Day 125 mile 2316.2 – 2337.5
Elevation: ascent 3,884 ft, descent 3,869 ft
Wow did the weather change last night! When we climbed into our tent it was calm with thick clouds hugging the mountains around us. By midnight the sky had cleared and the wind was howling. While lying in the tent and hearing the wind rip at our tent I was reminded of the desert early on. I still have some PTSD from some of those nights, when I would be up trying to restake the tent back down after it had collapsed on us. This time the tent held off every attack the wind made. The MSR tent stakes I am using now along with improved set up by me (I have had a few nights to work out the kinks out here) allowed me to stay in the tent through the night. Besides the wind making in loud all night it also ended up coating everything inside our tent with a thick layer of dust. The fine dirt that is all around us was easily picked up by the wind and our mesh walls of the tent couldn’t stop it from coming in. Both Double Down and I could feel the dirt hitting us in the face with each large gust. So in the morning we felt like we had been rolling around in the dirt before we even got up to pee.
Once out of the tent it remained windy and made it really hard to pack up. Normally one of us can breakdown the tent, but today we had to both attack it as the tent was being blown in every possible direction. Even trying to keep our stove lit for boiling coffee required me to build a wind block with my pack and other clothing bags. With the wind the clouds were gone which was nice and gave us a great view of Mt Rainier as the morning sunlight hit it.
This morning we got to hike by a couple of lakes on the trail. At about 6 miles into the day we ended up at Dewey Lake for breakfast. We enjoyed a relaxing stop on its shore before making the long steep climb up to Chinook Pass. After leaving Dewey Lake we enjoyed walking by meadows of flowers, which surrounded the lake. Double Down even spotted a cool pond frog as we crossed a bridge.
There were dozens of day hikers out today and we ran into all of them as we reached Chinook Pass, which is also an entrance to Mt Rainier National Park. We did take advantage of the pit toilets at the trailhead. Funny how that seems like a luxury, especially if it is stocked with TP. I was also able to get rid of our trash in a trashcan there!! This may not seem like a lot to the normal person but not having to haul that around is such treat for thru hikers.
After taking advantage of modern conveniences at the trailhead it was a short climb up to Sheep Lake. This is another popular destination for day hikers. The lake was pretty and allowed us to top off our water, since the next source wasn’t for another 10 miles.
In the afternoon, we found ourselves climbing back up and getting to the north side of Mt Rainier. Getting occasional views of this majestic mountain was the highlight of the afternoon. One thing I love is that both Double Down and I still enjoy finding new things on the trail. Like this cool green Mormon Cricket.
At lunch we had some cell reception which allowed us to work on some logistics for the end of our trip. Trying to plan for the end of this adventure while it is still going on is hard as each day can be unpredictable.
After collecting water at a spring. We headed off for the last 3 miles to camp. About half way there we remembered we forgot to start soaking the steak (rehydrate) which we were going to have with dinner. So Double Down grabbed it from my pack and went to open the bag. The bag then slipped through her fingers scattering half the bag of steak on the trail. Well I know this won’t come to a shock to any of you now, but we quickly proceeded to comb through the dirt rescuing each morsel of steak.
We made it to camp around 5:30. The campsites here in Washington are busier than at any other point on the trail. So we found two hikers already there (section hiking Washington) but we still found space to set up our camp. Sometimes we wish the tent sites could give us preference since we are basically calling the wilderness home these days. Sharing our home with others can be hard especially when we are tired and just want to cook dinner, even as unrealistic as this sounds 😜
Our beans with rescued steak never tasted so good. The winds have died so hopefully we won’t have the same dust storm as we did last night. As I finish up this blog Double Down is already drifting off to sleep. Guess we will get a good nights sleep and do this whole routine again tomorrow. Thanks for following along!! Link