and today was Saturday so there were quite a few day hikers on the trail enjoying their weekend hike.

Lake Valhalla

In another couple hours we passed Lake Janus – the day hikers had disappeared.

Lake Janus

Early in the afternoon we had our first view of Glacier Peak (10,525’) – a volcano and the fourth highest peak in Washington. Apparently it has erupted five times in the past three thousand years which makes it one of the most active volcanos in the Cascade Range. Little did we know at the time, but the next four days would be spent hiking around the west and then northern sides of this large mountain.

Glacier Peak

We passed by beautiful mountain meadows.

and then passed over the top of Grizzly Peak (5597’) – not really much of a peak compared to some of the other Cascade mountains.

Grizzly Peak in the foreground

As we continued hiking we enjoyed distant views of the northern Cascade peaks and wondered if these particularly jagged peaks were in our future.

Panoramic view to the north with Glacier Peak on the right

Late in the afternoon we reached Pear Lake and decided to make camp. There was a large campsite in the trees just above the lake that would accommodate five or six tents, a not uncommon occurrence on the PCT. When we arrived there was already another tent set up but the hikers were no where to be seen. Then I figured out they were in the lake swimming – I believe there were three guys out for the weekend. Shortly after we arrived another PCT hiker arrived and set up his tent. After the three campers finished swimming they came up to the campsite. We all said hello but they gave us a funny look. I think they felt like this was their private campsite and that we were invading it. On the PCT, however, it’s customary that you only get to stake a claim on the actual ground your tent is on. In popular campsites, particularly when there are no other campsites available, it’s not unusual for another PCT hiker to set up their tent right next to yours. After we explained PCT etiquette and that additional PCT hikers were likely to arrive, the three weekend hikers decided to move on to another more private campsite. A little while later a couple more PCT hikers arrived and set up their tents for the night.

Pear Lake

Today was a beautiful day on the trail with perfect weather. We hiked nineteen miles with about forty-six hundred feet elevation gain in fully loaded packs. We should sleep well tonight!

Elevation Profile of Day 42

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