Day 122: mile 2250 – mile 2274

Elevation gain: 4,067 ft

Elevation loss: 2,597 ft

We were super excited for today because we were finally going to enter the Goat Rocks Wilderness! We have been hearing about how beautiful this area is, as well as the Northern Cascade Range, for quite some time. We were walking out of camp by 7:15, just as Mantis & Pants were waking up. We knew that our planned campsite, 23.5 miles away, was a popular one so we planned on saving a tent site for them if we could get there early enough. We hadn’t hiked more than 1 mile when we saw a black bear on the trail ahead of us! WOW…we were beginning to think that our days of seeing bears were over, it had been quite a while! The trail was lined with huckleberry bushes so it looked like he was eating his tasty breakfast. He turned to look at us twice, but didn’t seem sure what he was seeing, so he just kept sauntering up the trail. Then Link turned on his camera, the bear heard the beep, and he promptly took off into the brush. This guy was all black colored with a brown nose…we weren’t able to get a picture of that one. But THEN…a few miles later we saw a mama bear and her cub!! They were also eating huckleberries up the hill from the trail…Link got a video of them which is great! Mama kept a close eye on us, but let the cub keep eating for a bit before they ran up the hill as well. Unbelievable, that brings our bear count to 8! (Please excuse my expletive in the video, but a bear with her cub definitely makes me a little nervous 😬)

The first 15 miles or so, we were walking in the trees a lot, but this time we were greeted with Meadows and ponds along the way.

Fungi and cool water droplets 😁

We had only stopped once for a brief breakfast and water filtering session all day so we thought we would try to stop for lunch next. But every weekend backpacker walking toward us was saying that the area we wanted to stop for the night was really congested with backpackers already. So…we decided we should just grab some “easy to eat” snacks and keep walking to try and beat some of the crowds. These last 8/9 miles were amazing! Great views, much more water, gorgeous wildflowers, and green hillsides…beautiful!

This rock formation looked just like Devils Postpile!

Since our Inreach bit the dust yesterday, and we haven’t had any cell service, we have felt very “unreachable”. This is a very uneasy feeling when we have “older” parents (only in age, not in their hearts 😁), 1 kiddo driving up to Berkeley this weekend, and the other kiddo home with the dog. If anything were to come up with the house, or if anyone needed anything, there is absolutely no way to get ahold of us right now. Mantis & Pants have their Inreach, but we aren’t always with them. When we finally have cell service again, Link will try to troubleshoot the device as well as contact Garmin. Then, as luck would have it, we reached Cispis Pass and had one bar of LTE, enough to call the parents and kids. Everyone is good and we explained our predicament…phew! After the Pass, the landscape was even more stunning which is why we started seeing a TON of tents…uh-oh.

A spectacular waterfall, and the most Pasqueflowers I have seen all in one place…they were EVERYWHERE!

Well…as we suspected, and feared, the tent site we were hoping for was full as well as all sites nearby except for one right near the trail. We have camped by the trail tons of times, so that’s no problem, but there was no way 2 tents could fit there. So I stayed at the spot in case it truly was the last one around, while Link went on a little bit to see what was up the trail. He took his pack so he could leave it in a spot to save it in case he found one, which he did! 1/2 mile north was a spot for 2 tents, so he left his pack in that spot and then started to jog back to grab me. But as he was running, he tripped on a rock and went flying. He had his phone in one hand, and the camera in the other so he had to land on his back in the dirt in order to assure he didn’t break the electronics. He’s lucky he didn’t break a bone of his own! 😩 We were setting up our camp in our new spot at about 5:30, hoping Mantis & Pants would see that the original spot was taken, and just keep walking north until they found us.

We had a new Knorr side of cheesy fettuccine, with our added chicken that we had dehydrated, for dinner. Link then had a second dinner of mashed potatoes before we each had a Snickers for dessert…yummy!

Then at 8pm, just as we were hopping in the tent because it was getting COLD, Mantis & Pants arrived! They found us, they’re so smart 😁 More super cool stuff tomorrow, starting with “Knife’s Edge” in the morning! Thanks for joining us on this fun journey! DoubleDown