PCT Day 110: Snoqualmie Tunnel

Miles Hiked: 29.2

PCT Mileage: 2107.9

Today I woke up pretty early. I woke up on and off throughout the night thinking it was time to leave already. It was weird and I had some strange dreams. I left camp at 5:50am before anyone else. I hiked downhill for a mile and a half before running into Trash Panda who I was surprised to see up so early. Normally he sleeps in. Before I ran into him I was pushing spider webs out of the way off the trail. Being the first person down the trail in the morning usually results in this. I had my trekking poles in front of my face sometimes to prevent the webs from getting on me. I didn’t want to run into any big spiders. I did see a pretty big one suspended in the middle of the air. I would have ran straight into it if I wasn’t paying attention. They creep me out.

I got water a little over four miles from camp. I had to take a 0.2 mile side trail to a stream to get it. I passed Midnight on my way back to the trail. Trash Panda and I hiked together for the morning. It was nice to have the company of someone new for once. Especially to take my mind off of how hungry and weak I felt going up some of the steeper climbs. I feel like I haven’t been able to eat enough for the past two days. I am short on food and have been trying to ration but it’s been so hard when I feel absolutely ravenous. I decided to assess my food situation at the next water stop. My stomach was already growling and I couldn’t help but stop to pull out a trail mix. My pack felt really light and my food bag empty for how much walking I still needed to do today. At the water source 11 miles in to the day, I realized I had almost no food left. One couscous meal with ghee, a handful of peanuts, and a handful of chips. Definitely not even close to enough for the next 20 miles. Shit.

Midnight showed up and asked how I was doing on my food levels. I told her I screwed up and didn’t have close to enough. She told me she was in the exact same boat. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever messed up a food carry this drastically before. I think I am totally underestimating how much food I need to eat now. I haven’t had a normal menstrual cycle since the first month that I started this trail. I have been feeling pretty low every and depleted since Mile 400 which is bizarre for me. The last month has been one of the hardest to over come fatigue. Definitely all signs I’m somehow not eating enough. I felt like such an idiot for screwing up this bad on my food. At this point I know I can’t afford to under eat for the rest of this trail. Lately I have been feeling so burnt out physically. I mentally don’t want this trail to be over but I am so tired of feeling dreadfully fatigued every day now. I just want this feeling to go away but I don’t think it will until I finish this trail. I want to take an entire week to rest my body and not hike. I was originally thinking about continuing to hike into the late fall like I did last year but the closer I get to the end of this trail the more I question how much I really want to do that.

Midnight and I talked about taking an alternate route we both individually found on Guthook from Stampede Pass in four miles. We were both bummed about missing out on camping at a cool lake we were looking forward to if we did this. We also both felt so hungry and screwed to not have enough food. We really hoped there would possibly be trail magic at this road crossing. We decided to make the decision on what to do when we got there. Trail Diva had enough food but she was totally down to take an easier route and get to town quicker. At the pass we decided to do just that and Midnight and I ate the rest of our food knowing the next 15 or so miles would be challenging. We walked the first three miles all downhill on a gravel road. My best friend Teresa called me and I was so stoked to get to talk to her for an hour. We don’t get to talk too much because I never have cell service and she is incredibly busy with graduate school and work. It made the time fly by. After the road, we turned onto a gravel bike path that essentially functioned as a road for a few utility cars we saw. The trail followed a large lake and Interstate 90 was on the other side. We passed by a signed “backcountry campground” with a picnic table, tent pads, and a pit toilet that even had hand sanitizer. I was absolutely stunned by the amenities. How nice! I wish we could camp there. We took a break. I pretended not to notice how hungry I was. Thankfully the trail was totally flat. I saw signs for Snoqualmie Tunnel and got excited that we might get to see something cool. Some bike packers with paniers passed us. It seemed like we were on a long distance biking trail. Eventually we ended up at Hyak TrailHead. This is where I found the nicest trailside bathroom ever. It has flush toilets, mirrors, outlets, and heated showers for $1.75 for 7.5 minutes. The cheapest shower on the trail! I was blown away. I just paid $10 to take a cold shower at Whites Pass a few days ago. From the Hyak TrailHead I could route us using Google maps to the Chevron at Snoqualmie Pass in walking distance on the PCT. It didn’t go through Snoqualmie Tunnel but I found it was close by on the map and wanted to go check it out. I figured we could do a short bushwhack up to the road we needed to be on once we got to the other side of the tunnel.

