Day 136: 8/22/14, PCT Milemarker 2506.3

Miles hiked: 16.3
Cumulative PCT Miles: 1548.8
Camped at: random ridge campsite with Journal and Contrail nearby

Lightening on exposed ridges is always unnerving. While I had energy and time to hike more miles today, I stopped before 4pm when the thunder really got started. It had been raining steadily since before 2, but not storming. Contrail and Journal were slightly ahead of me and when I saw them setting up it seemed best to stop too, as the afternoon saw me climbing into higher country and weaving in and out along exposed ridgelines – while there are some protected areas, like where we are camped, the majority is not. It rained for several more hours, and while the thunderstorm wasn’t bad, it is certain I would’ve been a lot colder and wetter if I had continued. Since I planned food for 15 mile days after hearing about the rugged terrain here in Section K (which hasn’t really started yet, I don’t think) I am right on schedule since I hiked 14 miles yesterday out of Stevens Pass. A nice easy day despite the rain. Many envious looks were shot my way due to the umbrella :). The hardest part about stopping early was refraining myself from eating more than my daily allotment.

This morning was super misty on top of Mt Grizzly, and chilly – autumn is definitely approaching, fast. Such a different quality to the air than simply a cool summer day. I wore my long sleeved hiking shirt all morning for the first time since I got rid of my desert shirt, and only had it off for the climb after lunch before the rain started. Perfect hiking weather, rain excluded! I took time to dry out my tent at lunch, in one of the few sunny periods, and was so happy I did – while it is even more wet now, my morale is so much better starting off with a dry home. I’m also relieved that back at Snoqualmie I decided to ditch my old (and barely water resistant much less water proof) green rain jacket, and started carrying the heavier duty Marmot set I bought last year on the AT that doesn’t soak through after half an hour. It does take some finessing to regulate temperature while hiking (easy to get too hot/sweaty on the climbs if I keep the jacket closed and too cold on the downhills if the jacket is open) but the umbrella certainly helps a great deal! Hopefully the weather forecast is still accurate for partly cloudy and no rain tomorrow so I can once again dry everything out.

Another fall today, totally because I wasn’t paying attention – took a face plant after lunch, after tripping on the smallest branch imaginable. Good grief. At least no injuries this time.

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