Pacific Northwest Trail; mile 802.2

Sunday September 22, 2019; day 63

It’s raining this morning; not a lot, just a pit-pit-pattering.

I am thankful that the mouse that was climbing up the netting and under the floor of my tent last night, did not decide to chew right through.

As I exit, I notice a spider has used the crown of my tent as support for its web.

I gathered water from Ruth Creek.

It crashes and flows, steadily and swiftly–swelling as it receives the beautiful snowmelt from the mountaintops.

I will be walking Mount Baker Highway today. It is Sunday. I am hoping the rain will be a deterrent to tourist traffic. Right now, as I pack up, traffic sounds very light. I am hopeful.

The mapset says “Highway 542 is steep and winding without a shoulder and limited sight distance. PNTA is working with the USFS on a trail relocation in this area”

When they are not busy I like walking roads… they are like railroad tracks, an industrial speedway that spans miles and miles.

Expressions on faces of drivers as they pass, make me giggle.

Some people stop to ask if I am alright.

A feel a car pull up slowly behind me. It was Ryan, the man who had provided me with gifts of warmth.

“I know you won’t accept a ride, but I will pull over so that we can chat for a bit.”

This made me feel as though he fully supported my continuous footpath.

I left the conversation with a lightness in my step that comes with the delightful whimsy of coincidence.

I did not find the roadwalk to be dangerous or uncomfortable.

The rain came down in buckets. I grew cold. I stopped at a trailhead bathroom to put on more layers. I considered boiling some water for hot coffee, but I dismissed it as a tad ridiculous. I knew it would be best to press on.

I stopped at the Visitor Center before joining the Lake Ann trail. I gathered a couple of snacks and a rice and bean meal.

I followed the Lake Ann trail, then turned to join the Swift Creek trail. With all of the rain, the trail itself was a flowing stream.

I began to consider the coming ford. I hoped to make it there before nightfall.

The rain did not let up. I continued crossing many, many streams along the way.

I stopped. I watched as a Mountain Goat stared in to the distance. I wondered what it was doing. Contemplating life, perhaps. Then it noticed me. It leaped off the ledge and down the mountainside. What an impressive, magical, whimsical looking creature!

I realized that I would not make it to Swift Creek before dark. There were also not many places to camp.

I noticed a flat space just off trail. It just did not seem right. I moved on.

Soon I questioned my decision to continue. The rain remained heavy, and a fog was setting in. I became desperate. I scoured for a place, hopeful at every bend and turn, that something may appear.

Finally, I found a spot that would (barely) do.

I cleared the forest floor of branches and twigs and erected my tent by the light of my headlamp.

I crawled inside. I was safe. I changed in to dry clothes. I was warm.

I would face Swift Creek in the morning.

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