Wonderland Trail Day 6

Klapatche Park to Golden Lakes: 7.8 miles (+1500/-2100)

Oh Day 6. It seems so uneventful after Terrible Day. But it was still quite nerve-wracking. During the later parts of Terrible Day, I was a little scared about how we would finish out the day, but I was really scared about what would happen if we woke up in the morning and it was still cold and raining. We had dry sleep clothes and sleeping bags, but almost everything else we had was soaked. After sleeping 11 hours (following 13 straight hours of hiking), however, we woke up to this gorgeous view of a blue sky over Mt. Rainier.

The view from inside our tent. Such a relief!
The view from inside our tent. Such a relief!

Of course, ten minutes after I took this it clouded over and stayed mostly overcast for the rest of the day. I was clearly traumatized by the previous day’s events because every time I saw a cloud that looked like it might threaten rain, I would clutch Toby’s arm and ask him what he thought. And the few patches of blue sky we saw felt like a miracle.

I was a bit reassured by the two sets of hikers we saw leave Klapatche Park before us, who seemed totally unfazed. I asked one guy (his name was Ethan, we found out a few days later) what the weather report was and he said he heard it would be clear. I replied, in a shaky tone, that I was relieved because all our stuff was soaked. He said in a totally casual, breezy way, “Oh us too!” Five minutes later I saw him and his wife trotting out of camp like they had not a care in the world. I guessed that they must be much more seasoned than us and decided to try to adopt his attitude.

Eventually, later than usual, we climbed out of our tent and put on our very wet, very cold hiking clothes. I whined for a while, but after a few minutes of having them on I started to warm up. Toby and I packed up our stuff and headed out.

We had a long descent right out of camp, but the trail was wide and pretty free of rocks and roots so we were able to make decent time. We crossed paths with four older women who were on their way up (Toby and I noted happily that over the course of the trip, we perceived the other hikers we saw to be significantly more women than men, and often between 10-30 years older than us). Toby met his optimist-twin in this group. They asked what we heard about weather, and when I said, looking suspiciously at the cloudy sky, that it wasn’t supposed to rain, she said “Well that’s a great forecast to have!” (Thus the trail name I gave Toby, “Mx. Brightside,” for his persistent optimism.)

After the descent we stopped for lunch just outside North Puyallup campground. We had a beautiful spot with a view of the river. We decided to take a longish lunch and spread out much of our stuff to dry. I made coffee, and then we pulled out a new treat – tuna in foil packets. I was not expecting to like this lunch that much, so I had insisted on having mayo, mustard, and relish packets to mix in and oh my god it ended up being one of my favorite things to eat on the trail. Really. I could have eaten tuna every day. We were both trying to load up on calories, realizing that we had barely eaten the day before. Aside from the dry tortillas – aka the saddest dinner in the world – we had only eaten two ProBars and a few handfuls of trail mix, not nearly enough calories to sustain us on such a taxing day. So we also munched on potato chips and snickers and some other goodies.

Lunch break by the Puyallup River.
Lunch break by the Puyallup River.

Even after loading up at lunch, we felt that lack of calories, and the physical and mental exertion of the last day, over the next few miles. We had been glad to realize that this day was not that long on miles and had a reasonable amount of elevation change. But the gradual uphill out of North Puyallup camp felt interminable. [Yes, I believe I spent most of this portion groaning “my glutes…my glutes…I used up all of my uphill muscles yesterday!” –Toby] [Haha, same. I think our Crossfit coaches would be gratified to know how frequently we referenced our “posterior chain.” -Cyn] I also earned my own trail name, “Umbles,”  by falling squarely on my ass while trying to navigate some rocks (a while ago Toby was reviewing the four signs of hypothermia, which are called the umbles: mumbles, fumbles, stumbles and grumbles. We both instantly realized we would never know if I had hypothermia because these are all just descriptions of my typical state). I was fine, just a bruised ego.

Of course we still passed some beautiful spots. Though I guess I was too busy trying to figure out how far we had to go to notice this one.
Of course we still passed some beautiful spots. Though I guess I was too busy trying to figure out how far we had to go to notice this one.

2015-08-15 14.14.04

That said, all the frustration I felt on that climb was banished by the landscape once we climbed out of the trees. There seems to be no name for this ridge just before Golden Lakes, but it felt absolutely magical. We took lots of pictures, but none of them quite capture the majesty of the mountain range in the distance and the incredible flora around us. It felt like a gift to make it to this spot.

A panorama of the view right after we got out of the trees.
A panorama of the view right after we got out of the trees.
Me in my happy place.
Me in my happy place.

We took our time hiking along, feeling sure at this point that we wouldn’t be rained on; we were seeing patches of blue pretty consistently now. We tried to soak in the views and fully experience a place that reminded us why we were doing this.

We got to camp relatively early and it was lovely. We set up the tent, again tried to spread everything out to dry, and continued to ask everyone we saw about weather reports, which were optimistic for the rest of the trip. [I can’t believe Cyn forgot to mention this, but we also ate our potatoes and gravy dinner for the first time this night, and it was indescribably delicious. A+++, would pack again. –Toby] [I did really like the potatoes and gravy but they weren’t my favorite dinner in our collection. I would have eaten all the ramen in the world if I could have. -Cyn] We were in our tent by seven; when the ranger came to check permits he had to ask, “Anyone home in there?” We of course asked him about the weather forecast and he confirmed that it should be clear for the next several days. It was a relief to rest our tired bodies, and to feel like we had probably gotten through the worst the trail would throw at us on this trip. –Cyn

Our campsite at Golden Lakes.
Our campsite at Golden Lakes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s