I am so, so much happier now than I have been in days. Why? Blue skies. We woke up this morning and looked outside — clouds, but they seemed about to clear off. By the time we were ready to go, about 11 AM? Sun! Blue sky! After nine days of rain, it feels incredible to get actual sun, to be able to go outside and hike without getting wet. It’s amazing.
Where do I even begin? Tonight, I didn’t have to climb under the tarp the moment I got to camp, just to stay dry. I could cook dinner outside, and change into camp shoes outside. When I took off my hiking shirt, I didn’t have to set it out to dry (or more like “dry”, since, with humidity around 100% for the whole past nine days straight, it’s not like anything really ever got any drier). My socks aren’t squishy with water, I can enjoy sitting outside, and the air is crisp and clear, not clammy and muggy. It’s wonderful.
I’m not the only one in a better mood tonight, either. There are dozens and dozens of hikers in incredibly high spirits on the trail, too. It’s the subject of every encounter you have with other hikers — how awesome it feels to finally be dry and see the sun after over a week of rain. Everybody’s delighted, everybody’s happy, and we’re all so glad to be out here.
Something I didn’t realize until this evening, too: while it’s been nine days since we’ve seen the sun because of all the rain, because of all the smoke, it’s been probably something like an entire month since we’ve actually seen truly blue skies — since, oh, about Etna, CA. We’re so used to haze in the air from forest fires that it’s remarkable to see truly blue skies and to be able to see for ages. It’s still sad that we missed so much spectacular scenery in the past few days in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, but I’m sure we’ll get a chance to see great stuff in the near future, too.
Yet another huge boost to our mood: while we were in White Pass, we saw the official announcement re-opening the section of PCT farther north that had been closed for well over a month. With the closure, we’d dreaded being faced with two possibilities: either break our continuous footpath from the Mexican border all the way to Canada — or walk along paved roads for literally a hundred miles in order to skirt a thirty-mile section of closed trail. I genuinely don’t know what we would’ve done, but it was an awful choice to be faced with. But now, we don’t have to decide! Assuming no more fires break out soon (and I’m keeping my fingers crossed — although this entire state feels about ready to mildew right now), we should have a clear path all the way to Canada, and that feels fantastic.
Treeman is here camped with us tonight, too, and it’s great to see him. He’s so fast at hiking that I don’t know how much longer we’ll see him for, but I hope it’s quite a while — he’s great company, and it’s really good to be around him. No matter what, I’m seriously cheerful about the next few days of hiking in a way I haven’t been in a long, long time. The weather forecast shows things just getting even sunnier and warmer for over a week straight. It feels so good!