Day 123 mile 2274 – 2295.4 (0.6 miles to lodge)
Elevation: ascent 4,327 ft, descent 5,811 ft
This was a day both Double Down and I had been looking forward to for a while. Today we were going to cross Knife’s Edge in Goat Rocks Wilderness. We also were heading for a resupply in White Pass as well. There was a possibility of showers and laundry if we could get there before 5:00, so alarms were set early. With sunrise getting later each day we are finding that our morning wake ups are getting darker and darker. We hit the trail with Mantis and Pants at 6:40 this morning. It was darn cold this morning with frost all over the ground and this meant we all had most of our cold weather gear on. Double Down and I were very happy we had gotten our warmer gloves back when we hit Washington.
The first part of the day was spent climbing which definitely helped warm us up. The trail has these cool large cairns marking the trail, and we think it is for helping hikers with winter travel when the trail is covered in snow. As we rose out of the trees we were treated to spectacular views of Mt Adams, Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier (which is getting much closer) once again. We also started to encounter snow once again.
The trail right before Knife’s Edge spilts. There is a lower route for stock and a higher route which climbs a bit more but gives hikers some pretty special views. The high route is considered the alternate since stock aren’t able to walk this trail and the PCT was designed to allow for equestrian riders as well as hikers. So obviously we chose the high route. It was windy, so some of the layers that had come off on the climb up went back on. Much of the trail at this point was just a combination of shale and lava rock as we climbed even higher. Once we were at the top the four of us took the time to soak in the views while having breakfast. We couldn’t have asked for a better spot, except for a little less wind.
After breakfast we headed across Knife’s Edge. This part of the trail did not disappoint! Having clear skies today gave us amazing views and we feel very fortunate as we have talked to others who came through when it was cloudy and said they could barely see anything.
After crossing Knife’s Edge we then started a steep long descent into the valley below. The melting snow provided us with ice cold water and provided the wildflowers with the water they needed to grow as we ran across some great fields of color.
The long descent found us reentering a forest and with that the views were gone. It didn’t last too long as today was a roller coaster. So we quickly found ourselves with a steep ascent out of the valley we had just dropped into. There used to be a fire detour here in the past but the PCT is open to us this year. However, this meant we got to walk through some burn sections once again. The only nice thing is we could then get a glimpse of the snow covered mountains behind us.
Once at the top we again had some great views. Mt Rainier felt like we could almost reach out and touch it. We then crossed over a ridge and got a view of Shoe Lake with its crystal clear waters below. Looked like a great spot for a weekend backpacking trip! Then it was one last ridge before heading downhill towards White Pass.
On the way down to White Pass we passed by small Ginnette Lake. We may have stayed here longer except we were on a mission to get to the Kracker Barrel at White Pass in order to get a shower. Once we hit Hwy 12 we then had to walk 0.6 miles west to the Kracker Barrel. Our original plan was to camp for free behind the Kracker Barrel but as we walked along this busy and very loud highway we started to think about staying at the White Pass Lodge. A bed and a quiet room sounded much better than camping next to this highway.
We got to the Kracker Barrel at 4:20 and once we saw the dirt lot we would have to camp in we both knew the lodge was the best choice. We were able to get a room for the night which is very cute (the Bear room) and it even gave us a view of the ski resort across the street. Now we had to hustle to get laundry down to the Kracker Barrel as the last wash has to be in by 5:00, made it by 10 minutes. Phew!! While I was getting our laundry going I did some food shopping since we had a kitchenette in the room and also grabbed our resupply box. Right before I left Mantis and Pants came running in asking if they missed the laundry time. The problem is our stuff had just gone in the only washer they have. The lady behind the counter told them I was using it but we could share if we wanted to. So I said they could stop it and throw what they needed in there. After getting the food back to the room it was time to resupply and shower. Double Down and I then enjoyed eating dinner while looking at the mountain outside our window.
What a nice treat being in a cozy room, especially since it looks like a good chance for rain tonight. Thanks for following along with us!! Link