September 2, 2017
American Ridge Trail Junction – Chinook Pass – Snoqualmie Pass (2314.67-2321.34-2390.60)
This morning’s hike was nice and short, and pretty scenic. Within the first mile of the day, we bumped into a guy who had thru-hiked last year. When he found out we were also thru-hikers, he immediately asked, “Are you guys hungry? Do you want some candy?”. We weren’t going to say no to that, so he have us each a chocolate bar, which was a really nice start to the day after a pretty hard day yesterday.
Smoke in the valley
The trail was crowded with day hikers and weekend trippers today, so it’s a Saturday and we’re so close to a national park. We passed by a bunch of beautiful lakes, got some great views of Rainier, and saw a ton of other beautiful sights. It was a really nice hike. We got to the trailhead parking lot a bit before noon, and ran into another thru-hiker whose husband has been running support for her along the trail in an RV. Apparently he had brought her ice cream, and she gave us a cone of it! It was so nice and unexpected (and delicious).
Unfortunately, the road leaving the parking area to go east was closed, which meant there was no through traffic coming by. That meant we had to rely on someone leaving the parking area to give us a ride. Since it was Saturday morning, everyone was just arriving to start their day or overnight hikes, and getting a hitch did not look too hopeful at first. But in the end, we actually didn’t have to sit there for too long before a couple stopped to give us a ride. They took us to a town called Enumclaw, which is about halfway between Chinook Pass and Snoqualmie Pass, and dropped us off at the McDonald’s. We sat in the McDonald’s for a while eating some lunch and using WiFi before continuing on the hitching adventure.
We walked over to the highway that would get us to where we wanted to go and started hitching again. After a while, a VW Bug pulled over to pick us up! It was super exciting because punch buggies are one of the types of vehicles that we always kind of half heartedly stick our thumbs out for and joke about how unlikely it is that they’ll give us a ride (along with motor cycles, transport trucks, and super fancy cars). The girl driving took us to the entrance of the freeway that would lead to Snoqualmie Pass, and we once again began to stick out our thumbs.
Eventually, a guy in a truck named Cas picked us up and said he could take us all the way to Snoqualmie Pass! Success! During the drive, we got to talking, and he ended up inviting us to spend the night at his family’s cabin, where they were all gathering for a long weekend celebration. Given that evening was coming on and we weren’t sure about where to camp that night, we couldn’t pass up the offer. I couldn’t believe how incredibly welcoming everyone at the cabin was. It seemed like none of them even questioned why these two smelly strangers were crashing their family get together. It was amazing. They gave us beer and food, let us shower, and basically treated us like family. We pitched our tent in the yard, and it was the perfect ending to a long day. The trail provides, folks.