The tunnel was tall, dark, and creepy. Mist was rolling out of it and it was dank and cold. A really cool gate was open at the entrance. It said the tunnel is closed November to May. It looked like we were walking into something from Harry Potter. The inside reminded me of the Chamber of Secrets. It was wild how big the tunnel was. The ceiling was so tall and looked like it had long thin stalagtites on it. I could tell it was an old rail road tunnel. We kept walking into the dark eventually turning on our head lamps. We were so creeped out and it just kept going on and on. Eventually I realized this tunnel might not end for a long time. Crazy enough I actually had cell service in the tunnel. I googled how long it was. Well over two miles. Wild! I couldn’t find where it came out but it didn’t seem like it was going near where we needed to go. We turned around and it felt like a long walk back out. I couldn’t believe how far we walked in before turning around. Probably almost a half mile. Once again I was so glad for my awesome high power headlamp. Once out of the tunnel we bushwhacked up a steep hill to the road and walked three pavement miles into town. My feet were killing me and my stomach was too. I needed to eat so bad. When we got there I went straight to the Chevron to pick up my new shoes and a package that my friend Teresa sent me. I told her I needed three days of food and she sent me a box that weighed almost 12 lbs. Well at least I will definitely not run out of food this time! I was glad. The post office lady had a really hard time finding my box. I was so stressed until we found it.

Afterwards I went to find Midnight and Trail Diva at a restaurant across the street. My arms felt so weak carrying the boxes. I felt like I was going to fall over in exhaustion and I could feel my muscles wasting away. Dramatic but true. I could barely function to plug in my electronics. Trail Diva and Midnight we’re laughing at me. They helped me order a beet salad and a falafel wrap with chips for dinner. We also all had frozen Palomas. I thought I would be instantly drunk from it since I had such an empty stomach and I am an extreme light weight when it comes to drinking. It turns out I was already so energy depleted the alcohol didn’t change too much. I could barely function as it was. I ravenously ate two whole meals within 30 minutes. Absolutely everything was gone from my plate. It was some of the best food I had on trail. It was also the most expensive meal I ate on trail. $70 after tip! Insane for me to treat myself to something like that but it was so great and I didn’t really have too many other choices. The waitress was really rude which sucked but I was just glad to be in town. I couldn’t believe her walking around yelling at people to get out after we spent so much money on the meal. The other guests were a bit shocked and I 100% would have been fired for doing that at any of my last jobs. Wow.

We were going to stay in bunks at the Washington Alpine Club but we decided to get a hotel across the street. Both Midnight and I were feeling crazy tired after not having much to eat today and then stuffing ourselves for the last hour. She ended up getting the hotel room for all of us herself which was incredibly nice! We were all so glad to have a private room to sleep in a bed instead of a noisy hostel. As much as I would love to be around other hikers, I needed a night to chill out and recover with way less chaos. The hotel had a hot tub and it was amazing. It wasn’t very hot but we had a nice time relaxing before taking showers and going to bed. I had such a fun day hiking the alt with Midnight and Trail Diva. It definitely was not how I expected the day to go at all. I was so stoked on finding such a cool tunnel off of the PCT. I told so many other hikers about it who were interested. I also wrote up detailed instructions on the route and made a link to a map using Gaia. I had so much fun doing this and was so proud of myself for making it. I want to do more of this in the future or make up and hike unique routes for fun one day! Before we fell asleep Trail Diva and I somehow found the energy to talk to our friend Flamingo from the AT on speaker phone. It was great to catch up and I couldn’t believe he answered us when it was so late on the East Coast! Today was was of my favorite days on the trail.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

Published by Deserrae Potts

Thru Hiker Blogger

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