Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Day 133- Wonderful, Windy Washington

Sept 12, 2016
Stealthsite(2260.2) to Lutz Lake(2279.8) 19.6 Miles
Total up/down: +4,178/-4,137 

I was completely unprepared for what today had in store for me. I have gotten so used to walking in the woods that I forgot how different the PCT is from the AT. Today was a stark reminder of how different the two trails are. Once again it was really cold when I woke up. I packed up as quickly as I could. I just wanted to get moving so that I could warm up. My gloves are completely worthless. They are so tight that they cut off blood flow to my fingers causing them to be even colder. I quickly decided that I would be better off not wearing them. When I began hiking I knew that I would hike across something called The Knifes Edge today. I was hoping that it would be as cool as the Knifes Edge of Mt. Katahdin and I was not disappointed. 

The first couple of miles today were more of the same, I hiked through the forest with zero views. The only difference between the last few days was the wind had increased significantly. I hiked as fast as I could hoping to make it out of the shade and into the sun. 
I'm in the shade, Mt. Adams is bathed by the sun

It took several hours before I made it into the sun, but to my dismay it wasn't much warmer. Once I was out into the open I lost the natural windbreak of the trees. I found that I didn't mind the cold as much as I should have. When I popped out from the trees it was like I had magically been transported back to the Sierra. Goat Rocks Wilderness is amazing. I had wide open views of the Cascades. I knew that today was going to be slow going. For once I could care less about making miles. I was looking forward to meandering along the trail. 
Beginning of epicness 

I spent a few miles walking through Yakima tribal land. It was clearly marked territory. I walked along a ridge for a few miles. The wind was brutal and punishing. I spent a lot of that time stopping to put on layers, only to have to stop to take them off again when I began to sweat. Usually this irritates me, but today I welcomed the brief breaks. It gave me a chance to appreciate the beauty surrounding me. 
This rock formation made me think of Cosette's Castle In The Sky
Exposed windy section through tribal lands

I kept expecting to drop back into the viewless forest at any moment. I was pleasantly surprised when that never happened. I was hoping to find a nice spot in the sun, but out of the wind so I could eat second breakfast. I finally found a suitable spot next to a cascading mountain stream. As the day progressed I really felt like I was back in the Sierras. The day kept getting better and better. 
Pure snowmelt fed stream

After I had second breakfast the trail gradually climbed up to almost 7,500' of elevation. It was spread out over five miles and it took me forever to make it to the top. Every time I looked up I was blown away by the scenery. The higher I climbed the colder it became. The wind was also more pronounced. I must have taken twenty pictures on my way up. I kept getting views of Mt. Adams, Saint Helens, and Mt. Rainier. Today might have even been better than the Sierras. These peaks stand alone which allowed for a greater contrast. The high Sierra ranges that I hiked through had high peak after high peak. 
Mount Adams 
Mount Saint Helens
Mount Rainier

The climb that allowed me these great views was slowly taking me to the summit of Old Snowy Mountain. To bag the peak of Old Snowy involved an alternate trail. This alternate eventually rejoined the pct along the Knifes Edge. This is one of the rare cases where there is a hiker pct route vs. an equestrian route. I followed the hiker route up to Old Snowy, then I did the summit trail, before rejoin the pct. Old Snowy was around 7,600 feet of elevation. I haven't been this high up since N. California. The view was incredible. 
Snowfield on the way up to the peak
Almost to the top
Pure adrenaline view. Rainier and alpine lake in the distance

The trail down from Old Snowy marks the beginning of the Knifes Edge. Before I began this trek I would have been absolutely terrified of hiking this section. I can't even describe how terrified I would have been. Probably crapping in my pants terrified. Today I was as cool as a cucumber. I wasn't nervous at all. I marveled over how far I have come on this trail. The sides of the path were crumbling away underneath my feet and I wasn't bothered at all. Even the twenty miles per hour winds didn't make me nervous. 
Beginning of the Knifes Edge(I walked along the peak of this ridge for four miles) 
If you look closely you can see the trail
Pointing out where I started from
Can you see where the trail goes
Most of the Knifes Edge(I started at the far right peak that is in the clouds)
I walked the peaks of this range

