Wellllll we sleep in a bit this morning. It’s 11 by the time we both leave camp. We’re about 26 miles from White Pass, our next resupply stop, but we don’t have another 26-mile day in us, so we may as well take it easy today and hike together. Backup’s Achilles’ tendon is hurting, which slows him down enough that I can keep up.
The trail is a mix of vaguely alpine rocky dusty, open forest, grassy beautiful-light meadow, stunning I mean STUNNING views of Mount Rainier.
We’re back in slightly wetter territory, with water every few miles and even a few seasonal streams running that aren’t on our map. We stop at one of these for a long break when we hear some twig-breaking nearby and see the bushes move maybe 20 feet up the slope above us. “There’s something big up there,” Backup says, standing up. It turns out to be a female elk, munching on the huckleberry bushes. She looks up at us a few times, but we don’t scare her one bit. She kind of scares us a little, and when she continues down the slope towards us, we pick up our packs and move on.
We’re camped tonight near a big creek that could almost be a called a river — it’s like it was further north, when we’d fall asleep to the sound of rushing water almost every night.