Day 150: (22.39 miles)
mile 2257.91 – 2280.53
Today was a mostly easy trail hike. We were in the green tunnel for most of the morning, then turned a corner and were presented with Mt. Adams, again…wow, but seemingly way in the distance. How’d we get that far? We also ran into a lot of local backpackers and some SOBO thru-hikers. All of them said we’re going to “love goat rocks”. After hearing that about a zillion times, minus any description, we begin to wonder, what is goat rocks. Is it a pile of rocks that resemble a goat…a really big one, like Eagle Rock? Is it a place where mountain goats gather or are seen frequently? Or, are they saying it in a facetious manner, referring to the terrain. As we always say, we can wonder all we want, or wander and find out. Our first clue is when we pass a wooden sign declaring the area we are entering as “Goat Rocks Wilderness”. Okay we observe, they were obviously talking about the whole wilderness area, but still without any hint of description.
We are still wary, as all we see still is a lot of trees and steep hills covered in trees…been there, done that, check. The trail opens up into a narrow valley, now we’re getting somewhere as the area is filled with colorful flowers. Then of course, up we climb…again. We reach a bench of sorts which houses an alpine lake…more backpackers en route to there.
The trail hugs and climbs a hillside with a narrow meadow below.
We climb higher and come upon a magnificent bowl (Yakima) obviously carved by an ancient glacier. We consider camping here, but a sign says something to the effect that we have entered Indian lands and to stay on trail.
We traverse a steep face strewn with granite boulders and fine crushed granite like a sandy beach. Water seeps and flows from between the jagged rocks. We reach the next crest (Cispus Pass at 6473 ft) and are out of Indian lands. Now in search of a campsite.
The terrain is severely steep and it appears that we will have to walk for some distance before reaching a suitable site, as we have dropped into another bowl and can see our trail directly across from us, separated by a deep valley. We walk to the “end” of the bowl and find a large campsite area that has other backpackers, but with still enough room, comfortably, for us. We set up camp.
Paul collects water from the glacial stream nearby, and yes we filtered it. This was a good thing, for as we look up above us way on the unbelievably steep and seriously rocky mountainside, we see large white masses moving across and down the mountain. Mountain Goats! Big fat white hairy bodies, with horns. A neighboring camper, spies them also. He has a camera with a rather long lens and starts snapping pictures. Best part is he has a pair of binoculars that he let us better view the goats. Alright, edible wildlife…finally. We eat our moistened meals and turn in. With any luck we will run into our friend Arizona tomorrow.