Road walks suck. It may not immediately be obvious that hiking along a road is so much worse than being on a trail, but it absolutely is. Most obviously, pavement is a lot harder than dirt, and so your feet hurt a whole lot faster. Also, you don’t really get to see much that’s all that cool from roads, because they’re cleared so far to either side. Walking roads is incredibly boring, because you can see what’s coming ahead for ages and ages — even on the twistiest of roads — when going at hiking speed. Traffic can be a concern, although the road we were on today had so little of it that it really wasn’t an issue at all.
We were on a road today because the fire on Mount Adams, which has been burning for weeks, has closed the PCT through this area. There’s a detour in place that, thankfully, is not only not longer than the PCT, but actually saves a couple of miles. But it’s all on roads, and the one we were on for most of today was paved — worst of all. The good part about road walks is that they tend to go quickly, since you can hike plenty fast when you don’t have to worry about avoiding rocks or going up very steep inclines. But we’re still going to be really glad to be back on trail again, sometime tomorrow.
Our morning in Trout Lake was really, really nice — starting with sweet-potato Belgian waffles in the hotel for breakfast (complimentary with the room!). If we didn’t still have to worry about getting to Canada before the snows come, I’d easily have stayed for an extra day, it’s that nice of a place. A wonderful local trail angel was happy to come pick us up and take us back to the trail, and we started where we left off, but this time walking the road for the detour.
Our dedication to keeping a continuous footpath from the Mexican border to where we are has been tough at times — and today it was again. It started raining on us (yet again) not so long after we’d started hiking…and then we saw the first of several cars pass us by, full of hikers, getting rides entirely around the closed section, skipping it. Believe me, the idea of being in that car, instead of being on the road, trudging away through the rain, appealed a great, great deal — but we’ve come over 2,200 miles from Mexico without skipping a single section, and we don’t want to start here. So we kept hiking away, even as we watched people we knew pass us.
We finally got to come off the pavement near the end of the day, onto dirt roads instead, and have stopped at a National Forest campground at a place called Takhlakh Lake. It’s nice to have a real toilet (well, outhouse, but there’s little difference to us) to use, a picnic table, and a tent pad. It feels cold this evening, but I think the rain has stopped — at least for now — and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it holds tomorrow, too. It would be wonderful to get to hike in the sun in Washington for once.