Blog Archive

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Grocking Out

Day 31 7/13
Mileage 14

Today, we conquered the Goat Rocks! What an incredible hike. We went straight up the snowy side of the bowl surrounding our campsite, and hiked along the narrow trail, at times blasted into the side of a cliff, following the ridge. Our footsteps sent little pebbles, and sometimes larger rocks, tumbling down the side of the ridge, bouncing and rolling down hundreds of feet. This area was the most obviously volcanic of the trip so far. The stones underfoot clinked with a sound like glass, and we saw more and more pumice as we climbed. The view from the top of the trail was incredible. Old Snowy lay just to our left, Mt. Adams to its right, growing ever larger as we continue south. Mt. St. Helens lay to the northwest, its distinctive semi-exploded shape making it an easily identifiable landmark. Finally, Mt. Rainier, standing head and shoulders above everything else in sight. On the way down, we did some tremendous buttsliding. The scenery was changing dramatically as we left the Knife's Edge behind. As we climbed toward Cispus Pass, the rocky slopes transformed into lush green mountainsides, crisscrossed everywhere with little streams, which converged on the bottom of the valley. On the way up, we crossed a snow field that felt like the only remotely sketchy thing I've done since Hart's. It was short, but pretty steep, and directly over a cliff. Fortunately, none of us decided to test just how slippery the snow was, and we made it up to the pass safely. On the other side of the pass, we hit snow again. After a traverse of maybe a half mile, during which we saw a sizable chunk of mountain break off and careen down the slope and bounce over the trail a few hundred feet in front of us, we made it back to the west-facing side, which was mostly snowless. We dipped to under 5000 feet to camp. The area around us is distinctly different. It looks much more like a rainforest than the sparser alpine terrain I've been getting used to. Unfortunately, with the lower elevations come the bugs. The mosquitoes, while not as bad as Pipe Lake, are still bad enough to make doing anything besides being in tents a chore. I had maybe the worst pooping experience of my life today. I began to dig my cathole, and before I was even done digging I was swarmed by no less than 50 of the little incarnations of evil. As soon as I dropped trou, I received no less than a dozen butt-bites in the first few seconds. Also it was raining. We heard some thunder off in the distance, but nothing too close. In my tent with the rain fly on (on top of a puddle), I'm beginning to realize how truly awful I smell. It's bad. Really bad. I've been out here for a month now, and things are good, mentally and physically. Just not olfactorily.

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