Destination: Cispus River
Miles: 22.5 (plus 0.6 off trail miles)
Cumulative Miles: 1957
Our hike started this morning with your typical green corridor, which we would like to call our northwestern friend. We, however, tend to look at it as a guest which has over stayed their welcome. Fortunately the sky was blue, the temperature was about perfect, and the grade was undeniably easy.
When we arrived at our lunch spot, we passed up a murky pond for a stream about a quarter mile further. It turned out to be a dry creek bed, as was the one just past that. So we were forced to turn back to the murky pond. Knowing the mosquitoes would be in full force down at the water, we left our packs in a shady patch and grabbed water from the pond. When we returned, the wiley sun had moved (or rather the earth rotated) and our shaded lunch spot was no longer.
After fussing with three trees to find an adequate place to hang our gravity filter, we sat down in a new shaded patch to go about making lunch. Before lunch was done being made, we found ourselves in the sun again. Oh well, we were hungry, no moving now despite the cramped dining quarters.
Apricots had mixed the salmon with some water and powdered cheese. When she went to add the macaroni noodles, she kicked a whole bunch of dirt into our cheesy mix. After carefully spooning the dirt out, thereby diminishing our cheese supply, she carefully added the noodles. This time we were relatively free of nature's gritty untasty pepper.
Picking up our bowels, to scoop said lunch onto tortillas, Apricots noticed dirt on the bottom of her bowel. Brushing it off she managed to bump her spoon and fling a cheesy macaroni morsel onto Psycho's arm. All the while, the absence of mosquitoes was replaced with an abundance of flies, which were annoying but fortunately did not bite. As abundant as the flies were the swear words being thrown out of Apricots mouth like some sort of Truckers Convention. We agreed that this was perhaps the worst lunch we have had on the entirety of the trail.
As we readied ourselves to leave, Apricots shook her sun screen bottle to apply some. The white paste shot out, missing her hand, landing in an unusable clump in the dust at her feet. Five minutes later, we were hiking. Fifteen minutes later, we crossed a creek which would have served as a nice lunch spot, had we only but walked another quarter mile.
After lunch, we began our climb into the heart of the Goat Rocks Wilderness. What a significant change. The views were breathtakingly beautiful, and easily the best we have had in Washington, and some of the best we've had on the entire trail. Trees gave way to towering rock spires, and hillsides sloped steeply with rocky landslides. We found ourselves taking breaks, not because we needed them, but because we wanted to absorb our experience.
In the evening, we found ourselves cooking dinner next to a clear cascading creek running straight down the hill from snow melt. We climbed just uphill from the creek to a flat area caught in a valley that slopes downward and out towards Mt. St. Helens. We sat around watching the sun set as Crowdog and Beaker rolled in. We caught up with them while they ate dinner, before finally crawling into our tent, positioned at one of our favorite sites on the whole trail.
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