Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wonderland Trail: Day 6 Pyramid Creek - Golden Lakes

I woke up early, I guess I was excited with the idea of a big day. And as usual it was time to climb. I wasn't exactly in a speedy mood but I passed the Devils Dream Campsite and then made it up the first climb of the day without too much excitement. The meadows up at Indian Henry are gorgeous, and I sure would love to be the back-country ranger at that location.

Down, down and oh wait for it, some more downhill trail. I surprised a baby deer and its mama. Now I realize deer are a dime a dozen but go ahead and deny the cuteness of baby animals. Its just too hard, there are millions of cards and calendars out there to support me on this.

fuzzy picture but I assure you it was adorable. 
After the steep descent I was confronted with another large suspension bridge over Tahoma Creek. This one was larger than the one near the Carbon Glacier and a whole lot farther from the ground. Today ended up being full of moments like this, ie if you are terrified of heights you mught be in for a bit of stress.

looking back at the bridge
And then it was time to climb again. 1600 feet elevation gain up toward Emerald Ridge. Oh my goodness Emerald Ridge, you are one amazing section.

Back to descending again, and this was a steep one, after spending a bit of time on the ridge the trail wastes no time cutting down towards S. Puyallup Camp. Many small sections on the edges of giant cliffs. Made just a bit more dangerous by the constant turning and gawking at the views, it's hard to watch your feet and the views at the same time. At the bottom there is another bridge across the S. Puyullup and then yet again climbing time. This was the brushiest section of trail so far but a fun climb. After battling the undergrowth the trail starts to open up and I got to see a little more of the surrounding mountains.

looking at the trail to come, cutting across the mountain
Stopped to swim, eat lunch and to grab some water at St. Andrews lake. What a nice spot. Made even better by the solitude. For such a popular trail it doesn't feel overcrowded very often.

Rounding the corner I got a whole different view of the mountain. This thing is so different from the different sides. You could see water cascading everywhere, what an amazing section.

If you squint you can see some of the water coming down, much better in real life

The view from Klapatche Camp
At 11:30 I was at Klapatche camp, my technical endpoint for the day. I was feeling good and an extra 8 miles seemed very doable so off I went. About halfway down from St Andrews Park I was starting to feel my day. That was one long downhill, only around 2000 feet but steep and narrow trail. I was getting cranky but ran into one other hiker headed up and that chat at least distracted me for a bit, along with the spectacular views. Then it was across N. Puyallup, past the campsites and climbing up again. For some reason this climb took forever. It was forested so hard to see where I was and no switchbacks, just 4 miles of cutting slowly up a mountainside. When I popped out of the trees it was gorgeous. An old burn so lots of visibility, so many flowers and golden grass.

Even though the climb had felt long I didn't actually think it was over but the trail flattened out and curved around the ridge. Soon enough I heard voices and I had made it to Golden Lakes a little after 3pm. I was pretty tired and collapsed on the porch of the ranger station. Then it was time for a mellow afternoon. Swimming and sitting around and enjoying the sunset with new people to talk to. Not a bad way to end a longer day.

10.1 miles to Mowich Lake Campground and I'm done. It's been one quick trip.

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