|Views of Sheep Lake|
Another thing we enjoyed on today’s hike was the people we met along the way. Most we only said a quick “hi” in passing, but I was encouraged by who they were. We saw what appeared to be a large group (perhaps a church group) consisting of several adults and many teens. This group had overnight packs on their backs, so they must have been out for at least one night. We also saw several young families, moms and dads with young children. Some of them appeared to have been out overnight. It did my heart good to see these young people undertaking a not so easy task instead of just lying around on the sofa with their heads in TV.
Another group we saw, but were never close enough to speak to, was a group of about 8 women. They came behind us, but didn’t come as far around the lake as we did. We could hear them laughing, though. They were certainly having their share of fun.
On our return trip, we encountered an elderly couple, perhaps in their mid 70s. They said they come to Mt Rainier every year. I hope when I’m that age, I can still be so active. They were an inspiration.
Perhaps our favorite encounters were the four long distance hikers we met. We talked to them to find out a little of their story. Two of the four were finishing up their last section of the trail. They had started at the Mexican border in 2005 and gone as far as Mt. Hood that year. Ten days ago, they started at Mt. Hood and are headed to the Canadian border. The other two were moving right along (PCT hikers typically do 20+ miles a day) and didn’t stop to talk for very long. We did learn that one of them had hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2002 and thought he might do it again in a few years. These last two were ultralight hikers with such tiny packs. Gene was envious of their light (probably less than 20 lbs) loads.
For such a short hike, it was filled to the brim with good stuff. A pretty much perfect day.