September 15, 2017
Pyramid Camp to South Mowich River
Wonderland Trail: Mile 30
Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike: Day 133
Laying in the tent fully dressed and ready to go, really wanted to get started but Alex is still sleeping.
Some things I've learned about being a thru-hiker that will help me in life (from hiker "ICU"):
people think that thru-hiking is about hiking. Or the people. Thru hiking is about problem solving. Constant problem solving.
I thought about this and how every problem is NEVER the last problem. There's always another one, so if you skip around a problem you're not doing yourself any favors, because you'll just run into another obstacle sooner or later.
it's having the impulse to quit and not giving into it.
That one is from Stone.
Today we have 27 miles on the Wonderland trail, tomorrow we'll leave the trail for road walking again. Sunday is supposed to spearhead four days of rain. Cold rain. Hoping a road walk is feasible in rain, that the rain helps put out fires, and that it doesn't prematurely turn into snow.
Ok, time to wake Alex up.
What a day! The Wonderland Trail is essentially the ridges that stabilize Rainier and the canyons that serve as drainages for glacier water. It works like this: 4,000 feet up, 4,000 feet down. Rinse and repeat, ad infinitum. Each time you climb out of a drainage, the scene ahead is completely unlike what came before it, a foreign world, a tendril growing from the snow-capped monolith of Rainier. It is a monster, and we are so, so close.
The clouds enveloped different parts of Rainier over the course of the day. We went up and down over four humps of the trail, covering a full 27 miles but just short of where we had planned. We didn't make it to our campground because, just before it, there is the South Mowich River. It's muddy and swift, and the bridge is out, and we didn't get there until after dark, despite starting to walk at 5:45 and taking minimal, short breaks. We know enough about rivers to wait until morning.
We have seen neither hide nor hair of Vice and Boathouse, so I'm not sure what they will end up doing or what happens next in this stage of the adventure. Sam is on his way to Snoqualmie pass tomorrow—his package came today. That means he will likely finish the trail on his own since we are still several days out of Snoqualmie and at this stage in the game he can't afford to wait.
Other events from today
We heard today what I think were avalanches. it sounded like the deep rumble of a jet plane flying over, except it kept going and going and going.
If I ever do a Wonderland trail thru-hike, Golden Lakes looks like the best campsite of all the ones I've seen.
We were followed by a bear on the trail for a quarter mile.
Ate lunch by a subalpine lake with Rainier looming in the background.
Hoping Vice and Boathouse catch up naturally tomorrow (without us waiting for them).
Wonderland trail takes 7-10 days at a pace that would be comfortable to a thru-hiker-conditioned person. 27 miles on this trail is not comfortable AT. ALL. So a 7-10 day pace is plenty slower.