Pacific Northwest Trail; mile 12.07

Sunday, July 21, 2019; Day 1

The morning started with coffee and small talk. Then quickly, we were off! Lisa and Roger and their sweet niece and I all piled in to their SUV and headed to the Chief Mountain trailhead. After over an hour of driving, and a quick detour to a beautiful alpine lake, we pulled in to a parking lot a stones throw from the Canadian border.

I was a bit uncertain that where we were was exactly where the trailhead started. They understood that I romanticize these journeys, and that a continuous footpath is very important to me. They offered to drive me back the way we came–just a ways–so that I could be certain that I started at the correct point. This meant so much to me. I am not sure that I expressed my gratitude to them enough. Making it to that trailhead would have proved an extremely difficult challenge. I will be forever grateful for such a loving and generous start to my journey.

Oh! The beauty.

The start of the trail was filled with wildflowers and mountain meadows and thick green brush.

All nerves wash away as I hear the familiar sounds of my body moving through the woods. Wet leaves tickle and kiss my skin. Birds call in the distance. Wildflowers sway in the breeze, calling out for pollination. Oh, how I hear you, how I smell you! How you stir my soul!

The weight of my pack pulls at my shoulders and tugs at my hips. I always enter these hikes feeling as though I can carry the world on my shoulders. This is never the case, nor should it be. These hikes are to see the World, and realize how little one truly needs to carry/”own” to ignite that spark of joy that lifts the spirit. The transition, from city to woods, can be materially trying. Cities make me want “things”, they make me vain. The line between “need” and “want” becomes blured.

A few miles in to my trek, I glance behind me. The view is just as astounding as the one before me, possibly more so.

I think of how incredibly different journeys of the same path can be.

Mid-day I stopped for water at a creek which flowed beside the trail. I attached my Sawyer Squeeze filter to my Smart Water bottle and…nothing. No flow at all whatsoever. I had not used the filter for months, I did not test it before leaving. I told myself that I could pick one up in town further along the trail. In the mean time, I just needed to be selective about my sources.

At 2030 I arrived at the head of Glenn Lake campground. I ate dinner in the designated dining area: cold-soaked split pea soup with nutritional yeast, seasonings, and almond flour. A curious deer meandered about me as I ate.

Each of the campsites in Glacier National Park have a designating cooking/dining area, bear hang pole, and pit toilet. There are three designated tent sites at the head of Glenn Lake. The other hikers had yet to arrive.

I went to hang my bear bag. There was no bear bag hang for me to mimic. I did what I could. Then I heard oncoming voices. Suddenly feeling extremely antisocial, I moved in a hurry to pick my tent site, set up, and throw myself inside.

I had first choice of the three sites of the campground. My view was spectacular.

Though only 12 miles from the start, I was very tired.

I fell asleep before the sun.

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