Miles hiked: 11.06 (+ a couple of miles of road before we got to the trail) (1 to 11.06 of the Goldmyer alternate)
Number of day hikers we blew past on the uphill: 22
So, it was awfully sunny this morning when we finally hit the trail around 10. Clouds encircled the rocky peaks north of Snoqualmie Pass and were hiding low to the south, but the bulk of the sky was bright blue. There was some road walking confusion, as usual, since PCT hikers train themselves to follow one trail and get immediately confused when faced with roads, streets, freeways, even large pieces of furniture. Hell, we get lost in campgrounds.
At any rate, we found the approved alternate trail we'd intended to take. It cuts off a few miles from the regular PCT and passes through some lovely old growth forest and hot springs. Given the weekend timing of our walk, however, we elected to avoid the hot springs. Traffic to the first lake on the trail was very high; we were dodging daywalkers for about 5 miles. After the lake was out of sight, there was nobody.
Truly ancient cedars and firs lined the second trail, Middle Fork. There was an impenetrable carpet of low and middle-sized ferns, moss, lichens and clover. But the trail was a painful contrast to the soft blanket of botanical bliss. Steep, rocky downhill switchbacks flowing with water from the recent rains were doubly dangerous. Deep, silty mud puddles dotted the areas not abusing my feet with tumbled-down pointy rocks. I slid down about a yard, catching myself with the top of the shoe on my trailing foot. The toes came down hard on a rock, and the hammer toe on my right foot yelped with anguish. Think I broke it again.
When we came to the Snoqualmie River bridge with a perfect campsite on its far side, we stopped the downhill madness and apologized to our ankles and knees. Steep downhill is stressful, indeed. I set up my tent at the foot of a grandfather cedar tree. The river is just a few yards away. Lovely place to be.