And here it was, the section we had been waiting for.
The Goat Rocks Wilderness.
Worth walking hundreds of miles for
We had heard incredible things. Even though I live in Washington, it's enough of a drive that I hadn't been to this part of Washington before. I was ready to get my mind blown, especially because I could see Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens all getting bigger and bigger.
Peek-a-boo Mount Rainier
One of the first things we got to do after leaving White Pass was something called the Knife's Edge. You've got to understand that I was terrified to hear that that's what was in store for us. Heights scare the crap out of me. Even thinking about being high up makes my palms sweat. My palms are starting to sweat right now, as I'm typing this.
Fortunately for me, although there were multiple points where I thought I would probably fall and die, the actual Knife's Edge wasn't as knifes-edge-y as I expected it to be. It ended up being a very steep climb along a lot of shale rocks, and I did not end up falling all the way off the mountain. Success!
Climbing up the Knife's Edge
We had planned to camp right past the Knife's Edge, where we should have a perfect view of all 3 of the aforementioned major peaks, and by golly if it wasn't utterly perfect weather for a picturesque sunset and sunrise there.
I heard later from several hikers that were a few days ahead or behind us at the time that they were totally socked in around Goat Rocks, and they couldn't see anything. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but man, am I glad I wasn't them.
That evening, at camp, while we were sitting around staring at Mount Adams, Yahtzee told me that she wanted to offer me a trail name. She told me that she was always a little worried she wasn't documenting enough of the trail, but she could always use me as a backup, since I was constantly taking photos and videos.
Staring at Adams at camp > staring at a TV at home
From then on, I introduced myself as Archive
on the trail. I had always wondered what stupid thing I'd end up doing to get my trail name, so I was pretty happy that it didn't have anything to do with poop or tripping. In my journal entries, I wrote about how she offered it to me, and I ended with, I think I like it.
Mount Rainier from Goat Rocks
This section was also the beginning of mosquito hell. I spent a lot of time in the continually increasing temperatures in my raincoat, head net, and bug pants. I basically had to choose between getting eaten alive or roasting under the sun (I always chose the latter).
Just trying to stay sane
We hit the 400 mile marker, which was the first SOBO milestone marker I saw! I had seen some NOBO ones, which mostly just made me think more about how many miles I had left to go. It was very exciting to see the number of miles I had actually walked get higher, and I couldn't believe I had really walked that far in one shot.
We got real up close and personal with Mount Adams here, and that was a lot of fun. I had summitted Mount Adams the previous year with one of my best friends from home, Matt.
We meet again, Mount Adams
Although it wasn't originally in the resupply plan, the trail family decided to stop in Trout Lake because there was a shuttle service organized by the local trail angels into town, and we wouldn't have to worry about the logistics of getting to town. (Plus, it cut a resupply carry of 150 miles from White Pass to Cascade Locks in half.)
Just another photo of the amazingness that was this section
And Trout Lake was a great place. There was an entire yard dedicated to hikers next to the general store, and free laundry. A campground nearby had showers. And there were hikers everywhere! I got to catch up with some friends (ran into my friend Katie again, from day 1). I realized when I got to Trout Lake that I had actually been here before, which was random because it's in the middle of nowhere and is basically just two buildings, a cafe/restaurant and a small grocery store. I had stopped here on my Mount Adams summit last year! It was funny to come back and realize I had actually been to this place I had completely forgotten about.
It was also time to say goodbye to TL, who had to return home to start work. After the trail was over, I'd go visit her in Denver. Lifelong friends are easy to make on the PCT!
A mighty good-looking family, if I do say so myself
We stayed almost all day, since we got there in the morning, and finally got a ride out with a dozen other people on the same pickup truck in the evening. There wasn't much hiking done that day, but it sure was a lot of fun.