Isn’t She Lovely? Isn’t She Wonderful?
Beginning Elevation = 3,000
Ending Elevation = 5,550
Elevation Range = 3,000 – 5,600
Weather: Cloudy, a tad humid, high 75°F
After our late night concert, bedtime was around 11:30pm for me. That’s late for us hiker folk. Thus, a sleep in til 7:00am was in order. Once up, I made my way into the kitchen/dining hall area.
There were more than double the amount of hikers staying at the hostel our second night. I counted around 20 at breakfast. Pancakes were served by Double D again at 8:00am. I got to sub in for flipping duty at one point, but I was a little rusty and although my batch turned out perfectly golden, they were rather unsherical oddly shaped pancakes. After breakfast, I finally began packing my stuff up and slowly getting ready to hike again.
I felt no rush getting going today. Yesterday at our decision making council, when we decided to take the zero day, we also set ourselves up for the more relaxed option for the next stretch. Basically, we could have rushed on to get to the post office in Leavenworth, WA where Cheer had a package shipped by Saturday at 11:00am or we could take our time and she’d pick it up the Tuesday morning after Labor Day.
Anyway, TW and I decided to visit the Snowqualmie Pass “town” one last time for a little second breakfast action. I hoped to hang with him and see how he was feeling throughout the morning after his sickness bout last night. Once our food arrived (an English muffin, egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich for me), we both were feeling hungry again and it seemed to settle nicely. Afterwards, he seemed to think he’d be up for hiking on rather than take another zero day to gain his strength back.
On our way back to the hostel, we passed Calzone making her way to the trailhead. She said Cheer was just ahead of her. We wished her happy trails and said if we didn’t see them this evening, we’d find them tomorrow likely. And if not that, then we all planned to reach Stevens Pass on Sunday.
After some final packing and such, TW and I took off at 12:28pm. This was another hike out of town that I psyched myself out about. Southbounders had said that the trail was rocky and loose and there was little water and that it would be steep. So, I wouldn’t say I was dreading leaving, that’s too strong a word, but maybe that I was worried about the tough climb out.
Well, it was steep, but not particularly rocky or dry. And once up a ways, it was stunningly beautiful! If this is what were going to get for the rest of Washington, we’re in for some truly amazing scenery. I was amazed at how far up TW had gotten last night and turned around. It was a smart decision though. He was feeling shaky, fatigued, and was hiking alone, so going higher up would’ve been a poor choice.
In town there was one particular peak that seemed to loom over us, a big domed one. Our hike took us up near it and then above it to the Kendall Katwalk. Here’s a slew of photos from the day!
We could see the Washington Alpine Club below where we stayed the past two nights down at Snowqualmie Pass (the blurry green roof)…
The climb out of town was about 2,400 feet elevation gain over a 5.5 mile stretch. Then, we hung out around the 5,400 elevation range for a while crossing over the katwalk.
Around 4:00pm, we caught up with C and C who were hanging at the small yet pretty Ridge Lake.
Here, I had tea time with TW! Lemon Ginger tea. There were lots of day hikers during this first bit of trail, including this lovely dog who was quite thirsty.
We then continued on and up to our high point for the day! I found a little peak that I climbed up off trail too where I took a video of my surroundings.
We then dropped down and then back up again. If coming into Snoqualmie Pass was the Shivering Timbers ride, we were now hiking the Millennium Force or Magnum! And I’ll stop with the roller coaster references since most folks probably have no idea what I’m taking about. But, it seems like that’ll be the trend for Washington, lots and lots of steep up and down.
So wild though and rugged and stark and big and open!
At our tea time break it sounded like the girls were more motivated to go further than TW and I, but around 6:30pm we all stopped again for another break together. Here it seemed like we were all ready to find camp and that they’d join us rather than push on to their originally intended campsite another 4.4 miles away.
So, we went another 0.2 and found a spot. We went past a few others setting up their tents along the way. They must have been coming south or at least one had, because she was pointing upwards ahead and we overhead her talking about how a goat was up there in the middle of the trail and wouldn’t get out of the way…for an hour, she said. And sure enough, when I looked way up there on the ridge, I saw a white speck moving! I’m counting it as my first mountain goat siting!
Camp was really fun that night with the four of us. Not sure the reason, but we all seemed to be in a mood where everything seemed funny. Happy to be with such a great group!