I’ve heard over and over again that Washington is the most beautiful section of the Pacific Crest Trail. None of it actually hit home until I got here and realised people weren’t exaggerating.
And now I feel like I’ve used up all of the adjectives on the Sierras that I should have saved for here.
THIS is stunning.
THIS is magical.
THIS stops me in my tracks.
The Sierras were gorgeous, of course, but Washington is on a whole new level.
We didn’t even start walking until 1:30PM.
Holden used to be a teensy little mining town, but was gifted to the Lutheran church, and is now run as a retreat/conference centre. They do have rooms available to stay in, but they are in a whoooole other bracket than [most] hikers are able to pay, so PCTers tend to just camp in a field down the road.
However, their buffet breakfast is definitely within our price range, so we went and enjoyed bottomless coffee and fresh yogurt and fruit and cornbread with butter and honey.
I had to visit the post office to reship my love box further down the trail (have to ration out all those Tim Tams and Bounty’s!). But I did keep the socks. Ladybirds and big thick woolly socks? My fam couldn’t have chosen better!
By the time we meandered back to camp and packed up our tents, it was time for second breakfast, and cards, and more coffee. And then somehow it was 1:30PM!
It was a fun walk.
There were some tough climbs on and off, but I believe they’re only a taste of what’s to come: for all its beauty, Washington is also full of steep steep elevation.
Surprisingly, I didn’t feel too wiped. I thought I might have, with having a solid ten days off and feeling out of practice, but I had a pep in my step the whole afternoon. Passing waterfalls and sharp mountains and lakes like this helped, I’m sure.
Yes, we swam.
And yes, it was the coldest water I have EVER been in. I don’t know how it was colder than Helen Lake up at Muir Pass, but it definitely was.
The green never ended.
I hope it doesn’t.
I must have thanked the Prodigal a dozen times for encouraging us to flip. I wouldn’t want to do this in October: having all these wildflowers covered by snow, the berries we pick right from the path long gone, rain and sleet coming down most days.. There’s no doubt I’d be positively miserable. It’s cold enough already, and it’s still August!
Right now, I’m in my tent. Rain fly is up simply just to try and lock in some semblance of heat tonight. I’m wearing my thermals and rain jacket (again, this one generally locks in heat pretty good… generally), I’ve got a gloriously thick pair of woollen socks that Karen and Co. just sent me yesterday. I’ve got my gloves on, and orange buff double up around my ears, and puffy down hood that’s basically a beanie on steroids. I’ve got my sleeping quilt tucked in right around me, and I’m still shivering.
I hate the cold.
But if it means I can have days like today, I guess I’ll learn to live with it.