One of the cool factors about hiking SOBO, is that I get to cross paths with all the hikers who will be finishing their journey on the Canadian border. Up in the Northern Cascades, I would go for days without seeing another human. The solitude has been fantastic, but there is no better energy boost on a hard uphill than sharing a few words and smiles with these hikers. I finally started to run into the NOBO's in central Washington: Happy-Harry-Hungry-Humans about to finish the journey I just began. You can just feel their accomplishment and share in their pride. These guys have almost seen it all.
Trail towns (or gas stations) have been an absolute delight. What a wonderful opportunity to take off your shoes, sip on a Bloody Mary or a few beers while stuffing your stomach in great company. My biggest struggle is packing up and hiking out. The Aardvark Express in Snoqualmie Pass blew my mind. Bacon egg spinach wrap drizzled with honey? WHAT??? A little trail break with Carrot, Twinkle and Crispies made my day. Rooming up with Milestone, Pockets, Grapenuts and Prom Date in White Pass was something to remember. I miss you already! Finally meeting Bear Claw and Dirt Monger was a joy. Camping with Young Grasshopper at Lava Springs made me realize that there may just be something to carrying a stove... still dreaming about the hot cocoa you shared with me. So many trail names, so many stories, and so much more to come.