Glacier Peak Wilderness - Day 2
Because there are only highways and barely any public transportation in the US, we had to take an Uber just to get breakfast. The man driving us asked what our plans were and offered to drive us to the trailhead later. As this was a 3 hour drive we had been unsure if we would be able to find someone willing to take us, so this was a real blessing. First, we needed to find gas canisters though, so we could make dinner during our hike.
A few days before our flight, Diane had called an REI outdoor store near the airport to keep two bear spray canisters reserved for us. We also tried to save some gas canisters, but apparently there was a local shortage. The people working in the store tried to sell us their last remaining canister, but as it was way too small I said no. The girl replied 'beggars can't be choosers'. At first I thought it was some cultural misunderstanding, but later Diane confirmed that she indeed was pretty rude. We then spent several hours making phone calls and taking Ubers from store to store. Eventually I was on the phone with another REI store that had 2 canisters left. We were only 10 minutes away but they still refused to reserve them for us.
Out of all the 10+ outdoor and construction stores in Seattle, only one other store still had gas canisters. This was all the way on the other side of Seattle, meaning we would lose our opportunity to get a ride with the Uber driver we met this morning. As we really needed the canisters, we went anyway. Only at about 14:00 were we finally ready to head to the trail. To save money, we first took a bus as far out of Seattle as possible, really hoping we would be able to find an Uber afterwards. The Uber ride was about $220, but there really wasn't a better way to get there.
Fortunately, someone accepted our ride without us waiting too long. He was from South Korea and said he liked the long ride, as he would be making a lot of money in one trip. For the first 1.5 hours, the ride was beautiful and without any problems. Then the driver suddenly turned onto a dirt road. This wasn't the route we had planned to take, but according to his GPS, we would still end up in the same place and there were several other cars driving there as well. The road gradually got worse and worse. We told the driver that the other route was a highway, but at this point nobody wanted to turn around. The car got all dirty and shaken up and we were barely driving 20 km/hour. After 30 minutes on the dirt road, our way was suddenly blocked and we had to turn around to go back to the highway. Fortunately the driver could see the fun of it and kept making jokes about running into a bear or getting a flat tire. He also kept referring to this as a happy day.
We felt bad that the driver would not get home before dark. After another hour of driving, we stopped at a gas station and bought him some soda. The guy working there used all his charms to make us buy as many drinks as possible. He was very impressed when Diane correctly guessed he was originally from Poland. Back in the car, it was only another 20 minutes of dirt road to the trailhead. When we arrived, we had been driving for 5 hours and the chauffeur still had to drive back. We gave him a big tip and said goodbye.
At the trailhead, there were a few other cars and one guy who happened to just have finished the same loop as we planned to do. He said the first day was absolutely horrible, but after that it was really beautiful. We had read some horror stories about how the trail was overgrown in the beginning, but as I had often hiked in areas without any trails, I figured it wouldn't be too bad. About a kilometer in it started getting dark, something I wasn't used to from my previous hikes. It also felt a bit scary to camp in a thick forest with bears for the first time. We put the bear canisters about 50 meters away from our tent, but not all our food fit inside. We hoped the bears and other animals wouldn't be attracted to it.
Diane felt very comfortable and didn't get nervous at all despite the forest noises around us... or something like that :). After finally falling asleep, we suddenly woke up because of bright lights and someone shouting. Fortunately, it was just a hiker going into the forest at 23:00 with a headlamp and making weird noises to scare the animals away. I don't think he saw us.