DAY 7: Mosquito Creek to Forest Road 23
My last night on trail I was lucky enough to sleep with the fly off my tent. It was a really comfortable night’s sleep and I woke feeling better about my decision to get off trail.
I had about 10.5 miles to go to reach Forest Road 23 where my friend would meet me. The miles passed quickly under my feet. My pack was emptier and light, my body wasn’t too sore, and my spirit was pretty willing to complete this last section of trail.
Unfortunately the mosquitos were awful. I actually started out the day in my raincoat and bug net, using them as an extra barrier against the blood suckers. Once I started my climb for the day I had to give up on the raincoat as I simply got too hot and sweaty.
I made it to the trailhead just after 1 p.m, having covered the miles in a little less than five hours, including breaks. I pulled up a seat roadside to have lunch, wait for my friend, and reflect on my solo week on trail.
All in, it had been a pretty incredible week on trail. I had travelled over 80 miles on my own two feet, carrying all of my own gear. I had been completely independent and wholly responsible for my own well-being. The weather had been nothing short of incredible, offering me blue skies and warm weather. The negatives of my week (snow, debris, bugs, isolation) had really only emerged through the last couple days, allowing me to ease into the trail before taking on it’s challenges.
Here are a few of my reflections from my week:
There is an important difference between solitude and loneliness. I can feel lonely in a city surrounded by millions of people and yet comfortable in a wilderness where I’m completely alone.
Be open to the spirit of the trail. Ask for what you need. You will likely receive it and more.
Don’t worry so much about routine. Eat when you’re hungry. Rest when you’re tired. The journey is what truly matters.
Having to problem-solve snow travel is a welcome distraction from my own solitude and thoughts.
Be grateful for the tiny protection of your tent. It shelters you from bugs, from cold, from rain. It is you own personal space in the wilderness.
As I write this post I am already getting ready to head back out on trail. I’ll be skipping past the Adams & Goat Rocks Wilderness and picking up the trail at White Pass, about 65 miles further north. I’ll be heading into the rain shadow of Mount Rainier, plus I’m hoping that the extra week of summertime sunshine and heat will have helped melt out any last snow patches.
Wish me luck, and keep an eye out for new tales from the trail next week!