Mile 2247 Lava Spring – 2274.
Last night, I heard someone talking about camping at Old Snowy. I hadn’t realized we were so close to the Goats Rock Wilderness, which is regarded as one of the finest sections of the PCT. Finally, we would get some great views, which had been sorely lacking since the Sierra. To say I was excited would be an understatement.
I was eager to leave camp early since about 10 other people had camped near us and our app told us there were only 4 campsites up near the very top of Old Snowy and the Knife’s Edge, a famous tightrope of a ridge walk just past Old Snowy.
I pleaded with Bedazzled to try to keep up today. I am pretty sure she can. She told me to wait for her. I just wanted to start going so I agreed. I would have agreed to almost anything at this point.
We set off down the trail and made great time for the first two hours. We talked all the while. It seemed like the death stare Bedazzled gave me yestetday was all but forgotten.
Soon we got waylaid by a particularly dense patch of huckleberries and took some time to stuff our faces. Washington not only gives you views, but it feeds you too.
By lunch time, we had done 16.5 miles and only had about 10 left. The excitement in me was building, and I kept prattling on as we hiked. I could barely contain my excitement when we passed the Goat Rocks Wilderness sign.
As soon as we got to Cispus Pass, the views started to get good. It felt good to be excited again.
I passed some people headed the opposite way and chatted for a bit. They mentioned that it was Labor Day weekend, which means everyone in America had a three day weekend. Oh no! My heart felt a sudden pain. As we headed down from the pass, I could see tents dotting the mountain side and groups of backpackers hiking around. Thank goodness they were heading this way. It seemed like all of Washington was out.
We still had 3 miles to our campsite and we turned on the afterburners speeding down the mountain and then up the final 1,000 foot climb while passing dozens of groups. “Where are all these people going to camp,” I thought.
On the final approach, I talked with a women heading in the same direction. She had the same backpack as me, but it looked brand new. It turns out she just bought it and was thinking of getting another one for her son, but wanted to see how someone who had used it extensively liked it.
As I came around the final turn, I saw a huge and I mean huge tent. OMG. It had a full on gas grill in it. What the heck is going on. I increased my pace. “Just look for tent sites,” I told myself. I came around some trees and saw three tents! Then my eyes spied an open spot with a rock wall for a wind break. I dropped my pack in it and went back to wait for Bedazzled. Bedazzled came up with the women I had talked to before close behind.
I was talking to Bedazzled about the campsite when the lady camp over. “You want to know about a secret spot?” she asked. “Sure,” I said. “Normally, I don’t tell anyone, but your a PCTer so I’ll share,” she smiled. She proceed to take us to the spot she had camped at with her son the previous night and it was amazing. 360 degree views of Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Old Snowy along with the Knife’s Edge.
On top of that, someone had built two sets of what can only be described as thrones. One facing the east and one the west for sunrise and sunset, respectively. Jackpot.
Bedazzled and I set up and claimed our thrones as we ate our dinner and watched the sun slowly set in the west. It was a magical location and a beautiful view any direction you looked.