Daily Miles: 26
Total Miles: 2277
We decided to give ourselves more options for how the day might go down (shorter or longer day), so we planned for an early start. We were all awake by 5:20 and headed out by 6:00. The trail was really smooth and gradual in the morning, so we were able to make good time.
We arrived at the Goat Rocks Wilderness boundary in the morning. We have been looking forward to this stretch of the PCT for awhile, as so many people have raved about the beauty. The fog started to burn off by mid-morning and we were really hopeful for a nice day.
As we were walking along this morning, we seemed to disturb yet another bee nest in the ground on the side of the trail. Unfortunately for MountainMan, he was the recipient of the bee’s anger and got four stings. We continue to be amazed at how many bee stings we have collectively gotten on the trail. For MountainMan, this was the second time he had gotten stung in just three days!
We saw some weekend backpackers in the morning, but far fewer than we expected, given that it was still technically Labor Day weekend. Since we were hoping to get in a lot of miles, we kept ourselves on a pretty tight schedule of breaks. We decided not to take the time to cook at lunch, since we were trying to keep the breaks to a minimum.
After lunch, we started a climb which took us through Indian land and then up to a pass. Once we got over the pass, we had great views of deep and dramatic valleys. We could also see Mount Rainier in the distance. The views were really stunning, and we were thankful for the clear afternoon.
As the afternoon rolled on, we started to see the gray clouds come in. As we got closer to the Knife’s Edge, which is considered a highlight in the Goat Rocks, it seemed like the higher points were shrouded in clouds, but the lower parts of the trail were still clear. Right before the Knife’s Edge, there is a split in the trail, where one trail goes up to the highest point, before descending sharply to the Knife’s Edge. The other trail stays pretty level over the the Knife’s Edge. SweetPea decided to stay on the lower trail and Beardoh went with her. MountainMan opted for the higher trail. While the lower trail would be a piece of cake when completely clear, the few patches of snow still left, made for a few tricky spots. But, we made it over fine and started down the Knife’s Edge. As the name would imply, the trail goes along the spine of a ridge, which has very little ground on either side of it. It could be a bit nerve-wracking, but we just took our time on it. As we were going along, more clouds came in and obscured our view from the ridge. Every once in awhile, the clouds would pass and we could see the dramatic views (and even some mountain goats)…certainly one of the gems on the PCT.
Once we descended from the Knife’s Edge, we got to the first campsite and called it a day. We were pretty tired, but relieved to have been able to get nice views in the Goat Rocks and to get over the Knife’s Edge before the bad weather comes in tomorrow.
It is quite cold tonight and we are both going to sleep with more layers on than normal.