Total Miles: 2312.8
Tearing myself away from a cozy bed was made only slightly easier by the fact that although the clouds still hung in the sky like unwanted guests it at least was not raining. As this grand adventure nears its home stretch, I've noticed that comfortable town stays like last night bring my mind closer to the home that awaits me when this incredible hike comes to a close. Thinking about this as we walked along trail studded with small lakes this morning, it was the first time that I've really begun to reflect on this hike as a whole, taking in the immensity of the entire experience, while also allowing my thoughts to briefly drift towards what it might feel like when I take my final steps on this trail. On quiet trail with almost no other hikers, it was a perfect day to look back and to look forward, to balance my daily focus on the present and the task at hand with thoughts of the trail's end and life after the PCT.
By late morning, we had crossed the 2300-mile mark meaning that Canada was now a mere 350 miles away. Not exactly a stone's throw, but thinking back on the first 350 miles of the trail I remembered how quickly those miles had gone by, and compared to how far we've now come I know these remaining weeks will be gone in a flash.
The sun made a brief appearance at times, but for the most part the clouds only thickened as the day wore on. By the time we entered the very southeastern portion of Mt. Rainier National Park in the late afternoon, we were again wrapped in one continuous cloud that stretched in all directions and completely obscured the location of the mountain itself. Our only solace was that we'd been spared any rain for a change.
Perched on a small knoll off the trail and high above a distant valley below, I can hear the indescribably strange sounds of elk calling to one another as dusk melts into night. Having seen signs of them all day then finally seeing one near our last water source it seems only fitting that their calls are tonight's lullaby.