Day 144 8-16-07 Tarp Tent 5860′
Snow Lake – Silver Creek Trail 1192
25.2 miles; 2337.8 (78.86) total miles; 4206.2 trip miles
60’s, overcast in am, clearing in afternoon
Days camped alone 24
2007 PCT Critter Tour General Category
Deer count is 132
Marmot count is 100
Elk count is 55
Pika count is 32
Slug count is 14
Bear count is 7
Rattlesnake count is 6
Goat count is 4
Martin count is 1
Badger count is 1
!!!Today was an epic day in the Tour. The Marmots took the stage and set themselves up to possibly take the lead. They scored 44 points! The Pikas as well had a huge day with 18, solidifying their fourth place position. The Elk also had a great day with 16. The Goats and Slugs had 1 point each!!!
Overcast skies greeted me when I woke up this AM. I packed my bag for rain and put everything inside trash bags. I even had the smarts to put the tent on top so it could be put up first then everything else could be thrown into it.
I got going sometime after 6:30. It didn’t take long to spook my first couple of elk. Before I got to Parker campsite, I ran into a guy named Mark doing a southbound section hike. He had done from Mexico to Cascade Locks last year before an infection and sore feet forced him from the trail. After leaving him, I spooked more elk.
I descended down a steep hill to the Bumping River which was supposed to be a ford. I was able to hop across rocks and a log, and never got wet. I now had a 4.3 miles ascent to the Laughingwater trail. As I climbed I spooked 4 more elk and then ran into another guy doing a section hike. We talked a while then I moved on. On my way up the hill, I saw tons of marmots and pikas. Every rock slide had a family of marmots. I got whistled at a lot today. I passed Trail 380 to Two Lakes and the American Ridge Trail 958. I also passed at least one group of boy scouts as well. I had lunch just south of Anderson Lake. I talked with my Dad first so by the time I got to eating lunch, I was freezing. The overcast skies had turned to rolling low clouds. I kept seeing “sucker holes” (blue sky) but it didn’t appear it would ever clear.
As I descended to Anderson Lake I passed another scout group and then after the lake I caught a family who was camped at Dewey Lake. They were very impressed with my hike. About this time the skies were clearing and the low clouds were moving out.
I got water at Dewey Lake and then started the climb to Chinook Pass, Highway 410. I passed a family of 3, another scout group, and 2 ladies as I climbed. I stopped on the climb to get out my Nuun visor and sunglasses. I couldn’t believe it. There was a descent from a saddle to the highway and I passed 5 more hikers, another group just off the trail and my very first Ranger. I couldn’t believe it!
Once to the road I got to walk over this huge wood and stone bridge, which doubled as a sign for Mount Rainier National Park. On the other side of the road, I stopped at the rest area and had a snack. I also lightened my load by throwing out some trash! Us thru-hikers love trash cans!!! A guy using the restroom asked about my trip and said he was envious.
I now had a climb to Sheep Lake (yet another one). I passed a couple with a Boston Terrier, a family of 5, and a single women who was thrilled to met her first ever thru-hiker. She shook my hand and took my picture. The closer I get to Canada the more enthusiastic people are about my trip and what I have accomplished. It really motivates me and at the same time makes me want to be done. One of the young girls from the family was also very impressed with my trip. She was so well spoken and mature for her age, which impressed me.
I got to Sheep Lake and got water, which I then had to carry uphill for the next 1.6 miles. The climb was steep as well. I made it up and reached Sourdough Gap as the clouds began closing in again. They were spilling over the ridges. It was very cool. I had to traverse a large bowl and saw even more marmots and pikas. From the gap it was only 2.1 miles to the junction where I planned to stay but it seemed much longer. I got to the junction and had saw a flat spot downhill just before, so I backtracked to it and did the usual.
Today was an amazing day for wildlife and views, though I never saw Rainier. I now only have 14 days left to hike and I can feel the pull of the border. I can also feel myself getting tired. I’ve notice even though I out hike everyone else, I still feel beat on some climbs. My body needs rest and food!
Scatman 2011- Today was one of those days where it seems longer than it was. I saw so many critters it was crazy. The average amount of marmots in each rock pile must have been 6. They were everywhere in the am but after Chinook Pass they went away. I also saw lots of people. You can alway tell when you’re near a park or protected area as the number of people increases greatly.
Despite the low clouds for most of the morning I had some great views along the way, though a bite chilly. Chinook Pass was pretty cool and see the long road climb up to the pass made me want to come back some day and ride up it. During today I step foot in Mount Rainier National Park for the first time ever. In all my years living in Seattle before the trip I had never gone. I hiked an impressive 2 miles in the park!
Get out there!