Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Day 2- Pikas and rainbow mountains

2400 (Joe Lake) to 2412 (Lemah Creek)

The pika's mouth is bursting with fresh green as she scampers to her burrow.  Stopping, Jan says lets wait for her to come out.  A few moments layer the pika emerges for another foraging round, running over rocks, pausing for grooming, eeping, then disappearing. 

Would you rather be a pika and have twice as much work in summer- harvesting and drying food for winter too- or a marmot get fat eating all summer, and get to hibernate all winter? Do you wolf it all down now or save some for later?  Do pikas enjoy their quiet winters and play pika games and think pika thoughts? Or is it all ruminating about next years harvest and worrying they haven't done enough?

The rainbow mountains are purple, red green, and every shade of in between. The urge to look around makes tripping on rocks inevitable. The peaks are jagged and angular, different from my Montana mountains but no less vertical.  Mesmerizing mountains that seem to each have their own character. To top it off Adams and Rainier sparkle in the distance.
Mount Rainier
 Standing under a hanging boulder my fingers trace acute angles. A hiker passes us by. I ask if he is a geologist because you never know and I want to find out why the rocks are this way. Nope luck though. He says lingering under this rock is asking for trouble don't we see it might fall.
Trail carved of rock
A southbound hiker reports there are five loud dudes already at Spectacle Lake. We instead try for solitude down another side trail.  Park Lakes is ours for the first WA PCT swim! Dragonflies, splashing, refreshing, all cares wash away. 
Park Lakes
 On the descent my stress fracture site starts talking.  Not pain but I feel it. Hello, it says, don't forget! I spiral into worry of what if's and doubts and worse case scenarios involving having to get off trail. 

That makes it easier to stick to our low mileage goal.  Jan says she felt her stress fracture site on the descent too and she says that's the way of old injuries. Thank goodness we are Stress Fracture Sisters- with matching 3rd metatarsus scars. 

Camp is near a stream with a view of the tall mountain that will be a feature of tomorrow's climb. The evening's entertainment is glacier viewing. The glacier doesn't move, at least that we can see. But we watch it as it doesn't move for hours. It is massive and beautiful and we staring at it until the stars come out and we go bed satisfied.
Glacier-watching campsite

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