Total Miles: 2549.9
The moon was bright and clear in its corner of the sky as it rose above the shoulder of the mountain we camped high upon last night, but it didn't last--it too was soon swallowed by the clouds that cast a light but cold rain down on my tent overnight. When I woke this morning, little had changed and it was off again in full rain gear once more, hoping for the best. The emotional pendulum had swung wildly back from the high of having dried out all of my gear yesterday and into the uncertainty of what was in store today.
During that first hour of the early morning, windows of sunshine and blue sky would open and close in a matter of minutes, draping the entire landscape with a sense of uncertainty. Will this be a repeat of two days ago, or will the sun push the clouds out to pasture once and for all? At that early hour, I knew that the answer to that question would have significant implications for my psyche one way or the other and it illuminated the notion that, despite the obvious physical challenge, this entire adventure is far more a test of mental endurance than anything else.
I may not believe in fate, destiny, religion, or "the universe", but what I do believe is that, on balance, things tend to work out for the better more often than not, provided I've empowered myself to see things as they truly are and not merely how I wish them to be. And so it was with that internal steeling that I pushed ahead, ready to meet whatever the weather might bring.
The answer to the morning's question turned out to be: a little of everything. Down through yet more of the rough, overgrown trail that has defined the Glacier Peak Wilderness, the glimmers of sun disappeared, replaced with a steady rain that would only briefly abate when the trail passed by the trunk of a large cedar or hemlock whose foliage created a mini umbrella.
An hour later, the rains had disappeared and the sun seemed to be making more of an effort to pierce the gray, but by lunch time it was back to a light rain that would steadily build as we climbed away from the Suiattle River.
As it became more persistent during the long climb up, the rain at first seemed to thicken slightly before my eyes realized that it was slowly transitioning to sleet, which in turn gave way to snow. By now, we'd ascended through not one but two separate layers of clouds, above which was the best weather we'd had in hours. It was a winter wonderland in September.
With ever-evolving weather, I went through more wardrobe changes than perhaps any other day on trail thus far. The wet and cold final hours of the day magnified the usual end-of-day fatigue, and with only 100 miles remaining, the trail certainly appears to be doing its best to exact its pound of flesh. Wrapped in a warm cocoon of down, it's time to recharge for another day.