The morning started less than impressive in the weather department, but improved all day long and ended up a very nice day.  Being a Sunday near a ski resort, the trail was crowded with day hikers galore.  The climbs and lakes continued and Mt Baker is coming closer into view.

Since I was sleeping on the floor in the RV, I was in charge of starting coffee in the morning.  I told them I was going to wake up at 5:30 but everyone was slumbering peacefully, so I waited until 6:00 before firing up the stove.  Everyone woke quickly, and Legend started making pancakes immediately.  He had a few leftovers from yesterday and make some fresh ones then started dolling them out.  I think we all ate three or four pancakes.  He makes them pretty big.  They filled a paper plate completely.

Legend can always start up an interesting conversation and this morning was no exception.  He told us a little bit about how he got started into the perpetual traveller lifestyle.  The conversation went all over the place.  Business, politics, digging privies, just about everything short of religion.

I didn’t get out of there until 9:00 but I had a very good morning.  I knew that it would be an interesting evening and morning if I stayed and that’s one of the reasons I decided to stay instead of hiking out last evening.  The fact that it rained a little last night and was sprinkling in the morning just gave extra validation for my decision.  It was sprinkling or foggy much of the morning until nearly 11 am.

The trail started out on a gentle downhill for several miles before heading up a steep climb.  It looks like the next few days are going to be the same as the last few days – four or five 1000 to 2000 ft climbs and lots of lakes.  I can see from the overall profile that the climbs are going to get much bigger for the last few days.

As soon as I got to the first lake of the morning, the trail seemed to explode with people.  I must have seen at least fifty day hikers and thirty dogs.  They were all coming from a trailhead about ten miles from Stevens pass that was only a few miles by road from Stevens pass.  I sat and ate lunch at the intersection with that trail and someone new came by at least every three or four minutes.  I saw at least twenty new people come by just at lunch.  The stream never let up.  No one turned North onto the PCT from there, so as soon as I continued hiking, I saw only two day hikers and one thru hiker.

The climbs continued and the lakes continued on the rest of the trail for the afternoon.  I must have walked by ten lakes today.  The second to the last climb for the day was Grizzly peak.  The banner picture is of the trail on Grizzly peak looking straight at Mt Baker.  The red plants are blueberries and huckleberries growing all over the place and they are now over ripe and starting to ferment.  I picked and ate five dozen throughout the day that were at the peak of ripeness, but these were so overripe you could smell the blueberries just walking by them.  It literally smelled like blueberry pies were lining the trail.

There was one more lake to hit at about 6:30 and it seemed like a good place to stop.  I had to climb to get to it, and as I approached, I could smell smoke.  I also ran across a deer decoy at one pass looking straight at the trail.  It took me a while to realize it was a decoy.  With those two clues signalling yahoos were camping there, I decided to keep going.  There was one more big climb and four miles to the next camping area.  I started the climb, keeping my eyes peeled for a hammock spot.  The terrain was very steep and most of the trees were either way too big and far apart, or the trees were too close together, or over terrain too steep to walk on safely.  

Just over the top of the climb, more trees popped up and I found a suitable pair of trees just twenty yards down from the trail.  I set up and cooked dinner and hit the sack about 9 PM.  It was a red sunset as I was setting up, but I had to pull out the headlamp before finishing up.  While sitting here blogging, three hikers have passed by wearing headlamps.  I guess I’m not the only one who feels guilty leaving a town late and wants to make up for lost time by hiking a little bit into the evening.  I will probably pass by them still sleeping in the morning.