Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Day 3- Nature wondering

Day 3- Washington PCT
To Waptus Lake mile 2427

On the ascent, there is a wonderful moment when Jan asks if these mountains are the "Four Brothers" Peaks that we noticed on the map. I pull out paper map and compass and sure enough there they are, brother like lumps of blocky rock squeezed together. Putting topo lines together with mountain shapes provides a grounding sense of place. 
Getting red fred in the shed to find Four Brothers
 But what about the rest of the peaks? Our Halfmile maps only show a few miles beyond the trail. Views extend well beyond these limits.  We ask other hikers if they know their names. No luck  So mountains beyond the maps get fake names like Snaggletooth and the Sorbet Range (which is creamcicle orange with honeydew melon scree fields). 
Maybe this one is really called Cathedral
The other side of the pass, more colors.
 Huckleberries, blueberries, salmonberries, thimbleberries! Time to play Swoop Snatch Eat Repeat.  Which is how to pick berries while hiking without stopping.  The day is dedicated to perfecting the technique. I think tomorrow might require more practice too.
 Descending into the Waptus Lake valley, everything changes. A bracken fern garden. Is that lycopodium? And fairybells but the smooth-fruited kind Ive never seen before only read about.  Ah breathe in that scent- its goatsbeard lichen clean air.

Surely here is where the dragonflies will be the size of hummingbirds and other forest friends will lurk.  And yet, we still see zero scat.  Zero!  The forest seems empty. Where are all the creatures?  My Montana-trained eyes still scan for grizzlies and moose, but alas, not even a squirrel. Is this forest out of balance? Are they just staying clear of the PCT corridor? 

No word from the stress fracture site, not a peep. Everything seems happy but my poor legs that itch for more miles.  

Hammock is set up in a sheltered site in deep forest.  Jan and I lay on the ground in the evening light gazing at the towering giants.  Tonight we are tree watching. Watch how they stand, how they reach and twist. That short stubby one broke off but seems to have recovered. Tree watching entertainment - yes I am achieving my slowing down goals!
Let's watch the trees, Jan.


  1. Love the Cathedral Pass area! Also, I download the Green Trails maps for the area. The app itself isn't great, but it allows me to pick out the more distant peaks.

    1. Sure wish I'd have had more maps for this section. Next time for sure!!! Will have to check out that app.