September 13, 2017
White Pass to Packwood @ Mama G’s
Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike: Day 131
Woke up in a condo in White Pass with all my favorite trail people. Feeling very antsy and ready to get moving, waffling on the road walk. Benny and Chill got picked up by their Dad and his girlfriend. We sat and waited for the mail to come. Our package was delivered, Sam’s was not. His debit card is in that package. We decided to start walking, to at least start the road walk, since sitting at White Pass wasn’t doing anyone any good.
We walked down an interstate for 8 miles until we finally got picked up near Packwood by Mama G and taken to her house.
Mama G picking all five of us up was such a gift. She clued us in to a different, if slightly longer, reroute that gives us about 50 miles on the Wonderland trail around Mt. Rainier. That will take us wide around the fires, clear of any further reroutes from the spread of the existing fire closure. It’s actually quite a bit further, but the Wonderland trail should be beautiful and well worth it.
We weren’t going to even go into Packwood, and at first we felt like Mama G was fear mongering/Bishoping us. We ran into her on our roadwalk down from White Pass, with her telling us that Hwy 123 wasn’t walkable, that there was no shoulder, that we should strongly consider letting her give us a ride around. We said thank you but that we would keep walking towards Packwood. She said if we changed our mind before dinner to give her a call and we could stay at her place and have dinner with the other hikers there. Even just to think about taking a different route. She also said she had a better option for a reroute that didn’t involve the closed highway, and that ended up being the Wonderland trail option.
The second time we saw Mama G was when we called her to ask her to come get us. We hadn’t decided to get a ride around the fire closure, but couldn’t make it to her place in time for dinner or before dark, so asked her for a ride. When she came to pick us up she was SO down to earth. What a dynamic, interesting, generous person. She’s a wildlife photographer and built her own house out here. She built the giant sandbox we’re sleeping in, too, right in her backyard. There are at least a dozen other hikers here and we had burgers for dinner and will have pancakes for breakfast. There’s a dog, too!
The last thing I want to remember from today is talking to Boo and Jen from Canada about keeping continuous footsteps despite the Columbia River Gorge fire. Boo walked from Lost Lake into Hood River, and then up to The Dalles, about 30 miles, to the nearest open footbridge across the river. Jen, on the other hand, rented a kayak and paddled across. This is one of my favorite things, we all found different ways across, and that barrier to the trail has made the journey SO much more interesting.