DAY 4: Waptus River to Deception Pass (14.8 miles)
Today’s miles were fueled by berries. Thimbleberries, blueberries, and huckleberries carpeted the trail side.
Not only did they help me keep going, but they gave me a reason to slow down. To see the little things that this world offers. The juicy, sweet, and tart little things.
The day actually started out a bit sour. I was a bit grumpy and so were my feet and ankles. I had been fending off some shin splint pain the last couple days, stretching as much as I could and changing my gait a bit. It still wasn’t feeling better though. Not much more I could do though besides take some pain medication and hit the trail.
The first half of my day’s miles were pretty uninspiring. The trail climbed gently and then more steeply as it worked through thick forest, then thick brush. It was a bit of a slog and I got a bit weighed down in my brain.
Things started to look up once I made it to Deep Lake, a lovely large lake surrounded by peaks. Even with my downer attitude I had still maintained my 2 miles an hour average speed, making it to the lake by 11.
I enjoyed a full hour’s break there. I ate part of my lunch, listened to the waves lapping at the shore, and snacked on blueberries growing near the campsite.
I left the lake just after noon, feeling physically and mentally rehydrated and refueled. The next few miles involved lots of switchbacks, climbing nearly 1200 feet. Any time I needed a break though I’d simply scout for berries! I surprised myself by powering through the climb, and so I took a well deserved break in Cathedral Pass, enjoying the view of the mountain range on the other side.
To tackle the downhill side I broke it into 1-mile mini goals. Campsite, creek and campsite, difficult stream crossing, easy stream crossing, camp!
I actually went a little bit further for camp tonight. My initial campsite goal was in a dark forest and incredibly sloped. So I kept going, opting to get closer to a pass I’ll have to cross over in the morning. The campsite I ended up at is a nice big space in open forest with a small pond nearby.
As the evening settled in it got quite cool and damp-feeling so I decided to light a campfire. There was lots of downed wood around and a great fire pit to build it in. The fire caught quickly and it wasn’t long before a couple other hikers joined me to share the space of the site and the warmth of the fire.
Just before tucking into our tents we were visited by a pair of deer. They did a full loop of our site and were surprisingly unafraid of us. However they weren’t to receive any handouts from us!