Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Oregon Border-Snoqualmie, Days 6-10

We were sitting having second breakfast when a thru-hiker breezed by. Unlike some of the others, this one stayed to talk. His trail name was Handy Andy, and he planned to finish in Canada in ten days. We had to laugh. Ten days! There were still over three hundred miles to go, and we had allotted 15 for just this 250 mile stretch!

Beautiful Mount Adams!
We arrived back at the trailhead from Trout Lake carrying enough food to make it to White Pass, 66 miles away. The day began with a climb through burned forest, the silver snags beautiful and weathered, immense fields of lupine perfuming the air. All day we climbed around the side of Mount Adams with its enormous glaciers. This was an alpine day, full of big views, a milky, somewhat threatening river crossing, and a new group name. "You are the Three Fair Maidens," Oakdale announced as he hiked past. Well, two of us weren't that young anymore, but we would take it.
A helpful sign. Water was still scarce on this leg.
The first inkling of disaster came as southbound hikers approached us with anguished faces and a plethora of rain gear,including hoods cinched tight. As we were sweating freely, we looked at each other in confusion. There were no clouds in the sky! Why the rain gear......

Oh. About that time, the mosquito horde attacked. Flash and MG were better off, having opted for long pants and long sleeved shirts. I walked at high speed, frantically spraying "Natrapel" as I went. It made no dent in the buzzing insects. You are only supposed to use Natrapel once a day, but I figured I'd worry about cancer later. The bugs were unrelenting. If anything could drive me off the trail, mosquitoes would definitely be it.

Hunkered in our own rain gear, we sat at a beautiful campsite with a lovely waterfall (and ten Boy Scouts). Despite the hordes of both boys and bugs, I couldn't deny that the trail was pulling me in once again. There was no place I would rather be.

This river does not look like it, but was incredibly scary. And cold!

We did our first 20 mile day the next day, and after that entered into a magical place. The Goat Rocks Wilderness! There were goats! And rocks! And Mount Rainier! And Mount Adams! And little streams and flowers and gorgeousness! We walked the famous Knife Edge, where a fall would be fatal, under stunning blue sky. And we found the most incredible campsite ever.

Darn that smudge on my lens! All of my Goat Rocks pictures are ruined. But I included this one, so you can see just how great it is. Go there. Now.

"Are you a thru-hiker? Want some candy?" a woman exclaimed. I could only figure that I was starting to look like I had hiked 2,000 miles instead of 200. We saw more people in the Goat Rocks than we had all trip so far. It made sense.

I don't think I've ever had a more beautiful campsite.

We were now closing in on White Pass. Resupply! Pizza! Showers! Still, those amenities could not compete with the scenery. As we approached the ski area, the mosquitoes gathered their strength for another attack. Practically running, we pounded down the switchbacks. As we trudged up the highway towards salvation, we realized: we still didn't know what poison oak looked like.


  1. So beautiful Mary. Yes I hate mosquitoes, Shane and I had a hoard of them keep us tent bound for a day on a kayak trip on Ross lake several years ago.

  2. Mosquitoes are the spawn of poison oak and poison ivy.

  3. I hiked around Mt. Adams last year and it was so beautiful! I've heard great things about Goat Rocks, but have yet to hike there - it's firmly on my bucket list. Too bad about those darn mosquitoes!

  4. I hike the Goat Rocks section last year and found it to be ever so magical. Your photos are of fine quality and I too would be extremely bummed to find s smudge. You had mosquitoes, I had bees. I was the in early September and I hear when the bees are done pollinating and at end of life they go crazy. That's how it seemed to me. So glad you are having such a great time. May be doing a more northerly section myself in a couple weeks.


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