Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cathedral Rock, Boots, and Ed

It was about here when I saw a fighter jet
fly just over the ridge on the right.
September 11: The rain held off all night long, and the few clouds that lingered till morning looked wispy enough to blow away. I hoped that meant good things for me!

I was the last to leave camp. It was cold, and as much as I liked hanging out with Little Engine, Plain Slice, Neon, Max Chill, and Epic, it felt a little crowded with that many people around. So I was perfectly content to let them get a good head start on me.

The trail climbed up towards Cathedral Peak, a long, steady climb. While hiking near Deep Lake, a fighter jet flew what looked like mere feet above the ridge I was climbing. Military games. I remembered this from previous visits to the area, but still found it amazing how close those planes would fly along the ridges. Very cool, but also very loud. Kind of ruins that whole wilderness experience.

When I reached the top of the ridge, I was accosted by a photographer. Click! Click! Click! It was a little disorienting--I didn't expect the paparazzi to find me out here! Then he introduced himself as Boots. He was hiking southbound, taking photos of all of the thru-hikers he met along the way that he'd upload to his website later. I still think his trail name should have been Paparazzi. It's a much more unique name than Boots, and totally appropriate! I went to his website,, and found two photos he uploaded here and here. All those hazy photos before mine, about a dozen of them, are the folks I camped with who I gave the head start to. Boot's camera suffered from the rain and cold and hadn't cleared up before he met them on the trail. When I found him, he had been laying out on the exposed ridge drying out and drying his camera equipment out, so my photos turned out clear. =)

I continued on, passed Cathedral Rock, a few day hikers and weekend campers, but it was a largely uneventful day. The sun came out to play for most of the afternoon, always a nice feeling. Near Deception Pass, I thought about Amanda. The last time I hiked this section of the trail, I got off the PCT here and walked to a parking lot another mile down the canyon to where Amanda was waiting to pick me up. She wouldn't be at the parking lot waiting for me this time, though. I was on my own. =(

Cathedral Rock, up ahead!
I didn't catch up with Little Engine, Plain Slice, and Epic until they were already setting up camp and working on building a campfire late in the afternoon. Neon and Max Chill, they told me, had hiked too far by accident and were still ahead. I wanted to get a few more miles on, though, and didn't stop, but told the three that if I saw Neon and Max Chill, I'd let them know where to find you guys.

I did catch up with Max Chill, standing on the side of the trail waiting for Neon another 15 or so minutes later and relayed the message, and Neon I ran into another 15 minutes after that hiking in the other direction. Neon told me that Wyoming was just ahead, which surprised me since I thought she was behind me. How did she get ahead? Where did she pass me? Must have been when I was still in camp that morning, but I totally missed her going by.

The trail climbed a steep slope, which had me complaining that this was supposed to be a horse trail, and why the hell was the trail so freakishly steep here, but I finally made it to the top of the ridge near mile 2265. There was a tent set up, just off the trail, and I assumed it must have been Wyoming. "Is that you, Wyoming?" I asked. No, it was not. It was Ed, from Issaquah, out for a few days. Oops. =)

Still, I was done for the day, and set up my own tarp on the trail. There was a chance of showers overnight, but the ridgetop was also exposed and I was concerned about severe condensation. And it was getting cold! A tarp won't trap heat very well, but if it blocked even the tiniest wind, I could still avoid that horrible wind chill factor.

Boots, catches me red-handed while hiking.
I cooked dinner, and had trouble getting my lighter going. At first I thought the problem was my frozen fingers not working very well, but when I shook the lighter, I didn't hear any lighter fluid. Hmm.... I'd been carrying the lighter since Big Bear. Had it finally run out of gas? I did manage to get my stove going, but now I was suddenly paranoid that my lighter could die at any moment. I needed a new lighter, but my next resupply point wouldn't be until Stehekin several days away. Argh! Hoped it held out until then.

A little after sunset, three trail workers from AmeriCorps hiked by. They had been doing trailwork but took the late afternoon/evening off to do a little hiking and sightseeing. They asked about my thru-hike and offered me some food. I didn't really need anymore food, but off the cuff, I decided to ask if they had an extra lighter they could spare, and they had one! Woo-who! Worries about my lighter running out of gas were now behind me!

Cathedral Rock--BEAUTIFUL!

I just love the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. =)

Looking south, shortly before reaching Deception Pass.

While the sun had come out today, the plants were still wet from the rain and condensation from before.

According to my maps, the PCT runs parallel near the far side of this lake.
Looks like fun!

Looks like someone has lost their clothes!

The Canada part was already written in the trail when I arrived,
but I felt it was necessary to add Mexico too. We should all remember our roots! =)
I set up camp about three feet away in the direction of Mexico.

The view north on the PCT from my ridge-top campsite.


Okie Dog said...

I bet you don't see much wildlife around where the fighter jets play, huh? Can an animal get used to that much noise? OD

Anonymous said...

You don't carry backup matches?

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Incredible photos. I bet it is impossible to take a bad photo with views and vistas like that.
Lucky on the lighter, too. It seems that it's next to impossible for a thru-hiker to end up in trouble if he runs out of something or any of his gear breaks. There seems to always be someone willing to help.

I spent an hour looking through all of the thru-hiker photos. Very interesting, especially seeing the many women hiking. It got me wondering why you and Amanda never do these thru-hikes together?

I really enjoyed seeing the awesome views with the mules and horses on page 17, too. Wow!

And I think I even saw the Mad Hatter towards the end. And that guy Drift wearing the kilt with the paddle.....walked all the way from Maine?!!! Whoeeee! Now, that's impressive!

So, that Boots guy does he work for Natl. Geo? Was that his mag. article he was having everyone sign?

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers