This weekend we took on our longest backpacking trip yet. It was 15 miles to the top, where we were going to camp. We took Friday off and headed in. The first 10 miles we chatted, laughed, kept a good pace. Then came the switchbacks, for the next 5 miles we didn't talk much and took the longest breaks we've ever taken while hiking. Alas we made it, set up our tent, hiked another mile to check out the view of Image Lake and Glacier Peak. It was stunning, the evening was cloudless and the lighting was making everything glow. Another big plus, there were almost no people around. But there were mosquitos. So many! I can't actually count how many bug bites I have. We spent the early part of the evening smacking each other when bugs landed and eventually cowered in our tent reading Harry Potter until we fell asleep.
The next morning we explored. We found out that if you kept moving the bugs took awhile to locate you, it was a solid plan. Although our feet told us to sit still and do nothing we climbed up to the top of Miner's Ridge where all the mountains erupted once we made it over the top. We normally see Glacier Peak from the opposite side so a lot of these were mountains we'd never seen before. We spent a lot of time looking at a map checking them out and enjoying respite from the mosquitos, who for the time being we'd out run. Rarely in Washington do we get to sit at the top of land so beautiful alone. It was a treat and it was defiantly savored.
We had allocated time for staying another night but being that the bugs made it hard to hang out at night we thought we'd hike down the 5 miles of switchbacks and decide to camp there or hike out. Being who we are, of course, we hiked out. After about 7 miles our feet were screaming and butt muscles I didn't know I had hurt. I had mentioned putting my feet into water would be glorious so when we came upon a waterfall we immediately dropped our packs. Although tired, we ended up hiking about 33 miles in 2 days, the hike out was beautiful. It was almost all forested, which meant glorious shade!! There were also over 40 little water crossings, counting helped me somehow, some were waterfalls cascading down big boulders and some were little trickles. The undergrowth and waterfalls though made the hike so visually pleasurable. Eventually we made it out floored it to the Darrington small burger joint- 2 double bacon cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes later we headed home.
Even though we weren't all giggles and sunshine feelings the whole trip it was really fun to push ourselves in this way. I'm very proud of us. Also my legs feel like jelly and my butt muscles ache, and I have a 90 minutes soccer game tonight- wish me luck!