Day 142: Smokey Bear Just Quit

Date: August 29, 2017
Miles: 2574.3 – 2598.4 “Let’s crush it! Slowly.” Fluffy

I had a dream last night that I was camped by myself on a cliff ledge surrounded by spindly trees, and any move that I would have made would have sent me over the edge. When I woke up, my brain took a while to adjust to reality, so I laid in my quilt motionless for a minute, staring out into the dark morning trying to figure out where the heck I was and if a cliff was involved. I finally turned my head to the other side of my tent, saw Fluffy and Joe Dirt’s tents and remembered that I was in a campground. Not on a ledge about to fall to my death. What a way to wake up!

The morning got better when I ate the squished kuchen I carried out from stehekin. Since we have less than 80 miles to Canada and four days to get there (Donkey and Polliwog will have a ride waiting for them on September 1st and I have a lodge reservation. I hope they have bathrobes and a hot tub!), we decided to slow down a bit and do around 20 miles a day so that we can take it easy and enjoy the scenery in the North Cascades. Some fire from somewhere thwarted that plan somewhat today, however, by blanketing the area with a smoky haze, and the heat and humidity (surprise! We’ve managed to hit another heat wave!) helped keep it around.

I was still impressed by what I could see of the massive peaks that rose up around us when we finally reached the end of a twenty mile climb out of the trees and up to Cutthroat Pass. This part of the country is so dauntingly beautiful and I feel so wonderfully small out here.

We went beyond the Pass about five more miles and camped in a valley about a mile below Methow Pass. An orange half moon rose and a warm breeze blew past us occasionally as we set up tents, cleaned up in the icy stream and had dinner together. It began to sink in that I only have a few more days to be with this group of lovely, hilarious people that I’ve grown to love like family and I fought off the creeping sadness I felt with gratitude for their presence in my life.