Monday, September 7, 2009

September 2nd – Trail 96 Junction to White Pass

Woke up to perfectly clear skies today. Yes! I was so excited because today was the day we were going to be going through the heart of Goat Rocks Wilderness – an area I had always wanted to visit, but had never got around to it. We were also going to be on some very rugged, exposed tread, so good weather would allow more ease with travel. We were surprised to still find snow on Old Snowy (I guess I should have figured by the name!). Since we hit the snow traverse first thing in the morning, it was quite hard packed and icy. The snow brought back memories of the High Sierra passes, only this time we didn’t have ice axes or crampons. Lucikly, the snowfield wasn’t too steep and there was a wide boot path across the snow – we just had to take it slowly. Next we came to the infamous “Knife Edge” – a 1 mile section of trail that runs along the top of a very narrow ridge. Not only was the trail VERY exposed, but it was also steep with loose gravel (my least favorite kind of terrain). I was scared to death – especially looking forward and seeing where the trail was going. Tom somehow managed to talk me through the trail and we made it across the Knife Edge without any incidents. I was very thankful to have survived and to have had good weather. I couldn’t imagine doing that section of trail during a storm. Eeek! The views from the Knife’s Edge were incredible – Mt. Rainier was in our face and there were lots of snow-capped mountains nearby. Probably one of the prettiest places I’ve been in Washington. Too bad I was so busy looking down at my feet. 

After a tough day of hiking, we rolled into White Pass about an hour before the gas station/store was closing. We ran into our friend Peter Shaw (aka Peanut Eater) whom we hadn’t seen since Sisters. He’s probably the one hiker we have seen throughout the trail – first meeting him way back in Julian, CA, then again in Idyllwild, Mammoth Lakes, Sierra City, and lastly in Sisters. We picked up our package and filled in the missing food items with purchases from the store. Upon recommendation of Mike, we decided to get a room at the White Pass Inn next to the gas station. There were 3 bunk beds so we invited Peter to join us. Basically, the Inn was ski condos that are rented out on a nightly basis. Each room has a kitchenette, so we bought a frozen lasagna and garlic break and cooked up a feast in our little room. Mike and Naomi were staying in a room close by and they had also bought lasagna and garlic bread. After showers, we hosted a little party in our room feasting on lasagna and garlic bread. It was great to “host” people again – almost felt like we were having a dinner party at home.


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