Pacific Crest Trail Journals

Wapanitia Pass to White Pass

August 20 – September 3, 2010

After a week of leisurely time and trail angeling at my family’s cabin near Mt Hood, it was time to get back on the trail. On August 27th I got dropped at Wapinitia Pass and headed up towards Timberline Lodge. I had tried to “get back on the trail” a couple of times in the days prior and had been stopped by severe leg cramps/tightness. I still wasn’t sure what was causing this problem but was confident it wouldn’t come up again and, sure enough, it didn’t. I made it past Timberline Lodge, took the Ramona Falls alternate and ran into Guthook before dropping down to Lolo Pass. I had arranged for my dad to pick me up there for one last night at the cabin and Guthook gladly came along.

We hit the trail early the next morning with Cascade Locks and Trail Days in our sights. Guthook and I both took the Eagle Creek alternate (amazing – must take) and arrived at the bottom around the same time. We strolled into town together before going our separate ways. I caught up with a lot of hikers I hadn’t seen in a while and watched Jester’s film “Wizards of the PCT”.

After packing up my food for the next 150 miles and grabbing a cup of coffee I crossed the Bridge of the Gods around 9:00 am and set out to finish my final state. The trail out of Cascade Locks was a roller coaster of ups and downs before finally climbing up somewhat permanently after Panther Creek. Around the time I reached Indian Heaven Wilderness the rain started. It stopped about two days later while I was crossing Mt Adams’ west side. Clouds had hidden its peak from me for days and suddenly, as I stood just miles from its summit, the clouds parted and I got the full closeup of its enormous and snow-covered peak.

The two days leading up to that moment when the clouds parted were some of the wettest of my life. Even with raingear and a pack cover, everything gets wet to some degree. And once it does, it stays wet until the rain stops and the humidity level drops below 100%. Fortunately I was able to stay warm even if I wasn’t able to stay dry. I’ll take relative discomfort over hypothermia.

The day after crossing Mt Adams I woke up to the sound of splashing in a lake just outside my tent. I opened my rain fly to see a herd of 10-15 elk crashing through the shallows just 100 feet in front of me. This was a very welcome wilderness encounter, especially compared to the ones I’d been having the last few nights: mice running across my sleeping body as they raided my food bag.

The sun reclaimed the sky the day that I entered and hiked through Goat Rocks. I’d been there when I was about 12 but my memory didn’t do the area justice – it was absolutely incredible. The knife’s edge ridgewalk down from Old Snowy is one of the best several-mile sections of trail I’ve done on this entire trip. Goat Rocks has definitely been added to my “must return to” list.

I made it into White Pass this afternoon and was greeted by a fresh pair of Vasque BlurKs to finish out the trail. From here they’ll carry me 100 miles to Snoqualmie Pass, where I’ll temporarily get off of the PCT in order to hike the Woderland Trail around Mt Rainier.

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