Last week was a bit of drag, despite having some cool happenings, the cooler and cloudier weather made me a bit ho hum but the late in the week and the weekend was fully sunny and hot and allowed us to go backpacking!
To fill up the weather of dreariness I had Polly over for dinner on Wednesday, watched Reese Witherspoon in Wild from RedBox, biked to and from Belleveue (22 miles total) for an excellent Yelp event at the Hokkaido Santouku restaurant for a delicious and warming and filling Japanese ramen dinner,
volunteered at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) and got to watch two movies, volunteered at FareStart for an excellent dinner by Radiator Whiskey featuring an awesome beet and corn salad and who-would-of-thunk-it? Frito Pie! and had a great al fresco dinner with an accordion player with Bryan at La Vita E Bella (pancetta and roasted pepper cream sauce potato gnocchi, wine and salad) on Friday night.
Then we went backpacking for a one-nighter!
We had a difficult time choosing where to go as Bryan had rowing class until 9 am so we didn’t want to go to far away. And we didn’t pack until Saturday morning so we didn’t hit the road until 10:30. We chose an area we hadn’t been before; Goat Rocks National Park, headed toward the southern border with Oregon and just north of Washington’s 2nd highest peak: Mt. Adams, Rainier’s look-a-like. The drive was just under three hours but we stopped for subs at Subway in Enumclaw. We had beautiful shots of Rainier close up all along our drive and cloudless skies. The forest road to the trail-head was nearly a good hour but we pulled into the trail-head at 2 pm and were on the trail by 2:30. The trail we picked I liked for the name; Snowgrass, was nearly impossible to say without saying my last name along with it. The hike was a 20 mile loop and ended up being an excellent choice and super secluded for such a gloriously sunny and hot weekend. See the route here!
The first four miles of the trail were on the Snowgrass trail and were gentle and shaded and had beautiful old growth forest. We then reached the Bypass trail which we took for about another mile where we then got on the Cispus Pass trail, a section of the Pacific Coast Trial (PCT). This portion offered gorgeous sweeping views into the valley with Mt. Adams peaking out in the background. We stopped for a snack and break in this portion before continuing on. We kept hiking, this time through exposed trails with small portions of snow cover, until we were at about 9 miles in and hit Sheep Lake. Here was where we were planning to set up camp for the night and we made it at just about 7 pm. We found a night spot with good views of the valley and a sliver of Rainier. Our tent was up and our shoes were off in only minutes; I guess we didn’t lose our rhythm since New Zealand. Bryan set to heating up our water for dinner and I set to making a small campfire to keep the mosquitoes at bay (they were horrible!). We made a sausage and mushroom masala pasta which was delicious and filling before heating up more water for our homemade hot cocoa mix. We watched the sunset, got more water from the lake to filter, hung up our food and got to bed just after 10pm.
Sunday morning came and although the sun rises at 5am now we didn’t wake up until 8am! It was great sleeping in and we woke up refreshed and ready for the day. We shared a large bowl of cinnamon apple oatmeal and our own mugs of Via coffee, packed up camp and hightailed it out of there because the mosquitoes were getting so bad as the time passed (I have at least 30 mosquito bites and we even brought spray!). We had about 4 miles of very easy hiking to start again; first hiking the Nannie Ridge and getting more great views of Adams and Mt. Saint Helens before diving into the thick forest and hiking down to Walupt Lake. We stopped at the campground there because the lake was surprisingly super beautiful. We talked to the camp hosts briefly and continued on our way.
This is where the trail got more harried and far less fun or beautiful. For about amile and a half we were walking on a paved road out of the campground and past the horse camp. From there we knew we were looking for a very not well marked path “7A”. After much doubting if we had passed it our not we reluctantly found the path and the marker for it. We took this for about a mile in until we found the creek that we knew we had to cross. We took our boots off and crossed the creek knee deep with actually fairly strong currents but the icy cold temperature felt so good on my feet. After crossing and with our boots back on we had the next hurtle, to find where the path continued. After about 10 minutes of searching at the creek-side we found the orange markings and were back on the trail. We had another several miles to go to get back to our car and the forest at this point was dry and not nearly as beautiful, or providing as much shade, and we were having to hike back up. We had several turns to make at crossing roads that didn’t make the route easy to follow and we were finally on a forest road that we knew was supposed to lead back to the road we pulled in on. This road was much longer than expected and continued to climb the whole way. We finally found the main gravel road, hiked just under a mile in the blazing hot sun, and finally got back to the trail-head and the Jeep!
At 3:30 pm Bryan and I headed out from the trail-head, completely exhausted and thirsty and me at the wheel for the first bit. After the long gravel road out, we pulled into a gas station for Gatorades and gas and to switch drivers. Bryan drove us home, we pulled into the house at 6:30 pm with the thermostat reading 87 degrees. We showered, dressed, and scooted to Eastlake Bar and Grill for fish and chips (her) and three pig mac and cheese (him) on the patio to take in the great weather and great views of the sunset.
I can’t stop itching!!