“It’s all downhill from here.”
“You’re, like, almost there and it’s mostly downhill.”
“Yeah, it’s basically all downhill.”
So say the folks I passed on the day I hiked into White Pass… It’s all downhill, huh? Because my map says it’s all uphill…
Trout Lake, WA. An adorable town located in a beautiful sweeping valley with the nicest folks and the most delicious huckleberry milkshakes you’ll ever encounter. I ran the last three miles down the gentle slope, chanting “Huckle! Berry! Milk! Shake!” in my head with each step. Having heard about these milkshakes from nearly every person I passed on the trail, I was more than a little excited to get into town.
I’ve been dreaming (literally dreaming) about milkshakes since I started the trail and this was my first opportunity to make those dreams come true.
Since leaving Snoqualmie, I’ve been pushing farther everyday. It feels really good to be independent and in total control of my destiny (at least in the short term). I’ve been meeting amazing people; I even met a man who, in his retirement, had taken up figure skating! He is such an interesting man and I feel so inspired and lucky to have camped a night with him. The campsite we shared was in an amazing meadow, just south of The Knife’s Edge, and I ended early that day. It was mentally, emotionally* and physically exhausting and I was unwilling to pass up such an ideallic campsite.
The Knife’s Edge follows the ridge line, up and down, with steep, beautiful slopes on either side. It was physically demanding, but so rewarding. Also, I saw goats!
My campsite was in the little grove of trees.
The next day was a whole different experience… About as opposite as you can get… Terrain, feelings, speed. All were a total 180 from the previous day. I woke up in that surreal meadow and saw a blanket of fog over the valley, wrapping around Mt. Adams and creeping into the crevices between ridge lines. Cispus Pass was unreal in the early morning sun, but then I decended into the fog, down the mountain side into 25 miles of straight, flat, buggy forest. I basically put my head down and focused only on forward movement. By the time 7pm rolled around, I’d covered 35 miles, which meant I only had 10 miles to Trout Lake and to milkshakes! I woke up early and walked the easy, lava rocky terrain with my friends: Mt. Adams looming overhead, Mt. Rainier to the north, and Mt. Saint Helens to the west.
A campsite I would have taken advantage of had it not been so early in the day still.
I am beyond excited to get into Portland in a few days and see some much loved friends. With about 450 miles hiked, I’m sad to say goodbye to the montane wilderness of the north, but equally excited to cross the Bridge of the Gods and feel like I’m actually making progress!
The Mt. Adams Wilderness has been the most glorious wildflower hotspot so far. Lupine galore. Tis a dream!
Shameless squinty selfie.
*it was a very emotional day for me because I felt absolutely riddled with guilt leaving White Pass. There was a major search and rescue mission happening in the area I was hiking through and I felt terrible not stopping to volunteer my time. From the trail, I did what I could. I gathered info about his last known location and his attire and I hiked with his picture in my pocket and his name on my lips as I yelled for him while I hiked. I informed passing hikers and pressed on. I am happy to say that he has been found. Although I have no personal connection with the boy, I am so grateful for the men and women who volunteer their time to help families and people in need.