The rain plinked gently on my cooking pot Monday morning as I heated water for my breakfast. It developed into a good soak after I broke camp and began trudging the 12 remaining miles up to Snoqualmie Pass, the gateway to the wet west. It seemed the west had come to meet me today.
For a while I took refuge in the shelter of one of the great new outhouses the state Parks department have recently added to the trail.
… and finally into the Hyak trailhead where my friend Herve had started a spectacularly fast 3:17 marathon just the day before in weather very different. The portable toilets brought in for the event still stood witness.
The wind was blowing and the rain was showing no sign of relenting. So I called my friend Roger who was to meet me there and encouraged him to bail. He was already en route and wouldn’t think of changing plans for a little inclement weather. I retreated to the delightfully warm and dry trailhead restrooms to await his arrival.
As Roger arrived the rain slowed and soon stopped completely. I may not have received a trail name yet but Roger was designated “Lucky” by the end of the day because while he was with me we got no more rain.
Less than half a mile west of Hyak is the Snoqualmie tunnel. At 2.3 miles it is surely the longest trail tunnel in the United States, if not the world. It was built to cut off to top 400′ of Snoqualmie Pass for the trains of the Milwaukee-St Paul Railway in 1913.
Out of the tunnel we were properly west of the divide, and the mist competed with the autum colors to put on a show for us.
After about five more miles it was time to camp and choose our color-coordinated scotch cups.
But damn! his gear is effective. And when he wants to gets rid of a tent or a pack I often buy it from him, so I shouldn’t make fun of him. I do not think however, that I’ll be buying his spoon when he moves on to an even lighter model in the future.
Tuesday dawned clear, and as we continued our way westward the sun shone through the trees.
By 12:30 it was time for Roger to leave me. His wife Nancy was waiting at a trailhead a few hundred yards below our trail.
As I parted ways with Roger I started thinking about where I’d have my rather meager lunch, and before I had walked more than 100 yards I was almost run over by a guy on a mountain bike, pedaling hard with his head down.
It was none other than my marathon mate Herve, somehow recovered enough to come surprise me and bring me the best trail magic lunch I could have imagined.
Wow. What a friend. It started with multiple serving of a chicken-arugula salad
… then moved on to croissants from a really great French backery in Redmond
What a beautiful afternoon it was. My feet still hurt, but I was feeling blessed to have such good friends as Roger and Herve.
Now that I was in the Seattle exurbs, I had to be a little careful where I camped. Camping at Rattlesnake Lake isn’t permitted and there appeared to be enough county employees around to chase me off if I tried it. So I meandered a mile or two down the Snoqualmie Valley Trail only frequented by bike riders and horse riders.
And here I sit, watching the pink drain out of the sky, and downing the last of my scotch alone. Not lonely, but looking forward to the change of pace ahead.
Somehow it’s already my last camping night of my trip. Tomorrow and Thursday I stay with friends in Fall City and Bellevue, and Friday I arrive home. It’s all gone very quickly. I will spare you a grand summing up until I actually understand what it all adds up to.