Of Face Plants and Mountain Views

Janelle invited me to join her and her friend Annie, who we realized later, we had hiked together before. Turned out neither of them had been North on the Pacific Crest Trail from Snoqualmie Pass. And had it really been 2006 since I had last hiked that section? Apparently so.

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Janelle loves early starts, and this was a late one for her – we were on the trail by 6:30 am. I love those starts! It is cool, no bugs and even better, like no one else on the trail.

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The Tooth. One thing about this section of the PCT is starting low and climbing up and up, till you are higher than the peaks!

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A long time ago I rarely paid attention to rocks and boulders. Stop and look, take in life, like a 3-year-old and you see so much more!

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Red Mountain in the distance.

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Janelle loving sunrise at the avy opening. All of us were!

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We had amazing blue skies, cool temps and the hiking was going well.

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Even Fireweed can be a lovely flower.

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Janelle and Annie – just found out how much more they have to climb uphill…..

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The best was they didn’t realize you could see Rainier from the trail, as you enter the Kendall Rock Gardens. That and the marmot babies playing pretty much made the day a winner.

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I could walk trail like this all day.

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Rainier was simply gorgeous.

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The rock garden section is worth the long switchbacks in the woods. I have walked this section 3 times before and it is always beautiful.

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It is hard to see, we watched a couple of young marmots play and scamper all over, below us.

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The rocks as you wind around the trail reflect the rocks across, of Red Mountain, and yet match nothing else on this side.

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Red is of itself, matching nothing. The original Cascade Crest Trail went this was, instead of the now way.

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Finally, when I am sure Janelle and Annie didn’t believe me anymore, the Katwalk showed up. And it wasn’t clogged with others. Oh, getting up early pays off!

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Looking South, after crossing it. I was thinking, how in 2006 I had been so miserable and ready to be in the parking lot at that point. I had been out of food, and was putting in a 19 mile day to get there. All I wanted to do was crawl down that stupid trail. Needless to say, I enjoyed it a bit more this time.

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Looking North.

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Janelle and Annie on the Katwalk.

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The worst part of this area? Knowing that it only gets better with every step you take, heading North. It is hard to tell hiking partners that um….you just gotta keep going. Work doesn’t need you that badly ;-)

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Or maybe real life does need you, so you get heaven for a few hours.

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The Mountain Ash was very pretty. Even better were all the Blueberries and Huckleberries, prime and tasty!

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As we dropped back down, the weather was slowly shifting. Clouding over, getting humid.

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Still, the flowers were just as gorgeous.

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And then that long, long hike down once you leave the last views. I was pretty tired, from our early start. Had the “best” face-plant I have done in decades. Thought I had caught myself and then “Bam!”, I went forward. Fell really good, on my right arm. Right on my camera, I might add. Thankfully it seems to be OK, with a deep cleaning. And I have a ton of awesome bruises to show off ;-) Was a great near 13 miles we did and it rained after, so that was a bonus ;-)

~Sarah

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