July 29th, 2018
Killen Creek mm 2244.5 to Road 23 mm 2229
Distance: 15.5 miles
We were all up very early as usual. I beat my record again of being on trail at 0520! It was nice to enjoy the growing light and cool temperatures. Also, the mossies aren’t as active that early.
The trail was going around the flanks of Mt Adams all morning, so there were a lot of little ups and downs, in and outs of the fluted valleys. There were also plentiful streams and views of Adams. I could just see the tops of Rainier and St Helens through the haze. The smoke from wildfires has moved in it seems. It may have been my last view of Rainier for now.
I entered a burn area which was actually nice since there were ripe huckleberries and strawberries. It wasn’t too hot yet.
We were trying to do 15.5 miles by 1130, because that’s when Skybird’s parents were coming to meet her. We were right on schedule, even early, but then we came to a road and found this sign.
No respectable thru-hiker can pass up trail magic, even if you know another one is coming up in less than a mile. Sam and Tony had pancakes, soda and tons of snacks. They also had a bug tent with chairs to rest in. These guys really put some thought into it! Thanks guys for your generosity and hospitality!
We had to get moving fast to achieve our meet-up goal, so I ate an apple while walking the last mile. I was blown away again when I got to Skybird’s parent’s setup. They had opened the back of their trunk to reveal soda, beer, sandwiches, chips, salsa, guacamole, raspberries, blackberries, oranges, and watermelon. And they had already started feeding hikers before we arrived. A small crowd of hungry mouths had gathered.
It was very cute seeing how happy the daughter and parent reunion was. It reminded me of when I took a few zeros at my parents home, off the CO trail. Parents just love feeding stray hikers. I was quickly adopted and it was great.
Skybird and Mom (Shelly)
Dad (Ray) feeding the 6 hungry mouths of the Strawbridge family.
Taylor later arrived, along with the Strawbridge family. It was great getting to share their stories for awhile. We are all so impressed by a family that can hike thousands of miles together. After eating most of their food, we (Skybird, Spatz, and I) squeezed into the back of the ‘rents car and went into town, Trout Lake. Taylor continued on, anxious to get to Oregon. I had decided to go plug into society for a night. Really, I wanted to try the famous huckleberry milkshakes that the town is famous for. Also, it was fun hanging out with Skybird’s family. Shelly and Ray were just so welcoming and sweet.
They invited us all to stay in their hotel room. Squeezing a bunch of hikers into a room is one thing but imposing on parents is another. But they were willing to make it work. Skybird and I shared the other queen-sized bed and Spatz slept on the floor. I’ve stayed in the same room with my parents plenty of times but never someone else’s parents. So funny how things work out on the trail.
We all went to dinner at the Trout Lake Country Inn and had a delicious meal. I had a lamb kafta sandwich which basically had a greek salad on top. It was yummy.
After dinner, we all did facemasks. Skybird picked up this practice while she was living in Korea. Now it’s our thing, since she always has extras in her resupply box.
At 9 pm, were we all in bed and ready to crash. No wild parties this night! I did some online shopping, blog updates, and then was out cold. Another great day, with so many thanks to Shelly and Ray.