Pacific Crest Trail and White Pass

PCT and White Pass

I was feeling good and wanted to go for a long hike so I chose to go to White Pass and the Pacific Crest Trail with hopes of flowers and views.  My first day consisted of hiking about 9 miles and gaining 4000 vertical feet en-route to White Pass.  The first section was fairly easy on a gradual uphill and went through thick forest and large trees.  The next section switchbacked 26 times and climbed to the PCT before heading to White Pass.

The huckleberries were thick and there was a cool breeze so the hiking was relatively easy, despite the 3000 foot gain.  Upon reaching treeline, the marmots greeted me and Logan with their piercing whistle.  Logan was very alert to their presence and even had the chance to greet one nose to nose around a bend in the trail!  White Pass had little water, but enough for a comfortable camp with only two other parties around.  The sunset consisted of  a dramatic show of pink and orange clouds surrounding Sloan Peak.

The morning brought dew, frost and clear skies.  After some blueberry/huckleberry oatmeal and tea I was ready to hit the trail.  I had another 18 miles or so to complete so an early start was necessary.  Most of the first part of the trail was familiar from my hike to Meander Meadows around the same time last year.  This year, however, felt like a different month with all the flowers dead and the leaves turning to shades of red and purple.

I reached Dishpan Gap around 2pm  and as I was drifting off for a quick power nap,  I saw a train of llamas approaching.  I spoke with the people leading them and they informed me it would be a steep 2 hour hike to my next destination, Blue Lake.  With that news I headed off for Blue Lake and after climbing up and over a steep notch, I reached the lake in a little under one hour.  The lake lives up to its name and was a great place to take a well deserved rest.

The trail from Blue Lake was fairly faint, leading through meadowy ridgetops and side hills.  It went on forever as I gazed south to Mt. Rainier and Sloan Peak.  The ridge was bone dry but the hiking was fairly level.  I finally reached the downhill only to be met with another uphill section to my disappointment.  The the real downhill began.  3000 feed of switchback decent brought me to the river and very close to the car.  I got out at 7:45 pm very tired and dirty.  Luckily I didn’t use bug spray once and only used sunscreen once so most of the dirtiness was dust and sweat.  I completed the 26 mile loop and had one of the best backpacking trips I’ve every had with my bearded collie!!  Enjoy the photos and I hope you get to White Pass!!

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