June 30th thru July 2nd
I awoke the next morning with the knowledge that I would be be reunited with my family. Awoke is not quite the right word, for after staying up until 12:30 am getting all of the logistics of the future packages out of the way, I logged in quickly to check the weather conditions up at Chinook Pass – the ultimate destination for my shuttle ride offered by my wife. Yikes. Snow flurries on the last day of June. Still 2-3 feet of snow on the trail at the parking lot (although it promised to get a little bit better – temporarily on the trail thereafter). My week’s delay seemed to have done nothing to help my cause.
A restless sleep followed so that by the time I checked out this morning, my mood was plummeting in the face of facts. In this strange time where facts are under assault, the facts were launching a major counter offensive strictly focused on me and my pride.
Soon enough my wife, our girls and plus two more kids from our best friends arrived in Trout Lake. After a wonderful reunion, we headed north out of town for the two hours of dirt roads and country roads to get to Chinook Pass.
When we arrived, this was the scene…
Yeah, that’s the trailhead. It was wet and misty, freezing and the snow was indeed thick as could be. I would be sleeping on snow tonight, and wet throughout if I continued.
The kids lasted all of two minutes, long enough to snap a photo.
I walked up to the actual PCT trail and this is what I saw:
And so I pondered on the situation…
And decided it just was not worth it. I dreamed of those warm days in the gorge with fresh wildflowers blooming. This was anything but that. I intended the trail to be a test of my endurance under good conditions, not a test of my ability to survive under horrible conditions.
It was painful and demoralizing even though I knew I would be traveling with the family to Anderson Island to see our good friends David and Jodie.
While there, my family and David and Jodie were gracious hosts and gave me plenty of space and ability to go on long walks to keep the tone – and attempt to recover from my thorough disappointment at being off trail.
I started to listen to Walden by Thoreau as I walked the island and soaked in its beauty
At last on my third day I went through the options with my dad by text:
So I here are my options:
1) go to Snoqualmie now with your help
2) give up on Washington and take the PCT south from Mt. Hood
3) do a trip around Mt. St. Helens and then try again on Snoqualmie in five days
Amazingly, my dad still hadn’t given up on me despite that this is now the fourth time changing the plans.
I did a little more research on Snoqualmie – and found a trip report at WTA (an incredible resource by the way) on the trail conditions there:
Yeah – that’s one of the mountain lakes on the way to my first of many passes. And yup – that’s water in the solid, not liquid, form. That scratched off option number 1 on my list.
So with putting out pleas to family and friends – and with having all of them respond in my hour of need, I know had a plan. David would drive my to Mt. St. Helens on his way home and drop me off so that I could do the 3-4 day Loowit trail around the mountain. Then dad would pick me up and either head for Stevens Pass or Snoqualmie Pass.
I slept better finally, knowing that I would soon be back on the trail. Not the PCT, sure, but I dreamed of creating a new National Trail that would circumnavigate the four volcanic 360 degree trails.