slow glowing » glowing, slowly

PCT day 21: hot springs

This morning Backup takes some time to repair his shoe — the repair has become obligatory at this point, with a huge gash in the upper along one side, from arch to toe. He sews it together handily with dental floss, covers that with medical tape and duct tape, and tacks the tape down with more floss stitches. When we start walking, he’s pleased with his handiwork: “My shoe feels like a shoe!”

Today’s hike is beautiful! We find ourselves in the kind of forest that’s all decomposition and recomposition, fallen logs and little trees growing from the fallen logs, moss and mushrooms everywhere, the trail springy with pine duff. We spot pink flagging on a branch by the trail. “BIG TREE VIEW,” it says, with an arrow — we look and see another bit of flagging twenty feet off the trail. Modern-day will-o-wisps! We follow and do indeed get a view of a big tree. We’re in big tree country.

We cross a bridge over what I think is the Snoqualmie River — some branch of it anyway. The rushing water has worn the rocks smooth into chutes. We climb down to collect some water and can’t resist hopping around on the rocks for a few minutes before we hike on. 

Further down the trail, we hear water again. Another creek no doubt — but when we get closer, the noise is revealed to be from an actual honest-to-god showerhead attached to a tree trunk. There is an honest-to-god shower right next to the trail, plumbed from the river (we assume) and constantly going. “What!” I exclaim at least a half dozen times. The water’s cold but we rinse our hands for kicks. 

And just a bit further — a fountain! Made out of pipe and old rusted parts of something, with rocks placed in a circle all around to make a little pool. This trail crew was definitely having some fun. 

Another bridge over the river, but instead of crossing, we follow signs for Goldmyer Hot Springs. In no time at all, we’re arriving at the little cabin and the sign that says “ring bell when arriving.” Turns out they do have room for us; we pay to camp for the night and go claim our spot down by the river at a site with big log benches and a little table made out of old metal equipment of some sort. It’s early, sure, but what a sweet spot. We spend the rest of the afternoon lounging in the sun, soaking our feet in the river, and doing as much nothing as possible. In the evening we make dinner with our mosquito headnets pulled down over our faces while we cook and cinched down around our foreheads and over our ears, lunch-lady-style, when we need to take bites. 

The hot springs themselves are a little hike away. We have them briefly to ourselves as dusk falls: a few pools of varying temperatures and, most wonderfully, a deep dark cave full of water and steam at the top. Backup sits at the very back, immersing himself in it, while I mostly sit in and out of the slightly cooler pool just outside the mouth of the cave. It’s fantastic, and we stay until dark, then walk back down to our campsite and drink mint tea by moonlight. 

We’re up later than usual, but tomorrow we just have ten miles into Snoqualmie Pass. In the morning I bet we’ll soak again before we leave, anyway. 

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