August 24th
S Mowich River Campsite (3.8)-Devils Dream Camp(28.5)
Mileage: 24.7mi
Campsite Elevation: 4,875ft

Elevation chart courtesy of the Wonderland Trail app from Guthook Hikes and Tami Asars.

We slept in (for me) and got started at 7am. I’ve been doing a 6am hike time all summer, and one of the things I was looking forward to on this trail is that it will be a much more relaxed schedule. Starting at 7am was wonderful. Buck-30 still sees that as an early start (he tends to hike later), so I was alone in my luxury of a “late” start today. This is our biggest mile day for the whole trail. The only campsite available was 24.7mi away, and that’s a challenging day out here.

There are 10 climbs over 1,000ft on this trail and we did four of them today. In fact, two of those climbs were over 2,000ft. Total, we had 8,217ft of uphill and 6,026ft of downhill. Yep, we were tired by the time the day was over. I’m very happy that Guthook has an app for the WT. I love being able to put the elevation charts at the beginning of the posts to give a good visual of the day.

It felt like 3/4 of the day was in the woods. Neither of us minded it, and it was great to be in the shade for the climbs, but it was a lot of woods. We saw few people early in the morning, but saw more after 9am. We each had a guess as to how many people we’d see hiking and guessed high. We ended up seeing 43 backpackers (16 women, 27 men).

Breaking out of the woods for our first view of the southwest side of Rainier.

I thought I’d seen it all, and then we came across a family with 7 children (#8 is on the way!) ranging from 18mo to around 11yrs old. It was amazing! They were doing the hike over 12 days and were on day 11 and everyone looked great. The three year old was leading the charge up at the front and they said he’s walked it on his own the whole way. I believe it. I don’t know who would carry him. They were packed amazingly light (it helps that you can cache food in many places around the mountain). They said they carry a four person tent and it’s like Tetris inside. Seriously, it was amazing.

6 of the family of 9. Dad came around the corner with the other two boys later and I didn’t want to impose another photo.

It was funny to talk to people that crossed our path and learn the WT culture. The first question everyone asks is where you camped and where you’re headed. Then you get an unsolicited preview of where you’re headed if they are going the opposite direction. It kinda felt like we were expected to return the favor by then telling them about where they are headed. For the first couple hours of the day today, everyone told us about the bear that was at the top of the climb to Golden Lakes Campsite and they were right. We walked up and were talking and the bear was right there , 20yds from us chowing down on berries. We got to watch him for a few minutes and continue talking and he just ignored us. That’s the most extended bear sighting I’ve ever had.

Bear near Golden Lakes Camp.

The rest of the day wasn’t too eventful, but we really enjoyed the scenery. There was some brushy trail, but Buck-30 didn’t panic too much with his post-GDT PTSD. Of course our longest day is while I’m dealing with monthly cramps, but it’s nice to know the rest of the trip will be really relaxing. Pain wasn’t terrible today, but I was quite lethargic and just would have loved to be laying down as my body felt like a weight. Buck-30 has a Diet Coke addiction, and is going through withdrawal. He wants everyone to know he had quite a bit of adversity to overcome to complete this day of 7,700ft of elevation gain.

S Puyallup River

It’s really fun to see all sides of the mountain and get a whole new perspective each time we pop up out of the trees. For anyone wondering, there is great Verizon service just south of Klapatache Camp where you get a view of the valley.

Klapatache Park

Tahoma Glacier

Me walking on Emerald Ridge.

Just before the final climb of the day, we went over the suspension bridge over Tahoma Creek. It is 150ft long and 200ft high off the creek. These types of things don’t usually bother me, but it was really frightening and swayed a bunch. There were a couple boards missing and I just did my best not to look down. I don’t know how some people get across it. Heck, that three year old got across somehow!

Suspension bridge over Tahoma Creek.

The final climb up to Devil’s Dream Camp was either the steepest or we were just tired.

We got up faster than expected and landed at camp at 6:30pm. We both weren’t as tired as we expected, but as soon as we stopped, we started to feel it more. We have a really relaxed day tomorrow, so we will be sleeping in. Nice to have today out of the way and have more relaxed days ahead.

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