Sunrise Camp(68.7)-Eagle’s Roost(94.7)
Campsite Elevation: 4,834ft
Today may have been the one day that we had significantly less elevation gain than loss. We did 19.7mi with 5,823ft of uphill and 7,184ft of downhill. Of all our days, today was the most enjoyable on many levels. I think that if we weren’t on a permit, we would have naturally walked this distance and pace, so that was nice to have a day that felt natural. We got a leisurely start at 7:40am. It turns out we camped near a blog follower that I was keeping an eye out for and I didn’t notice it until just as we were leaving this morning. It was fun to make that connection. It would have been a bummer to figure that out a week from now that we had camped at the same place had we not seen one another. A shout out to Tina and I hope your group’s hike went well!
This will be another picture heavy entry. For anyone wanting to do a section of this hike, the trail is more above tree line on the east and north sides. I’d say it’s still more forested than not, but there are definitely more open views on those sides. For me, this is a bit of a farewell for a while to this kind of scenery as I’ll be leaving in a couple of weeks to hike for 5-6 months in Australia and New Zealand. I do love the Pacific Northwest and today gave me a wonderful sendoff. Buck-30 commented, and I agree, that we really couldn’t have gotten more perfect weather it seems. I heart the clouds up here and we had some great whispy ones all day while Rainier had a little cap of clouds on and off.
We came across a lot of backpackers today, 51 people (17 women, 34 men). After lunch, we came across a couple that we saw our first day. This also happened yesterday with another guy we had seen our first day. If you are going opposite directions of others doing it in a different amount of days there is a chance you’ll see each other twice. That was fun. The couple we saw today had a good story. They did this loop 20yrs ago and got married at the Sunrise camping area, where we camped last night. Their family (including their two kids) and friends are waiting for them at Sunrise and they will finish and renew their vows today. So sweet! Then, later we met a couple from the Midwest that knew the blog through an old high school classmate of mine. We talked for a bit and then I turned to catch up to Buck-30 to realize he was practically napping nearby. He said he wanted everyone to know his strategy for when I run into people and that he quite enjoys these extra breaks.
We ended the hike with the Spray Park alternate. It parallels the WT, just adds a few miles, and gives one more chance to get some great views up high. Many WTers choose to do it and I think it’s totally worth it. We both agreed that it was a nice way to end the hike.
We ended at a campsite named Eagle’s Roost. It is just 1.8mi from a trailhead where there is a mass car camping area. We could have hiked out tonight, but agreed that having one more night was the right thing to do. It’s a bit of a drive back to Portland, and there’s no reason to squeeze that in after a full day of hiking. We were shocked to get all seven campsites all to ourselves! This is a really nice area at Spray Park and it’s so close to a trailhead. We couldn’t figure out why no one was here?? There’s even a slight view of Mt Rainier looming right through the trees that I couldn’t capture with the camera. We really enjoyed having it to ourselves and even got one last episode of UnReal in after dinner.
As it was getting dark, three hikers came into camp. We had passed their packs earlier while they were sitting off trail at a water source, but didn’t see the hikers. Just by looking at the packs, Buck-30 commented that they might be thru-hikers. We haven’t seen many of the lighter packs and one had a ULA Circuit and another one had one of the new Six Moon Designs packs. We got to talking to them and they were thru-hikers! In fact, all of them were 2014 ATers, the same year I did the AT! They were doing a reunion hike. One of the hikers, Patches, remembered that we actually crossed paths on the CDT in Montana last year when E and I did a section hike before the GDT. He then recognized Buck-30 and remembered that the two of them shared a table with a large group of hikers in Northern Montana on the CDT as well. Small world. Yes, I do love this thru-hiking community.
Well, we have less than 2mi to hike out tomorrow morning, so I’m not going to post anything on that. It was great to get a chance to do a trail with Buck-30 and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t find some obscure trail to try together someday in the future. For now, I’ll have a 2wk gap in hiking before I head to Australia. I will be filling that time with plenty of planning and taking my annual end-of-summer Chicago visit to see my twin sister and nephews. I’ll do another more detailed post on the Australia and New Zealand plans before I leave. Buck-30 has plenty more short trails ahead still this year. Next up, Buck-30 will be doing the relatively new and more remote Bigfoot Trail in Northern California. Here is a link to Buck-30’s journal on that one, which is sure to be interesting as he tests his tolerance of poison oak… Thanks for coming along on another trail and I’ll be back in a couple weeks as we go international baby!!!