Before going any further, let me say that Katya is a machine! I rejoined van 2 about 3:30am, to see delirious runners staggering up a steep slope toward Exchange 23. "That was brutal," gasped a fit-looking guy, about the preceding 6.2 miles of unrelenting climb. I started to worry how Katya was getting along, until the others assured me that whenever they stopped to hand her water, she was chipper and grinning. She was actually enjoying it! Minutes later, she came loping up to the hand-off point, barely panting, to slap our baton (a 'slap bracelet') on my wrist. We have some really hard legs on this route (many other hill-filled, and 8+ mile jaunts), but also some really kickass runners. :)
My following leg was a much easier 3.5 miles through the dark woods and over (lucky me!!) the bridge at Deception Pass. Initially, the looming woods and starry sky were very pretty and atmospheric. But somewhere along the way my brain decided to remind me that this was a state park, and as such, probably had some wild life... including big wild life... wild life potentially big and hungry enough to eat a lone human runner and her slap bracelet (Just how well-traveled is this route, anyway?) Pushing morbid thoughts aside and remembering all the souls who had just survived much longer legs, I shot out of the woods and onto the bridge just in time to see tiny fingers of dawnlight making their way over the horizon. Absolutely gorgeous: the light was just enough to give the mirror-like water in the straight below a pinkish hue, stretching out to the horizon and broken only by a few distant, shadowy hills. Oo. If anyone hasn't been out to this point yet, I'd highly recommend it.
Van 1 was raring to go at the next Exchange, and Amer took off into the dark with the bracelet. Van 2 went ahead to Exchange 30 for a much-needed sleep in an elementary school with (alas!) cold showers. But sleep is sleep! :) Van 2 is just about to finish and we're waking up Justin for the last set. Daylight at last!