|Sunset over Waptus Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness|
Under an overcast sky in the summer of 2007, Sydney and I set forth on the PCT from the top of Snoqualmie Pass. It would be my first solo multi-night backpack trip. For weeks I weighed and packed, reweighed and repacked.
There weren't too many other folks on the trail and since I had been training I made a pretty good time. We passed the Kendall Katwalk and headed towards Gravel Lake where we would spend out first night. Close to the top we found snow. This was mid-July and the snow should have been gone by then, but a cold winter and weak spring left a thicker pack in the upper elevations.
We trudged though the first few snow fields, but as I watched a young couple we had met early post hole and slip, I knew the trip wasn't meant to be. With tears in my eyes, I turned us around and ran, literally, seven miles and 3,000 feet back to the car. My friend was going to move my car from the PCT trailhead across the Pass to the Pete Lake trailhead where I should have walked out five days later. I needed to beat him there or I would have been stranded.
In hindsight, I should have continued. Where I ran into snow was most likely at or above the highest elevations I would reach. But, because I was alone I turned around. Many would say that was the smart decision.
The bright side of this story is that the following week, when I should have been hiking hike, I built up the nerve to ask The Hubs out. He said no. But I kept at it and that following Thursday we were at the parkway Tavern sipping Guinness and trying to keep my first date distance. Didn't work.
Moral of the story, yes, I'm glad I turned around, but that hike does haunt me and I can't wait to get back on it. Since then, I've hiked a number of beautiful trails up in the big AL and intend to keep at it until I've hit them all. Watch out!
Do you have a favorite Alpine Lakes hike or story? If so, send them my way. Until then, go hiking. You never know, you might not reach ever peak, but you could fall in love.
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