Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bumping River - 12 miles today

The trail was relatively easy today with elevation changes in the low hundreds. We broke up the day into three sections of four miles each with a two hour lunch break at Snow Lake. We've hiked the first ten miles three times (we're getting pretty good at that part) but at least the last four today were all new to us. 
There's tons of lakes up here. Some are low and mucky while others are clear and clean looking. Even the mucky ones have pretty grasses growing and nice reflections. 

When we arrived at the Bumping River we looked for a campsite upstream and found a nice big site. Unfortunately when we were putting up the tents, what I noticed were the yellow jackets. Tons of them, but they weren't going after us to sting but they sure wanted something. Mostly from me. We hastily cooked dinner and I had to eat mine standing up and walking about. Once I got finished with food and clean-up I dove right into my tent. Right now they are buzzing around my tent, but they can't get me! It's gonna be a long eveningšŸ˜§

L painted a nice painting of Snow Lake at lunch today. 
And here is the one of the meadow next to our campsite. 
Tomorrow is a mostly up and some down day with views galore. We will get somewhere close to Chinook Pass and leave a short day to go out the day after. L has a long drive home back to Bellingham, through Seattle traffic if we don't time it right. Traffic! Blah!

Finished - 15 miles

Today the yellow jackets were ever present in my mind. When we got up at 5:45 they were still sleeping (as would any reasonable creature) so the early part of the day was buzzing free. As we climbed the big first hills of the day the cold kept all but the elk hunkered down. Too bad I didn't have a good camera but here is what I got. The first image is before they knew were there, the second after they caught wind of hiker stink. 

Big hills today... Most of the day. The sun hit our path with rich light
and we enjoyed the trail as we climbed to the west. Then we saw Rainer. Big and bold, even with the smoke of the fires. 
Most of the morning we had this view. 
As the day wore on it got hotter and hotter when the trail was in the sun. Until we arrived at Anderson Lake, nine miles into the days hike. L was having lots of difficulty with one of her feet and it wasn't clear why she was in so much pain. Soaking her foot in the lake helped but whenever she would put back on her shoe, the pain on her heel would return with a vengeance. Finally, she decided to try and hike in her Crocs and, what do you know? No more pain! Somehow the back of her shoe was pressing on her achalies tendon and creating lots of trouble. 
So, what to do? It seemed reasonable to go on for a couple more miles. There were yellow jackets at Anderson Lake, as well as everywhere else we had stopped during the day, so we didn't relish the idea of hunkering down so early in the day, hiding from the buzzers in the tents. So off we went to Dewey Lake. 

Twelve miles into the day we arrived at Dewey Lake, nearing late afternoon.  I was tired but the same trouble was at Dewey Lake. It was, as one man had told us early earlier in the day, a very bad year for yellow jackets. Call me a wimp but having been swarmed by these critters once, I don't relish a second event. 
So we sat, L showed off her paintings/drawings and we decided to push on the last three miles to her car at Chinook Pass. Once I start thinking about real food it's hard for me to let go of the idea so, even though it was still hot, and we had a seven hundred foot climb in the sun, we pushed on. The reward was wonderful late-day sunlight. 
Back to the car and off to Packwood to eat at one of the two restaurant in town. Don't rember the name but we sat at the bar with "Burn" who is a 25 year local. 
Salad, burger and beer plus the drive back to the car in near dark. The perfect ending to a wonderful trip. Two last images. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Deer Lake - Do Overs

This morning, after sleep and much discussion and consideration about what to next, L and I decided to take today as a tourist day, checking out Mt Rainer. Now that we can see it. 

We found ourselves in Sunday traffic heading into the park but soon enough we got to Sunrise Day lodge, along with many other folks. 

The plan was to look around for the day then go back to the trailhead and hike BACK on the trail we originally planned to do, now that the rains have subsided, and we have dried out. I'm starting to get pretty familiar with the first ten miles of this section. Tonight we only hiked in two miles and have setup camp at this sweet little lake. 

Dinner done, water treated for tomorrow and I'm watching L paint. 
Final image.