Our campsite worked great. Over the years it had been improved by hunters and campers, so we had plenty of nails to hang things out to dry. And dry it did.
Knowing we had a short day into White Pass, then a hitch to Packwood, for resupply, we took a bit of extra time to inventory the food that we had left and determine what we needed to buy. That worked out great. Usually we do that once we’re already in town and it can get a bit hurried and stressful. It even let me enjoy a second cup of coffee while we were working everything out.
The 8 mile hike to the pass was beautiful. We were able to look back towards the Knife Edge, which was still in the clouds.
We ran into the hiker from two days prior who had made her way up to the Knife Edge and turned around after she was sketched out by the conditions. She had a crazy story.
After she left us, she headed back out to the trailhead. Once there she ran into a driver who just happened to be one of the other hikers in our sponsorship who was already off trail. He gave her a ride all the way back to Cascade Locks, where she met a friend who got her to White Pass, where we were heading. She was heading southbound to the point where she turned around, then she would backtrack back north to White Pass. The weather was better for this attempt and her determination made it clear she would succeed.
As we were leaving Goat Rocks Wilderness, Jennifer stopped in awe. She finally had a picture in her mind for the line “Purple mountains majesty” in the song “America the Beautiful”.
The pictures really doesn’t do the purples justice.
We were supposed to have great views of Mount Rainier, but the clouds prevented that. But we still had plenty to enjoy.
Soon we arrived at the pass. In front of the country store sat most of the hikers we had run across in the previous few days. They cheered as we arrived, all of us glad to see the others safe after the sketchy crossing of the Goat Rocks.
They were all staying overnight at the pass, but we needed to get to Packwood, some 20 miles west. So we headed out to hitch a ride. Within minutes we were in the truck of a very nice older couple. We had a list of motels and they gave their recommendation, then called ahead to make sure we could get a room. As they dropped us off, they handed over a handful of homegrown tomatoes that were one of the highlights of this entire hike.
Packwood is a compact town, with everything that we needed within a short walk. It was fun to watch the flurry of activity as the town got ready for their big Labor Day Flea Market, which takes over the whole town.
We got our resupply and other chores done and went to sleep warm and dry.
Day 143 – 8 / 1,864 (2,292)
As we lay in bed that morning, Jen asked a simple question – “What if we stayed another night?”, to which I responded “if you can get us a room”, which she did.
We really needed a complete down day, something that really hadn’t happened since Burney in early August, although that was injury induced.
We took their cue.
We had breakfast in the lodge, then headed into town for a second breakfast. This plate of biscuits and gravy was our appetizer for that second breakfast.
The rest of the day consisted of lounging around. Just what we needed.
Day 144 – 0 / 1,864 (2,292)
A later than normal start, we arrived back up at White Pass mid-morning. There we ran into Splash, doing well with new shoes. We celebrated his trail resurrection with a couple of morning beers, then hit the trail by late morning.
We still got a full day’s hike in.
Day 145 – 20 / 1,884 (2,312)
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