It rained. I woke up. I walked through the morning in rain of varying intensities, on a direct route to Concrete, skipping the portion of the trail that explores the east shore of Baker Lake. I had been looking forward to hiking the lake, but in such ferocious and sustained rain, and after so many weather days, I decided to leave it be this time and head straight for Concrete. I’m now in a motel, and I’m very excited to sleep tonight with a roof between me and the rain, rather than a piece of plastic suspended just 5 inches above my face.
Tomorrow I head for Sedro-Woolley along a rail-trail that parallels Highway 20. I rode the rail trail once, a number of years ago, on a bike trip I took across the state on Highway 20, but tomorrow I’ll see it with fresh eyes, with PNT-hiking eyes. I’ll also see all the conveniences that come along with civilization: sandwich shops, coffee stands, cell service. This is a part of the trail I’ve often mused on, the part of crossing the dense urban ribbon of the I-5 corridor. It will be a new kind of hiking experience on this trail.
The geometry of trail time is distinctly non-Euclidean. Days I’ve just left shrink to nothing behind me, disappearing. Days before me stretch out long, almost unthinkably dense with minuscule moments, little packets of time to be lived through. But now there on the horizon, west, is the end of the trail. A few weeks or so still, but there nonetheless. It can cast its shadow here, without the Cascade Mountains to block it.