Distance hiked today: 26.6 miles / 42.8 km.
It rained a bit last night, gently and with no wind. That's the coziest feeling (when it's not a storm), to be in a tent snuggled into a sleeping bag, listening to the pitter patter of rain drops above you.
I ran into tons of day hikers since there's a trailhead nearby. Many ask where I'm off to, and their eyes go wide as they try to figure out if I'm joking when I say I walked from the Mexican border and I'm headed to Canada. And then they're even more shocked that I've been on trail for 4 months. I mean… yeah, it's hard to grasp the scale of the distance, but it's a long way.
This is often followed by comments like "If I was younger maybe I'd do that but now I'm old!" (by far the most common response). But the thing with thru-hiking is you don't need to be young. You don't need to be an athlete. There are people out here from every phase of life and every level of fitness. There's a family with 3 kids aged 2, 3.5 and 5, and they're killing it. people in their 20s, 30s… all the way to 70s and 80s. You can't train to walk 25 miles a day for 5 months until you're actually walking 25 miles a day for 5 months. There's no schedule - you hike your own hike. Take rest days, go slower, do what you need to do.
The one thing you do really need is the desire to do it. Because the biggest challenge of all is inside your head, pushing through tough days, or even just this one hill. Being on trail for a long time, and sometimes wondering what on earth you're doing. Most people would be shocked at what their body can accomplish if they have the right mindset - it's all about the mindset. And you "gotta wanna".
I know there are other logistical and financial barriers, but I'm just saying, if thru-hiking is something you *want* to do, then don't let objections about your ability or age be the main barrier.
Anyways - for today's hike, Mount Rainier gets bigger and bigger as we hiked near it. Saw wild strawberries, TONS of wildflowers, a bit of burn area, and some llamas…
We camped at a cabin shelter, mostly used in winter for snowmobilers. I set up my pad on the ground after sweeping away the dust.
Total trail mileage: 2348 miles / 3777.9 km