Day 115, August 17th
Start: camp below Matheow Pass, mile 2609
End: camp at mile 2646
Miles hiked: 37
I wake up early, everything soaking wet from the dew. The area is completely socked in; a dense fog built all last night. I hike out before everyone but Krispies, pushing my way through the misty forest. I go up and over Matheow pass with no views. I hope the entire day is not like this. I want to see the north cascades! So much has been hidden from us the past week with all of the weather.
As I hike down the pass, the sky fully opens up; nearly in the blink of an eye. I can see the surrounding peaks, clouds clinging to their sides. The fog rolls down the mountainside and into the valleys as if to flood the forest below. The rate that this fog is moving down the slopes is amazing to see. Never have I seen anything like it in the mountains. I stand on the side of the trail in awe as I watch the fluidity of the scene in front of me. Large peaks begin to show their faces. The morning sun splashes them, and the rock shines high above the clouds. Last full day on the trail, I think to myself. I wish it wasn’t.
I catch Krispies; she must have been standing and watching as well, and I hike the next few hours with her. We talk if what we want to do with our lives. Where we want to go, what we want to see. What we want long term. She wants to move to Seattle, she tells me. We’ll all get a good tour of the place after the trail, hopefully she likes it.
After reaching the bottom of the valley, we begin climbing again. A wall of clouds hangs above in the valley we are traversing. We climb up and into it, once again being engulfed by the clouds in the forest.
“This is so surreal.” I say to Krispies. “Almost as if we’re entering a new world.”
“I wish it wasn’t over tomorrow.” She responds.
It’s over tomorrow…
As we climb, we get out of the clouds and above them. No more than ten minutes later and the clouds we were walking through are completely gone! As if they were never there. Our friends behind us will have never walked through them. How bizarre, these mountain clouds.
We take a break up top and our friends all catch us (less brainstorm, who is slowed by illness). We traverse high ridges and then down to Harts Pass. After pure sun the past few hours there are now clouds beginning to build. We find sunlight and dry all of our gear from the night before. Carrot tells us that there is usually great trail magic here – but not this year. We’re too early, and the weather is so nice it isn’t needed. The ranger at the little us forest service hut takes our trash and fills our water for us, which is really great! I eat so much before heading out with Guthrie, Krispies, and carrot.
The clouds build, and soon there is thunder rumbling all around us.
“Last night looks like a storm.” Woody says to us.
Yet it never storms on us. A little sprinkle here and there, but never down pouring onus. Just all around us. Conversation is good, and soon we make it to camp.
“37 miles, and we’re in camp by 7:30.” Tiny says.
“I can’t believe we’re going to just be done. I feel so strong, finally.” I say.
Everyone is feeling like they could hike forever. Yet all we have is a nearo to te border. 14.5 miles. That’s it. An easy day hike. And it doesn’t feel as if anythings different tonight; we all set up our sleeping systems, eat, drink, and go to bed once it’s dark. I cowboy camp again, the only one not setting up my shelter. Last chance, I think to myself. Last night to sleep under the stars, under the tall pines, under these magical mountains of the Pacific Northwest. I’m going to miss this immersion. I’m going to miss being here. Most of all, I’m going to miss these friends I’ve made. So much.