It took me all day to hike nineteen miles. I barely made it to camp before dark. I am completely exhausted, but one hundred percent exhilarated. I spent most of the day being blown around by the wind on top of a razors edge with sheer drop offs on both sides of me. I was freezing cold and totally in my element. I still can't believe that I never had a freak out moment. Yay for personal growth! 
I think Rainier is more impressive that Mt. Whitney

The coming and going of the seasons give us more than the springtimes, summers, autumns, and winters of our lives. It reflects the coming and going of the circumstances of our lives like the glassy surface of a pond that shows our faces radiant with joy or contorted with pain. 
- Gary Zukav


  1. Glad for the personal growth, sorry about the wind. If it's steady it can be an irritant, and if it gusts it's down right dangerous on terrain like the Knife's Edge. Good on ya for sharing the sights with the flix and for getting yet another obstacle out of the way. Every day a bit stronger and a bit closer to the end. GO YODA!

  2. Out of darkness and into the light, personal growth. Can't have a better day than that!! Loved this blog. LY

  3. A note to followers of Yoda's blog. She will be finished with this adventure in a short time. I thought sense she has put so much time into it, maybe you could give her ideas for the next adventure blog. Something to add, take out, etc. Yoda is not finished with her adventures and will keep posting. April 2017 she will hike some in CO before heading to Italy in May. She has a break from work for those 2 months.At this time she is planning the CDT in 2018. She want the triple crown!! Personal growth, continued. I am going to post some of my favorite quotes. As most of you know, her brother, Anthony, supplies her with most and she fits them to her day of feelings. #1- day 117 "Just imagine becoming the way you use to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun." Don Miguel Ruiz. She had a relaxing day, stopping to enjoy her surroundings. It brought tears to my eyes.

    1. Of blogs I've read Yoda's is by far the most informative and entertaining. I can't imagine what could be added or taken away; the tone is inclusive so that everyone can relate to the joys and sorrows of the adventure without the physical wear and tear. My guess is that other trekkers appreciate the info-rip off inn keepers and skunks that steal their resupplies from the hiker boxes to name a couple-to help them avoid some of the lesser travails of a challenge that is already a trial. Stealing a phrase from ancient history: "Keep on truckin'."

      Double G

    2. I really enjoyed today's post.
      I would not want Yoda to change anything in future blogs!
      I truly enjoy and appreciate the quotes supplied by her brother.
      A belated happy anniversary....(I think) didn't you summit Katadhin on Sept. 15th?
      Jokes will hike it again this w/e.
      Mt. Rainer National park was one of the most beautiful places I have visited.
      Stay safe and healthy, and continue to "stop and smell the roses"
      Kathy in NH

    3. I agree - her blogs are terrific. I will once again miss them when she's done!!

    4. Why change perfection? OK, near perfection.
      In the book Illusions by Richard Bach...in a conversation between the two characters came the revelation/teaching that the sky is always changing, but always perfect. Yoda will change and grow and that will be reflected in her writing...always perfect always changing. I SO enjoy this blog.
      Chris Nashville

  4. Beautiful views of kniefs edge and congrats for the growth you have made. Your doing great!!

  5. I'm soooooo jealous - ur sooo lucky to be out there doing the pct - good luck

  6. What a gorgeous ridge walk minus the crumbling sides! Just from reading your blog for these two years, your personal growth(ex: Lehigh gap) is thru the stratosphere!! Just an outsider looking in observation. Amazing you are!!

  7. Such GORGEOUS views - scary too! You never cease to amaze me Yoda! Glad it was such an awesome day - minus the gloves!!

  8. Yea for personal growth is right! That's wonderful. I agree Ranier is more impressive. Hang in there. You've almost accomplished this challenge and we couldn't be more proud of you.

  9. That's the kind of day you are out there for!