Mile 2365 to 2382
We wake to find the winds have died or are at least on life support. Last night’s distinct tall white fire plumes with long smoke tails stretching away from us are now just amorphous blobs oozing smoke in all directions. The formerly crystal clear jagged horizon is now smudged like a charcoal drawing. It is strangely warm so Kevin and I opt to hike jacket-less, even at 6:00 am.
Although not 100% certain, Kevin and I suspect that Ixnay’s internal temperature control is the same make and model found in menopausal women. Watching Ixnay’s jacket is like watching windshield wipers set on the lowest intermittent setting. It’s on. No it’s off. Oh, it’s back on. No wait, it’s off.
We stop at an extremely cold and clear creek that is simply hopping with frogs. They all seem to have the correct number of limbs, so we assume the water is good for filtering. We camel-up by drinking a liter each and carrying a liter. When we reach the less appealing dependable creek we are glad we got water when we did.
Since my oldest son Daniel will not arrive to meet us in Snoqualmie until tomorrow afternoon, we are in no hurry. We target an early camp at Mirror Lake, which gives us plenty of time to wash, swim and relax. We can easily make the 10 miles to Snoqualmie tomorrow morning before lunch.
At Mirror Lake we meet Eli, a 6 year old PCT hiker in training. He is traveling with his mother and grandmother, celebrating his grandmother’s 29th birthday, or something reasonably close to that. Eli teaches us to throw sticks in the lake for his playful jokester of a dog. We know she is a jokester because every stick she retrieves from the middle of the lake she returns and leaves floating just out of our reach from shore. Each toss requires a new stick and eventually it looks as though a beaver is constructing a dam. Eli also shows us the best swimming spot and demonstrates how to walk a slackline between trees. When he grows to be a famous adventurer we will say we met him here.
We also meet up briefly with Senior Whiskers, whom I have not seen since before Lauren and Michael’s wedding. He is meeting his daughter tonight in Snoqualmie. It is fun to introduce him to Kevin. He had met Ixnay several times earlier in the trip.
As we cook our dinner we are toyed with by fearless chipmunks. They climb on our packs, bite our food bags, run in and out of our tents and eventually climb on Kevin’s arms and legs. The only good thing about them is that they are not meat bees, which are also attacking. One bee takes a sizable chunk out of the back of Kevin’s leg.
We hide in our tents from bees and chipmunks, cleaner from our swim than we have been for quite a while. We are excited to see Daniel tomorrow and work out our reroute around the fires strategy.