Backpacking Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass; PCT Section J, Alpine Lakes Wilderness

I stopped to enjoy this view for over an hour.

I lingered here for over an hour.

It poured on the second half of my hike. Thankfully, I was prepared after having accounted for the weather forecast. Pack cover, pack liner, dry bags for everything, ziplocks, a floorless tarp, good rain gear, a rain skirt and an umbrella. Instead of being a downer, the rain was a fun bonus.

This section of the PCT is one of the trail’s most scenic. It’s high, jagged, and beautiful. Traveling at far less than my thru-hike’s pace, I had time to sleep, stare, ponder and play. I also chose my night’s destination based largely on it’s beauty. Picking those gems made for a more special trip. I jumped in lakes three times between the deluges.

While I had the time and intention to do some side trips. I didn’t. They were all either too much work, or too stuck in the clouds.

Through the most dramatic areas, the clouds only made the mountains more interesting. I watched at they moved up and over ridges, screamed past summits and blew across lakes. Luckily, the heavy weather came during the less stunning stretches.

Chased by the rain and moving with Waterman, a distance hiker from New Zealand, I moved out of the backcountry a day early. The two nights at the Dinsmore’s were plain old fun.  Getting to know Jerry and Andrea better was a big bonus to this hike. The thru-hikers passing by were all happy, fun and jazzed. The first bearded face in the dorm was my good friend Gehaz. We met hiking in Nepal in 2009 and it was great to reconnect with him in such an unexpected place.

The last day, Hot Sister, a friend from PCT ’06, picked me up, put me up and toured me around Seattle. We went to somewhere north of 25 separate places and now I know for sure that it’s a really great city.

Thanks also to Magic Man for the very kind airport pickup, conversation and ride to the crest. I found some hikers after you left and they gobbled the donuts.

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