I found myself once again back in the trees with gentle, soft, rock free trail ahead- it all added up to fast miles. Do that even though I stopped to talk to many equestrians along the trail and took a few leisurely breaks, I had done a respectable 16 miles in a half day. I ended up at a campsite by a river with 4 other hikers- Digger, Frosty, Wildflower, and Speed who moved over to make room for me. They had carried out sausages, veggies, and wine in a Gatorade bottle which put my pasta side with tuna to shame.
The next day we entered Rainier National Park and got trail magic at Chinook Pass, in the form of brownies, pears, soda, and chocolate milk. Digger and the others heard a rumor that somebody was coming to the pass with hamburgers and hotdogs and opted to stay a while while I headed off with Smooch and 3 other hikers.
We we passed the beautiful Sheep Lake, where there were lots of day hikers and continued to climb throughout the afternoon. I stopped at a site with a section hiker, Len, while the others continued for a couple more miles.
The he next day, we all reconvened at the Mike Urich Cabin for lunch (a rare shelter on the PCT) and leap frogged past each other all day. It got a big foggy and wet at the top of a big climb, and I stopped to layer up a bit on the descent. We all ended up camping near a dirt road with lots of flat spaces.
I I had planned on taking 2 days to do the remaining 31 miles into the pass, but the weather started to go downhill. It was foggy, then misty, then drizzly. When I reached the campsite I had planned to stay at, it was only 5 and I noticed the temperature had dropped significantly. So I decided to just do the last 6 into Snoqualmie and have a shower and a warm bed.