Friday 12th August
Start: Snoqualmie Pass
End: Bushcamp, Goldmeyer mile 17.38
Leaving Snoqualmie we decided to take the Goldmeyer alternative trail north. This is a 26-mile stretch that someone told me was once the PCT official route, before they changed it to include equestrian users. The big selling factor had been a 10-mile saving. We needed no further convincing!
A few hours in and I could see why this trail was deemed not suitable for horses! It had been fairly busy on the initial 3 miles up to Snow Lake. A popular day hike, I was feeling frustrated by the noise and having to share the trail with people carrying virtually no weight. My pack must have been close to 40 pounds. It was back-breaking, and made me miserable in the heat. I decided that when we get to the next stop I am going to post anything back to The Marshmeiers that I can. If the weather forecasts are promising I may even shed my waterproofs! I can’t carry this weight again. And we must stop buying food.
Snow Lake is the most photographed part of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It is picturesque, with crystal clear water, and surrounded by steep jagged cliffs. Some still had snow patches dotted near their tips. As we ascended over the ridge leaving the lake behind us we were suddenly alone. We didn’t see another sole all day until Dan at camp. It felt like the path a lot less travelled, which surprised me as the route features in the PCT Halfmile maps.
The endless switchbacks down into Rock Creek got me thinking maybe we had made a mistake. The trail was very overgrown, slippery, and not well-maintained. This was evident by the number of blow-down trees left to rot in our way. We faced the ultimate in defeat twice today, with blow-downs that gave us no choice but to remove our packs in order to get past them. What a pain! It is strange to think that this path was once the PCT, it felt abandoned, with bridges warped and trail crumbling away.
The Washington weather system is really playing with us now. Just 3 days ago we were hiking in every piece of clothing we had. Today, it is 90 degrees, and so sticky! The humidity in the forest made it feel as though we were bush-whacking through the jungle. The moss-covered path and loose rocks were the reason for me slipping 4 times. Luckily each time I saved myself from completely falling, and I wasn’t really hurt, but it shock me up and made me ultra careful about each precarious step. That probably explains why the 4-mile section to Thunder Creek took us nearly 4 hours!
So 11.5 hours on the trail later and we had accomplished only 17 miles. Impossible I thought, re-checking the GPS. What a day! I don’t think there has been a single flat bit! We climbed nearly 6000 feet, and descended 5300. Washington is tough.