PCT Washington – Snoqualmie

Snoqualmie to White Pass We  had now reached Snoqualmie Pass in central Washington, 260 hiking miles south of the Canadian border. Martina found out she had Giardia after phoning the Leavenworth doctor’s clinic that and the result was that we had to locate a pharmacy to pick up the prescription medicine flagyl. We achieved this by asking people in the parking lot for a lift to the next town North Bend, about 30 miles down towards Seattle.

After a days rest we headed out south again on 3rd July with 5-6 days food to last us for the 100 mile hike to the next road crossing at the ski resort of White Pass. The hiking was a little less exciting in deep lush forest but at least it was fairly easy going for us with less snow to cross. We reached Camp Ulrich after two days hiking where there was a welcome wooden shelter and a fire place to warm up from the wet mist outside. It was nice to leave in the morning with all our gear dry from last nights fire and our hike continued in and out of the trees over small alpine passes with swirling cloud above.

Camp Ulrich

The damp conditions and frequent wet meadows had introduced us to a new adversary for the season- mosquitoes! Our next campsite at the edge of a meadow was probably ill chosen as the ‘mozzies’ targeted us that evening and made cooking dinner quite a trial.  This somewhat dampened our celebration at reaching the 1,000 miles hiked mark.

In fact the mozzies drove us off early the next morning without breakfast in  mist through a pleasant stagnant atmosphere- it was too dangerous to stop as the mozzies home in on us pretty quickly. The scenery was a pleasant mix of marshy lakes and snow patches nestled in forest with early morning evaporation rising into the air. At our next high pass we could see far south to the changing mountain scenery of southern Washington- here we were to leave the high alpine Cascades and enter mountain terrain dominated by ‘old’ volcanos.

Mt Rainier, Mt Adams and hazily to the south west the distinct cut off cone of Mt St Helens which erupted fairly recently on May 18th 1980. Hiking closer to Mt Rainier took us higher and back into more snow although we were becoming veterans in the art of hiking fast through snow by now! At a high saddle we stopped for lunch and a large troupe of boy scouts passed by- for us seeing other hikers was a sure sign that we were nearing a road. Indeed, a gentle descent and hillside traverse for 5 miles brought us to White Pass road and ski area.

We were expecting to collect six parcels at the grocery/Post Office at the pass and they had four of them only so we slump into a ski lodge room for $50 to wait out for the 11am post the next morning. This is no hardship as the lodge has an outdoor pool, we can have a long lie in and there is a grocery shop next door to meet all our snacking needs!

We had discovered a crack in the internal casing of our water filter which might be the cause of Martina’s Giardia- the raw river water is mixing with the filtered water effectively rendering the filter as useless although we have been using it faithfully throughout our journey and have only just found this out! Pur have agreed to mail us a new filter but our confidence in the device has plummeted  and we considered using iodine tablets instead of the filter.

Next White Pass to Oregon !

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