18 miles plus 13 mile ride
PNT Mile 805
The morning was clear. I packed up my stuff and left my backpack at the pass. With no pack I easily hiked up 1000 feet in 1 mile to the top of Hannegan Peak. It was so worth it. Washington is a peak baggers paradise. There are so many worthwhile peaks to climb and they all get one out of the dense forest.
After getting my pack I walked the 4 miles downhill to the parking area. I caught up to a couple also hiking to the trailhead and as usual struck up a conversation with them. Jesse and Shelly said they could give me a ride out to the Mt Baker Highway. By the time we saw each other again at the trailhead they had met Emma and Chris and decided that they would go out of their way and drive us all of the 13 miles to the next trailhead. This was huge and so appreciated. Jesse and Shelly were on an overnight away from their 3 kids and they still found time to help us out. In the car they offered us 2 bottles of Starbucks frappuccinos. I know they had those in the car as a treat after spending the night out. And they gave them to us. The kindness and generosity of strangers always amazes me and is one of the most awesome things about being out here. Over and over again my faith in humanity is restored. Before we got out of the car they said a prayer for us including a plea to make the upcoming ford safe.
They let us off near the trailhead but also near a sign saying “Cafe Open.” This was a pleasant surprise. I quickly devoured a hot Italian sub and bowl of vegetable soup. Then followed that with a big chocolate chip cookie and zucchini muffin. My body is craving more and different food than I’m giving it.
Then it was finally time to hike.
We had a potentially difficult ford of the Swift River in 8 miles. It was cloudy and threatening to rain which could make the water level rise quickly. It turned out to be pretty easy and below my knees so that was a nice relief. It must have been those prayers.
About a mile after the ford the Brits and I put up our tents in the sand near Rainbow Creek. It was the only flat spot around. It was raining by then so I jumped right in.