Of our five resupply stops in Washington, three are at ski resorts. I suppose that’s because resupplies happen where the trail crosses roads; the trail is often on steep mountains, and people want ski resorts on roads. No matter what, it’s kind of funny to end up stopping at these ski resorts at the end of summer, when nobody is around and these vast resorts have empty parking lots.
That’s how it was today, when we slowly descended down into Snoqualmie Pass. You can see the ski resort from a ways away; you get to slowly walk down one of the ski hills, passing so many ski lift chairs that are just hanging there, stationary. I’m not sure that any of these ski resorts are all that huge, at least not by my familiar benchmark of Lake Tahoe, and Snoqualmie Pass certainly isn’t — there are a few dozen private ski houses, one giant hotel, a couple of convenience stores, a gas station…and that’s about it.
Still, as you might imagine, coming down into civilization of any kind feels pretty darn good. We were able to see Interstate 90 from the mountains as we got close, snaking among the mountains. This is the very last interstate we have to cross on the PCT — I remember crossing I–8, down near San Diego, so long ago on this trip.
The Summit Inn, which is where we’re staying tonight — and tomorrow night, hurrah! — is kind of a hilarious place to be this time of year. It’s a very large hotel, clearly set to accommodate skiers in the wintertime, but of course devoid of skiers (and largely devoid of summertime hikers) this time of year. So instead it’s more-or-less taken over by PCT hikers, with the occasional long-distance interstate traveler thrown in, too. There isn’t a whole lot around here, and what’s here isn’t always great — the restaurant in the hotel is famously pretty bad, for example. But, and this is the key point, it’s still a hotel with a real bed, shower, laundry, and actual restaurants. That’s more than good enough for us — that’s wonderful.