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Lion Heart and Ginonatt
Begins: Apr 20, 2009
Date: Wed, Sep 23rd, 2009
Start: Trickling Creek
End: Two Alpine Campsites
Daily Distance: 17.6
Trip Distance: 1,892.0
Entry Visits: 699
Journal Visits: 170,645
Guestbook Views: 18,119
Guestbook Entrys: 242
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Goat Rocks Wilderness
Our morning started at 5:15am when Chopper and Savior came by doing some night hiking. So we laid around a bit, finally getting on the trail by 6:30am. Hiked 4 miles through solid huckleberry fields and took a break where we met a couple guys out elk hunting.
Caught up with Chopper and Savior around 10am at Walupt Creek. They had a couple more hours to go before completing 24 hours of straight hiking, so they were a little tired. Their total miles were already near 50.
The weather had been warm all day, especially during the exposed hiking just before lunchtime. Made good miles all morning and had covered 11.3 by lunch. We stopped for lunch at a delightful glacial waterfall. Lion Heart used it to wash her face and feet and to get her hair wet. Gino showered several times. The water was icy cold which caused him to shout out and stumble around as he dashed out of the water! Vidoes to come!
After passing a napping Chopper and Savior, the afternoon trail found us in what seemed to be the heart of the Goat Rocks Wilderness. We started an ascent that took us up into an area that was rock as far as the eye could see. Met a few day hikers asking if we'd seen any goats. Not long after, we did spot some "Washington" marmots that looked quite different than Sierra marmots. Big furry bodies, charcoal dark in color, with a white stripe down the middle of their face. They sure were cute sunning themselves on the rocks. What a great sighting!
The ascent continued and soon we could see pothole-like Goat Lake, Mt. Adams behind us and Mt. Rainier in front of us. The views were absolutely spectacular despite the smoky sky! Looking off into a vast valley, Gino spotted the illusive white mountain goats. Another special animal sighting!
The hour seemed late but it was only 5pm. Smoke was blocking the sun casting a reddish-orange hue about us. The climbing was not over as we met a fork in the trail. Hikers go up, stock go straight across. Up we went as we scaled more rock trail. We reached a high point before descending a treacherous knife blade ridge, only slightly dulled by the hard work of a fearless trail crew. The beginning of the descent was very steep, with moving volcanic rocks beneath our feet. On our way down, we heard the start of a rockslide and looked over the edge in time to see large boulders crashing across the PCT horse route below us. To our surprise, there stood Chopper and Savior at the hiker/stock junction looking like they were about to head across. Later, we looked down again and Chopper was in the lead at least a tenth of a mile ahead of Savior as they crossed the stock route. As Chopper neared the end, more boulders came crashing down across the path ahead of Savior. Both managed to make it through alive and they headed down the trail ahead of us as we completed our unsteady descent.
We continued to follow the ridge line as it snaked up and down while still hiking across solid rock. On the slopes just below us Gino spotted more mountain goats. This closer view showed their pure white color and large stature. Awesome!
Finally caught up with Chopper and Savior who were making camp. Using the map, we decided that we were at what the data book called bleak, alpine campsites which luckily were near a melting glacier so we had water! This "bleak" spot had two campsites too. Perfect!
As darkness fell, we went back up to the ridge line and witnessed perhaps the most spectacular sunset during the whole PCT. With the glowing crescent moon taking her place in the sky, the red, purple and pink hues shown bright against the Goat Rocks Wilderness.
Today was amazing, beautiful, hard, exhilarating, hot, rocky, fun, frightening, a good day! There were so many incredible sights and events today. While our mileage was not as high as planned, I suspect we will remember this day as one of the highlights of the PCT. Despite its difficulty, today was what this whole trail is about. Forester Pass (from the Sierras) was 15 seconds of thrill and danger. Goat Rocks was like hours! One wrong move and you could have tumbled thousands of feet to your death. Earlier in the hiking season, a PCT horseback rider Pepperoni and her two horses fell off the trail on an alternate route in Washington, probably on trail similar to the one today. Pepperoni managed to survive but her horses fell to their death. A very tragic event for sure but Pepperoni is back out on the trail looking fear in the eye. Way to go Pepperoni! So, this trail business is not to be taken lightly, especially on days like this one! The Goat Rocks Wilderness is a must see!