Days 22-26: Tough Hiking and Epic Mice Battles

October 2nd-6th; Skykomish to Stahekin, WA This was a very difficult stretch between town stops. As usual we weren’t able to get a good start of town. We were on the trail by 11:30 and had 18 miles planned to do. Part of the difficulty was also the Esther. We had checked the forecast and it loomed like we had some rain for at least the first night but it was very cold, foggy, and rainy for most of those two days. The other thing was the elevation gain and loss. Everyday we had at least one 3,000 foot ascent and descent and often two. These can be very draining and rough on the body over extended periods (especially the down), so even on 23 mile days we’d be getting in at or after dark. All that said, we were luck enough that rain, for the most part, held off,
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Day 21: Going for a Swim, in October… In an Alpine Lake

October 1st; 22 miles Today was a lot like yesterday, except that we probably milked the leisure time a little too much, taking plenty of long breaks. Even though we got into camp after dark, it was definitely worth it to enjoy the weather. It was so nice in fact that after a hot climb right after lunch, we all went for a swim in a lake. The water was freezing, and no one lasted much mire than a few seconds, but it was worth it, we felt clean (even if we really weren’t that much cleaner) and the sun dried us off in no time. It’s the unexpected breaks like these that can make you fall behind but they can also be the best because there’s usually a good reason for them, and what better one then for a quick dip in an alpine lake on the first day
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Day 20: A Perfect Hiking Day

September 30th; 22 miles Today was an absolutely perfect day of hiking, and it really reminded me, and I think everyone else, why we love doing this so much. We had about the same amount of miles but 2 hours more to do them as yesterday and we’d try more carefully not to get lost. I took off first in the morning, around 8, til I got to the top of the 1st big climb, another 3,000 footer covered in about 6 miles. The weather was perfect and the views continued to be amazing. It was so nice in fact that after the climb, I took about an hour long break, relaxing at the top. With so much extra time, we got to enjoy our breaks and never stress about miles. Bigfoot, Grinder, BR, Swiss, and I had lunch by a creek, and afterwards, at 3 o’clock, we only has
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Day 19: Making up Those Miles

September 29th; Approximately 22 miles It’s always hard ringer a food stat or or town. We weren’t hiking until about 10:30 when normal it’s closer to 8. But we had soke miles to make up so we had to see what we could do. There was a big 3,000 foot climb out of Snoqualmie Pass during which time we entered the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. This was another area, like Goat Rocks which I completely missed in the rain, that. Had heard a lot if great things about. So I was very thankful for the perfectly blue skies we had as well as die the fact thar we hadn’t hiked out he da before, when the cloud cover would have completely obscured the views. He terrain was spectacular. Once the trail had climbed on tip if the ridge we could see other ridges topped with craggy, sometimes snow covered peaks. Also,
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Finishing up a thru-hike

On October 11th, the Sobohobos and I made it to the Canadian border finishing our thru-hikes (Gangles, Steiner, and T-bone still have 400 miles in the south still to finish, but they’re almost there!).  So after a month and a day for me, and an average of 5 months for the others, it’s time to pack up and head home.  Finishing a thru-hike can be a very bittersweet experience. You spend  a very extended period of time living a totally different kind of life then what you’re used to in the “real world,” where food, lodging, hygiene, routine are all flipped upside down. The end, though, can be tough, as your body starts to break down, adopting what’s known in thru-hiker circles as the “hiker hobble.” We also had to contend with some increasingly cold weather at the end with some frost and snow coupled with some rain.  When you
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