Steven’s Pass to Pear Lake – 10.7 miles
Back on the Pacific Crest Trail! Near the end of July my husband drove me to the trailhead where he had picked me up last year. I’d had to abandon my thru-hike of Washington the previous summer due to some intense muscular pain in my legs and ankles. The trailhead I was picking up at is accessed just past Steven’s Pass on a forest road. I’d be joining the PCT just a short distance before I’d stopped. You can read about that last day HERE.
I pulled myself together, gathered up my gear, and gave Hubs a big hug. I was on my way.
The first mile and a half was a steep climb to meet the PCT in Union Gap. From there it was smooth sailing along the familiar track to Janus Lake. I didn’t get going until just before noon so I took my lunch break at Janus Lake. I shared some shade with a PCT hiker from Denmark. Him and his friend were about to finish their thru-hike, completing the 2650-mile trail in a little over 100 days.
I got myself up and moving again, being sure to fill up on water. The following 6 miles were a long slog to gain a ridge line. From there the trail followed the ridge, passing through saddles and climbing higher still. There was to be no more water until I reached my camp for the night.
It was a hot, humid afternoon. I moved a lot slower than I’d expected. I hadn’t trained as much as I’d hoped to. I knew I’d have a break-in period on the trail.
My highest point for the day was 8 miles along, near the summit of Grizzly Peak at about 5500 feet. The reward for the climb was to reach some beautiful wildflower-filled meadows. Of course just as I rounded the peak I started to hear thunder. I’d been watching the clouds build through the afternoon. I moved a bit faster to get off the ridge but thankfully the storm blew off in a different direction.
My goal for the day was Pear Lake. It was also my next possible water source. From Grizzly Peak I had to descend 1300 feet only to climb another 600 to get to the lake. That last climb felt like it took forever! Just as I was about to give up hope of ever finding the lake, there it was, shimmering through the trees.
I tromped past the first campsites which were crammed full with weekend warriors. The campsites at the other end of the lake only had a few tents. I found myself a cozy spot for my first night out. There were a few other campers but it was otherwise quiet. I was able to rinse off a bit in the lake and even had my dinner lakeside.
It had taken me a little over 6 hours to hike my miles for the day, through a hot and humid afternoon. Not too bad for a first day on trail.