Day 171: One (Hopefully) Last Rainy Day

Yup — Washington is at it again. We woke up to a light rain, and it continued on and off all day long, sometimes becoming a legitimate rain, other times just misting. A couple of times, we thought we might get lucky and have it entirely stop, but, of course, no such luck. Glimpses of blue sky were really just teases, as it clouded over again.

I suppose this is to be expected; this is Washington in late September, after all. Honestly, I’m just happy this is all it is, instead of more serious storms or — worst of all — a real snowstorm, which could force us off-trail even at this very late date. However, that’s not in the forecast at all, and all we really got today was wet. Frankly, it really wasn’t even all that bad compared to the rains of last week, or, especially, the nine days straight of rain that we got right after we crossed the border into Washington. When I took off my rain pants tonight, my hiking pants just were damp for about a foot above my ankles, and dry above that — not the “soaking wet down below, damp everywhere” that I’d had in the past. This really isn’t so bad…just a reminder that we are, after all, in Washington.

Sometimes rainstorms provide for dramatic scenery, too. Take a look at some of the photos today: at one point, we were on a mountainside, sandwiched between two layers of clouds — one below us in the valley, another just a little ways above us in the skies. It was kind of amazing. Although I’d probably still rather have sunny weather, it does make me feel lucky to get to see this kind of stuff. And it’s probably pretty representative of this state, no?

Today, we also got the last trail magic of the PCT. Hart’s Pass is the last road that the PCT crosses in the U.S. As such, it’s also the exit point for any hikers who don’t have a Canada entry permit. In order to cross into Canada on the PCT, you have to have sent in an application ahead of time, and received the proper permit. Apparently, among other things, a felony conviction or DUI in the last seven years will get you denied entry — so there are some hikers who aren’t allowed to enter, as well as those who weren’t organized enough to apply ahead of time. (Southbound hikers, who start at this border and head towards Mexico, also have to enter via Hart’s Pass, because it’s illegal to cross from Canada into the U.S. via the PCT, no matter what. SOBOs typically start here, hike the thirtysomethinig miles north to the border, touch the monument, then turn around and start their hike southbound.)

Anyhow, when we arrived there, we found one very soggy, forlorn campground…and the parents of Dundee, a hiker we’d never met but had heard plenty about, as he was very good friends with Treeman and Hedgehog. They had a great big tent set up, underneath of which they made us hot chocolate and tuna sandwiches (with actual lettuce — oh, the things you miss out here!) They also had a campfire going, which was wonderful, given how chilly and soggy you can get out here. It was great to stop for a bit, relax, and eat something besides trail food, even if we did have to get going after not too long in order to keep pressing on towards Canada.

We’re now less than thirty miles from Canada, with less than forty miles left to hike. So close! We’ll only set up the tarp one more time, only make dinner one more time…it’s hard to imagine. Just two more days!

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