Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie 26th June We arrived at Leavenworth, Washington and checked into a motel to clean up, find Martina a doctors surgery and replace some of our gear. After our last few days in the wet, misty, snowy mountains it felt slightly surreal to back in town, particularly Leavenworth which had adopted a Bavarian theme- even McDonalds! Martina found a dressing for her snow burns and left samples for suspect Giardia condition.
Giardia (Giardia lamblia) is a microscopic parasite which can be picked up from polluted water supplies and has symptoms of diarrhoea, upset stomach and nausea. The parasite lives in the guts of mammals (including humans and beavers- hence the other name ‘beaver fever’) and is passed on through water. To counteract the possibility of picking up Giardia, we carried a water filter device with us which should have filtered it out.
We had a rest day here where we dealt with some post, shopped for the next 75 miles to Snoqualmie, cleaned the stove, I bought new boots, coated the tent seams with waterproof sealant and in between just relaxed. Martina would not hear her results for a week so she decided to just walk onwards anyway.
Brian Sweet’s friend Kathy picked us up the next day and took us with Brian and Marathon Man back up to Stevens Pass to start hiking. It was lovely, warm and sunny which filled us all with optimism for the hike, however we had extra food with us in case we hit more hard snowy going. Away from the road we entered ‘Alpine Lakes Wilderness’ and it was obvious to us that there was much less snow here- maybe about 20% of the trail being covered which was a delight to hike on. Stopping for lunch at a flowery meadow in the hot sun was just what was required with extensive views to snowy peaks in the clear air.
Martina was feeling queasy the next day and Marathon Man and Brian Sweet hiked on ahead of us as we started slowly in the morning. The hiking was still pleasant though and we made 18 miles to Waptus River in this delightful area with no other hikers around. At a junction we spotted a note from 2 other hikers saying that they had been advised by park rangers that the next trail section was impassable and that they had returned to the nearest road. Martina and I had a chat and both agreed we would carry on hiking and make our own mind up!
Our route now entered a glorious alpine region around Spectacle Lake with spiky peaks and a lovely high viewful trail. We dropped to Park Lakes intending to camp at a high pass above but couldn’t find a spot for the tent so proceeded onwards on steep mountainside slopes and hard snow patches. The fact this was our longest mileage yet on the trail at 25.6 miles despite some of the hilliest terrain could probably be attributed to our enjoyment of the high mountain scenery. It was particularly noteworthy for us as Martina seemed to have bounced back from her illness.
For the first time we glimpsed Mt Rainer to the south rising up as a shimmering white cone on the horizon as we stayed high amidst splendid scenery past semi frozen Alaska and Joe lakes. We are both keen outdoor swimmers but the water conditions had been too cold for us high up in the mountains even though it is now 1st July – but we held out hope that our alpine lake swimming time would arrive soon!
We made our way gradually down in a descent to Snoqualmie Pass where there is a small shop and Post Office. Here there was a gathering of 5 hikers and with their opened mail boxes sitting outside the grocery, the place looked like a hiker bombsite!
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