Day 123 (August 21): PCT Mile 2,269.9 – 2,280

Goat Rocks, Old Snowy, and the Knifes Edge

Beginning Elevation = 5,750
Ending Elevation = 6,250
Elevation Range = 5,750 – 7,600 (off PCT)
Weather:. Sunny early, then cloudy, then rainy, high 65°F

I haven’t been feeling a desire to get up before dark like I had been for a while with Snickers. He’s up around 3:30am or something anyway, so it’s not even early for him, but I much more enjoy just a tad bit more sleepy time. It’s nice starting out together and seeing the sun rise and all, but this morning I decided to pass again. I was still the second one out of camp with the others all in theirs tents as I passed by like a stealthy salmon.

This would be another day that would go in the “best of” category. As my old pal Jay might say, “definitely top 123 so far.” Simply put, I was stunned by the scenery. I think you’ll see what I mean…

From our tentsite at Sheep Lake, the trail steadily climbed 700 feet over about 2.5 miles to Cispus Pass. I started hiking around 6:15am and I only made it til 6:35am before booting up my phone to take this photo…

The picture taking onslaught wouldn’t cease throughout the trek. I couldn’t help myself. Still on the initial climb, I captured this view looking out to the west…

Looking ahead to where I was going, I believed I was seeing Cispus Pass to the right of this tall spire…

Turns out, I was halfway correct. The trail did go up and to the right of that guy, but that wasn’t the pass yet, just a brief flat pause and the opening into a new giant bowl with my first views of Goat Rocks! Before crossing into the new world, I took a video of the beautiful one I was leaving… suprise, there’s mount Adams again.

And here’s the first siting of Goat Rocks.

The trail turned left and I slowly made my way up to Cispus Pass where I took an early breakfast stop. In the first photo, the pass where the trail goes through is at the bottom of the blue sky “V” of the horizon. On the way up to it, I passed by some columnar basalt! It may not be basalt, but that’s the only thing in my memory bank that I remember forming into those cool looking hexagonal-like columns.

Here’s looking back where I’d come from.

And the last bit up to the pass.

While enjoying my oatmeal and hot Carnation Instant breakfast, Slip N’ Slide and PopTart passed me by. We’d leapfrog back and forth the rest of the day several times.

Once through Cispus Pass, the trail descended down into what was probably my most favorite part of the day. It was another giant bowl of which the trail wound its way around. So much green and flowers and waterfalls! The weather started changing at this point though, with clouds rolling in from all sides it seemed. The big mountain in the first photo is Old Snowy I believe.

And these ones straight ahead are the actual Goat Rocks I think. I was looking up, searching for goats up there while hiking today, but no such luck. Apparently they do hang up there though.

There was even a rainbow people…

And here’s the Cispus River…

Zoomed in bug size beauty and zoomed out mountain sized beauty.

And odd Dr. Seuss like flowers.

It started raining lightly around 9:15am, but luckily didn’t last all that long. I was surprised, at first it seemed like it was going to stay around for a while. It was about the same time that the rain quit that the trail began to rise again. This time it would be about 1,200 feet gain over 2.5 miles. Some amazing stuff along the way. Here’s looking back…

And ahead…

Slip N’Slide and PopTart moved on ahead while I was selfying…

At the “top,” I came to a junction with an alternate route option. I decided to go for it, thus going up higher still off the PCT. The trail was rocky and steep going up, but quite the 360 degree view at the top. A side trail led off this one to go to the top of Old Snowy Mountain. I was tempted to go for it. Really tempted. But in the distance was rain coming towards me. I had a lot of exposed miles still up ahead, so decided to head back down and join the PCT. A good decision I think. There was a guy ahead of me who went for it though!

Next up was traversing the Knifes Edge. Can’t really figure why it has that name…

Looking back, the top is Old Snowy and the second peak is where I went on the “alternate.”

Following this up and down path with the steep slopes going down each side, the trail kind of wrapped it’s way around the last mountain and started going southeast.

It had started to rain lightly again. Around 12:45pm I came to a small creek resulting from the snow melt above. A hiker from northern England named Katy was there and we chatted briefly. I made the decision then to go set up my tent at a site nearby thinking I’d eat my lunch hidden underneath.

And I just ended up hanging there the rest of the day, hiding out in my tent 😊. I’d told Snickers I might do this, treat today as a more relaxed day and not get as many miles. There were a few reasons. My original reason was that this was a super duper area, so why not spend more time in it? Another was that it had started raining and become foggy, so I thought I’d be missing views if I hiked through. And on top of that, Calzone and Cheer are about a day behind us and we’re hoping to reconnect with them at White Pass which is about 15 miles ahead. I figured I have enough food to get me there tomorrow around early after noon.

And so, I set up at 1:00pm and took refuge in my tent from the rain. Lunch was priority number one. Ramen noodles today. The rest of the time was spent in lazy mode. I napped a bit, wrote, read, ate, sewed up some holes in pants and shorts, and occasionally got out of the tent to check things outside. I was happy with my decision!

I was battling the rain pooling up. I had to construct a dam out of sand and bring all my things inside the tent.

5 thoughts on “Day 123 (August 21): PCT Mile 2,269.9 – 2,280

  1. Brian Beach

    Like you, I am also loving Washington! I wouldn’t have guessed it would be so spectacular! I’d also like to get your review on the gear you have. How are things holding up? I’ve been eyeing a new hiking tent and thought what better person to ask than the guy living in one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mr. Beach…I am no gear expert, but can tell you what I’ve seen in the thru hiker world on trail. If you’re wanting something light and somewhat sturdy it seems like most folks, including myself, like Big Agnes. There’s apparently one called the copper spur that might be the one I’d get if doing this all over. Zpacks is the other brand I see a lot which are lighter weight, but more expensive. I’ll try to give a gear update in one of my posts.

      Liked by 1 person

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