August 31, 2017
Hidden Springs – Sand Lake (2284.23-2295.16)
In stark contrast to yesterday, which was bright, clear, and sunny, this morning we were pretty much socked in by fog. I am so, so glad that we got through the Goat Rocks yesterday when all the spectacular views were actually visible. It was kind of cool this morning though, very Pacific Northwest. We had a couple miles to climb first thing this morning, and soon we were out of the thick of the forest. We reached a spot where we were supposed to get another good view of Rainier, but it was totally fogged over. But, as we continued to climb the ridge, the clouds lifted just enough for us to see the mountain through the fog. The mist continued shifting, continually changing our view, which was really cool.
We crested the hill at the top of the climb and saw the trail winding down along the ridge off into the distance. Below, shimmering lakes glinted through the mist. It was so beautiful. I definitely get why everyone loves Washington so much. Soon, we were back in the forest, cruising downhill toward White Pass. It wasn’t long before we arrived at the highway, and the Kracker Barrel Store was only a half mile away.
The place was packed with hikers, many we recognized from the trail, but some new faces as well. We spent pretty much the whole day there, eating, relaxing, and getting some stuff done. While there, I ate two burritos, an ice cream sandwich, a chocolate milk, a soda, a package of Reese’s peanut butter cups, a coffee, and a bag of kettle chips. So good. We also got to shower and do laundry, which felt amazing. It was our first laundry in two weeks and our first shower in a little over a week, and I was starting to smell pretty bad. We picked up our resupply boxes and I also got a package from Amazon with new socks and underwear (aka pure bliss).
When we arrived, we found out that part of the fire closure had been reopened. The trail was no longer closed right at White Pass, instead it was open for 30 miles to the spot where Highway 410 enters Mount Rainier National Park, where you can get hitch to wherever you decide to get back on trail. We decided to get back on trail and hike those 30 miles, instead of hitching straight to Snoqualmie Pass, but we’ll probably just skip the rest of the section after the closure for logistical ease.
Since this section is now only 30 miles long, we decided to take it slow and chill a bit. So today when we left the store, we only did 3 miles before stopping to set up camp at 6:30pm (pretty early for us these days). Tomorrow we’ll do 21 miles, leaving just 5 miles to the highway on Saturday morning. I’m really excited to have some relaxing, slower days. It was so nice tonight to get to camp early and have tons of time to set up and eat dinner while there was still daylight. Super excited to see what the rest of Washington will bring!