We got a little rain last night that lasted off and on into the morning. We packed up during a lull and got going without our gear getting too damp. We might have dodged the rain, but all the brush was so wet that in no time our shoes and pants were soaked. All morning we adjusted our ponchos as the weather rolled through, zipping up and zipping down, shedding umbrellas and strapping them on again as the wind picked up and the trees dropped their moisture. At one point we dropped into the Seattle River valley, where signs warned us to stay on trail and not trespass since the river is one of Seattle’s municipal water source. We joked that between the power lines yesterday and the river today, hiker mischief could bring the city to a standstill!
After the river we began another steep climb through thinning forest. Even on a day like this we saw lots of people as we neared the pass and I-90. The sun began to peek out from behind the clouds – tentatively at first, then stronger as the clouds burned off. The last leg of our hike took us along a ridge we followed to the east. We could hear and then see the highway below us. So many cars! The terrain to the north was different from what we’d been hiking through over the last section. Huge, sparsely forested granitic knolls towered over the road. It was very scenic and we looked forward to entering the beautiful North Cascades after our resupply. With the lure of town just ahead it felt like it took us forever to hike the last few miles. My knee was bothering me a little, too, and despite the flat-looking elevation map it seemed like we had a lot of up and down over rocky trail.
Finally we turned a corner and could see the pass below us at the bottom of the ski hill – just like White Pass but better weather and more people. Soon we reached civilization, our hotel room, and all the luxuries that came with it. We made an expensive visit to the local convenience store to pick up our packages and snacks, then returned to do our laundry and relax in front of the TV. We are entering another stretch of bad weather. Just in time for the start of fall, a wet, windy, cold front is pushing through. We will likely stay the day tomorrow to rest our aching feet. We’re excited to see the scenic trail north of here – if we can through the fog – but it will be nice not to have to put on damp, stinky shoes tomorrow.