Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 138: White Pass to Mt. Rainier National Park

After a slow morning, we collected our resupply and returned to the trailhead, stopping at the Kracker Barrel convenience store to pick up the new pole tips Black Diamond sent me. Opening the tailgate to remove our backpacks from the truck, catastrophe struck. My Platypus hose and bite valve got pinched between the tailgate and the truck. When I pulled it out it began to drip. Broken.

"I think I have a new Platypus in my truck," a man called across the parking lot. White Jeep was dropping off his wife Seminole and had recognized us from our journal. Sure enough, after digging through a well organized plastic tub he produced a new Platypus, giving me the hose and bite valve. Amazing!

After crossing the highway, our trail continued into the forest, meandering past numerous grassy lakes. With our late start, we did not reach the Bumping River until after 6. Although all of the other creeks crossed earlier in the day had wooden bridges in various states of disrepair, with rotten or broken planks, the Bumping River had no bridge. Fortunately, a pair of elk hunters had told us about a downstream log just beyond the elk hunting camp near the river. Bushwhacking through the thick brush on the far side of the camp, we located the promised log and easily crossed the river.

The trail climbed from the river. And climbed, and climbed, and climbed. We passed one flat space near a creek, but it was already occupied. We hiked on, eventually donning headlamps to navigate around the many rocks and roots on the trail.

Topping out on the ridge, we finally located a flat place to camp next to the trail, a cliff-like perch, with the hillside dropping off steeply below. We camped cowgirl style, and fell asleep looking at the stars.

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