Day 156: Washington Has the Best Trail Magic

After our amazing trail magic at Chinook Pass just a couple of days ago, we figured we’d had our fill for some time. After all, how much luck can you possibly have? But that was before we ran into Not Phil’s Dad today at Tacoma Pass.

The people who provide this level of trail magic are incredible. There were two large freestanding tent structures to give us shade, an entire coffee table set up in the middle, more than a dozen camp chairs for us to sit on, grapes, tortilla chips, Oreos, every kind of condiment you could want…and Not Paul’s Dad grilling giant hot dogs for every new hiker who came up. Incredible! He even had a wash basin set up with a bag of water hoisted above, towels, soap, and Purell, and of course there were coolers full of beer and soda for everybody. Apparently he comes up the day after Labor Day every year (and has been for the past five years) and then stays until his supplies run out — usually a week or two, since he has an entire trailer behind his car dedicated to hiker supplies. So good, and so generous — this is clearly a multi-hundred-dollar, if not multi-thousand-dollar, affair. It really does warm your heart and make you believe in the good of humanity (as well as humbling you…when was the last time I did anything that generous?) to see this sort of thing. Amazing.

Washington’s fall colors are evident more and more with each passing day. We walked through patches of bright-red huckleberry bushes today, beneath green pine trees, a deep blue sky, and the brilliant white of all the snow on Mount Rainier. The coniferous forest occasionally gives way to a patch of deciduous trees, and their leaves are the most beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds. We’re fortunate that the temperatures haven’t yet started really plunging (well, at least since we got out of our long rain-soaked week a few days ago), but it’s clear from looking out there that it’s getting to be fall. It makes me happy…it means that it’s getting close to time to be heading home, and that we really have hiked this trail all summer long.

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