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Day 141-144: Mountain Goats, Marmots, and Herons

Day 141: Muddy Fork (Mile 2257.5)-Near Cispus River (Mile 2281); 23.5 miles

A clear sky greeted us as we entered the Goat Rocks Wilderness. We feel lucky to have had such great weather on our Pacific Crest Trail thru hike, especially in typically wet Oregon and Washington.

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After several miles in a pine forest, the PCT climbed to Cispus Pass, where we crossed a small patch of snow.

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The valley on the other side of the pass was filled with spectacular waterfalls and amazing wildflowers.

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We camped with other backpackers on a hillside near a waterfall. Stars filled the sky, as many as we had ever seen. It was magical.

Day 142: Near Cispus River (Mile 2281)-White Pass (Mile 2303) + 0.5 miles off trail for resupply; 22.5 miles

We began climbing early, and were quickly rewarded with gorgeous views.

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The landscape became rocky and stark as we climbed further. A marmot tried to hide from us, but couldn’t resist a peek.

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Minutes later, we walked across a glacier, a first for us!

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Reaching the top of the climb, we gawked at the snow-covered peaks and glacial valleys in all directions. The knife-edge descent proved as awesome as the climb.

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A few miles later, North Star spotted about ten mountain goats in the valley below. We excitedly watched them graze in their namesake wilderness.

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We couldn’t linger, though, because we needed to reach the store in White Pass before it closed. Descending quickly through the forest, we arrived at the store, which was still open. Success! We picked up our food resupply boxes, ate tasty veggie sandwiches, then rested in a room at the inn.

Day 143: Zero in White Pass

After seven days of solid walking and struggling with allergies, we decided a rest day was in order. In addition to giving our bodies a break, this allowed us to catch up on our blog entries. In the morning we uploaded an entry which we had mostly written while on the trail. Then we bought more food at the store, and got to work on the next blog entry.

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After a few hours of photo selection, writing, and editing, we finished a second blog post. As always, we had several big hiking days ahead, so soon it was time to sleep. Thunder rumbled outside as we climbed into bed.

Day 144: White Pass (Mile 2303)-American Ridge Trail Junction (Mile 2325.5) + 0.5 miles off trail; 23 miles

The thunderstorm overnight left cold, moist air in its wake. As we walked in the forest above town, dramatic fog swirled over lakes and obscured trees.

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Despite the moist air, North Star’s allergies remained manageable. The rest day had revitalized her.

We were pleasantly surprised to spy a great blue heron in a small marshy lake.

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When the heron noticed us, it flew gracefully into the mist.

Later in the day, as we entered Mt. Rainier National Park, an elk bugled in the fog. The hollow whistling sound was wild and beautiful.

We camped in a little spot amidst trees, which somewhat sheltered us from the cold foggy wind.

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12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sasha Edwards #

    These photos are amazing!!! I hope each of you is writing your own “diary”. It must be amazing to see, feel and watch your transformations with each other and yourselves…
    Love!

    September 13, 2012
    • Thank you Sasha! We do keep notes every day on important thoughts and events. We don’t want to forget anything, and so much happens each day that writing it down is necessary. It will be fun after the hike to look back and reflect.

      September 14, 2012
  2. Barb #

    I think you must be saving your photos of waterfalls for your upcoming book! :-)
    Do you know yet approximately when you will reach Canada? It must feel as if you are getting close.

    September 13, 2012
    • Haha, that’s top secret!

      We are about two weeks from Canada at this point. Our goal since the beginning has been to finish at the end of September, and we are right on schedule!

      September 14, 2012
  3. Rich Sofranko #

    All….so sublime.

    September 13, 2012
  4. Charles #

    Wow, some of my favorite photos yet. Did the marmots try and rob you blind ? The ones here are definitely bold enough to rob from packs

    September 13, 2012
    • Thanks Charles, Goat Rocks offers beauty at every turn. We’d love to take a longer trip there at some point and explore further.

      These marmots were scared enough of us that they wouldn’t get close enough to rob us. It sounds like the Colorado marmots must be even fatter than usual!

      September 14, 2012
  5. Jan #

    A wonderful capture of the beauty of Goat Rocks Wilderness. I’m so glad you are having such great weather. By the way, George looked at the marmot picture and couldn’t see the marmot. Looking right at it, he was seeing a hole in the rocks instead of the critter. One of those “is this a vase or two women’s profiles” moments. :-)

    September 14, 2012
  6. Margaret #

    Looks to me like you even pitch your tent to make a perfect pic!

    September 14, 2012

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