WA PCT Section J – Part I, Day 2 – Kendall Katwalk and Getting Sick


Sunday, August 5, 2018
Part I, Day 2. Miles hiked: 11. Elevation gain/loss: +3975/-3520 ft
Just north of Snoqualmie Pass to 3 miles shy of Spectacle Lake

(See the great Instagram pictures here)

I wake at 6:30. I had to pee twice in the night. I always wish I could sleep the whole night through… I was woken once in the night by the headlamp of a night-hiker shouting “Hiker coming through!” In my sleepy delirium I was convinced he was walking literally through our campsite. But alas- he was on the main trail. He must of mistaken the reflective bits on our tents for night-time animal eyes because he added “Sorry to wake you!” and continued on down trail. Our goal today is Spectacle Lake, 14 miles away, or beyond if we’re feeling good.

I wake Mark by throwing sticks at his tent. We pack up and are out of camp a little after 9. Much more ambitious than our noon start the previous day. Up to the Kendall Katwalk. Very beautiful. The real start of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Snack at the view. It’s a warm day with lots of sun and exposure. Great views of the aptly named Red Mountain throughout the morning. Gravel Lake, Ridge Lake, Alaska Lake. Some steady climbing, ups and downs, then Joe Lake. A break for lunch in the shade. The alleged “seasonal creek” is nowhere to be found. Damn. Note to self: read the Guthook app notes about each water source before running out of water. Mark runs hot and the heat does not make him a happy camper.

We continue on up through the exposed terrain. Another shade break. Very low on water. Mark is too kind and shares some of his with me. Just in time we find a tiny alpine lake where three other hikers are hanging out and we grab one more liter of water each. The landscape is beautiful and dramatic. Ridges, mountains, and alpine lakes for miles. We wind our way inside the ridge just below Huckleberry Mountain, Chickamin Peak, and the Four Brothers. A few sketchy drop-offs make me nervous (maybe a new trail name for me: Nervous Nelly? Will have to think on it…)

At a snow patch we take the opportunity to cool off. Mark is officially not feeling well. We eventually cross over the pass into the Parks Lake Basin and wind our way down, down, down. Lovely views of the Park Lakes. Three miles to go to Spectacle Lake. Why don’t we stop at this pond and camp for the night? It’s been a long day. We pull off the trail around 5pm and take a dip in the cool-enough pond. Feels great. Relax for a minute, then we set up our tents as escape from the ravenous mosquitos (the dark side of so many alpine lakes). Mark crawls into his tent and promptly falls asleep. He feels like garbage.

I chill the last of the wine – leftovers from Goldmyer which we’ve been toting around for too long. Look at maps. Get situated. Write. Sip wine. Cook dinner – Good-to-Go Thai Curry – which is pretty good and incredibly filling despite it containing only 750 calories. Poop in the woods at dusk. On my way back to my tent I startle a deer, which startles me. Mark is not feeling very well but manages to eat a few snacks between his naps. Asleep between 9 and 9:30pm…


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