Day 143 8-15-07 Tarp Tent 4935′
Tieton Pass – Snow Lake
21.3 (1.4) miles; 2312.6 (78.86) total miles; 4181.0 trip miles
80’s, mostly sunny hot
Days camped alone 23

Critter Tour General Category
Deer count is 132
Marmot count is 56
Elk count is 39
Pika count is 14
Slug count is 13
Bear count is 7
Rattlesnake count is 6
Goat count is 3
Martin count is 1
Badger count is 1

!!!The Pikas and Marmots each scored 3 points today. The Pikas moved back into 4th place with those 3 points!!!

Mt. Rainier

It turns out last night I was not exactly at the pass but just above it. After it got dark I started hearing voices below me. In the AM I hiked about a minute and there was the pass and a tent.

Beauty in it's raw form

I thought it was going to be all downhill to Whites Pass, but I actually had a few climbs. I climbed to the Hidden Spring junction and continued up past the Shoe Lake turnoff. As I climbed, I got a nice view of Goat Rocks. Once to the top of the ridge, I was rewarded with an amazing view of her majesty, Mt. Rainier. As I traversed along the side of Hogback Mountain, I got to view Rainier the whole way. When I switched over to the other side, marmots whistled at me from all over the bowl I was in. I guess I was not wanted. As I crested a ridge, I had another large bowl in front of me. You could see the trail as it traversed the bowl (see picture above). I started down into the bowl and after about half way around it, I saw what appeared to be a large animal running down the slope in front of me. It was at least 100′ off. My first reaction was it was too big to be a marmot. I also thought it was a wolverine. It had all the signs of one. I started to run towards it while trying not to lose sight of it. Unfortunately I did, and when I got to where I last saw it, I couldn’t find any trace of it. I hung out a bit and looked for it but found nothing. Just up the way I saw my first two marmots in forever and they seemed too small to be what I saw but bigger than the marmots in the Sierra. We breed them big up here!

I almost stepped on this!

I made my way down by the Chairlift Trail, then by a bunch of small ponds where the mosquitoes were terrible. I passed a couple who were 75 and almost 80. They were coming up the trail as I went down. When I got to Highway 12, I headed to the store to get some lunch and my food drop. While there I ran into a couple who were on their honeymoon. They have been on the road for a month, hiking and sightseeing. Their names were Lisa and Andrew, from Santa Cruz, CA. I did laundry, had lunch and charged my phone. I had some Cokes and ice cream while hanging out as well. I tried to call home but no one was there so I headed back to the trail.

Horse Camp

When I got to the trail, it started with a climb and it was now hot as hell. I worked my way up the climb with my full load. I was passed by a lady on horseback as I went up. I passed Deer Lake and Sand Lake. This section has tons of small lakes but their all nasty and you couldnt pay me to drink from.

Nasty pond water.

I finally found okay water at Buesch Lake, so I tanked up. Just a short while later, I passed a lake where I saw 4 horses tied up for the night. I never saw the riders though. I kept going and passed Cowlitz Pass and then Cowlitz Trail before finally getting to Snow Lake and a sweet campsite. I set up, washed up, and ate up. As I ate three teens showed up, Andre, Tyler, and Will. They missed their turn to the lake where they were supposed to meet their group so they camped with me. I started a fire to keep the bugs at bay and Tyler took it over for me.

Scatman 2011- The first part of this day had great views and took my breath away.  The second half was just mosquito factory after mosquito factory.  The later part of the day was mostly in thick forest so the only views I got were of all the temped ponds.  The bowl above which I talk about in this post stopped me in my tracks.  When I made the ridge line and turned the corner where I could see the bowl I just froze.  I was really taken by it.
I had a good time talking with Lisa and Andrew as well as the teens who showed up to camp.  They kids misjudge how far they had come by a bit.  They did not have the trail judgment I had come to rely on over all my miles of hiking.  They were quite polite and asked a lot of questions.  I just worried the adults in their group were worried sick not knowing where they were.
Get out there!
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