Kevin, Chuck and Beth at the trail junction with Mt. Adams in view.
The sun was coming in and out of the clouds, but that was enough for me to spread out my tent on a log. Some of my damp clothes soon followed. I was already eating lunch when Chuck, Beth and Kevin walked in. "Let's keep going, the day is young," they said. But I looked around at the setting and the weather, and told them I thought we should stay. If we hike too far, we would be leaving this beautiful area by Mt. Adams. Instead we'd be stuck in the woods, I argued. "Let's stay here and go for a dayhike without our packs instead."
It didn't take too much to convince them. The four of us put out gear to dry in the sun, ate a quick lunch, and then were off. We followed Riley Creek up toward the mountain. Chuck's goal was to get above the tree line, and I wanted to do the same. We first came to a scenic waterfall and had to have our pictures taken. Kevin said he wanted to stay for a while and contemplate, so Beth, Chuck and I crossed the creek and start up toward the mountain.
Beth bravely jumps a tributary of Riley Creek. She made it.
After a harrowing creek crossing, Beth asked to say behind so it was just Chuck and me for the final ascent. In about half a mile we finally got past the last set of trees. All that lay between us and the mountain was glacial moraine. The peak itself from this angle was shaped like a pyramid. It kept disappearing into the clouds, putting on its own peak-a-boo show. The whole setting was mystical, a talisman of the power of Nature. Just sitting there watching it-thinking about how far away it was a week ago-this was already a high point of the trip.
Nothing but rock between me and the peak of Mt. Adams.
We rejoined Beth. Chuck waited for Kevin while she and I made it back to the campsite. There we met Navigator, another through hiker, who wished us well but was in a hurry. The tents had dried and we put them up as soon as the others joined us. Kevin made a fire and we finished off the cognac that I had hoped would last longer into the week.
On these kinds of trip you learn little secrets about your hiking partners. Maybe they snore at night, maybe they suffer from constipation or insomnia, maybe they are afraid of spiders. This trip would not be different. I made a chicken curry dinner and it was shocking to find out that Kevin and Chuck wouldn't put raisins in their curry. Kevin hated raisins and didn't even care for them in his gorp. Beth and I made plenty of snide remarks about their culinary tastes. While we were teasing, we saw two more through hikers--David and Brooke, who lived near Winthrop in Washington state and were hiking in what looked like sandals. They appeared to be having a great time in spite of the rain.
As we were cleaning up we heard a booming sound that I hoped was a glacier cracking. When it came again, we realized the awful truth--thunder. We quickly stowed away our gear and scrambled into our tents as the rain came in. We were lucky to be as prepared as we were. It rained hard the rest of the evening. I watched as puddles formed at the edges of the rain fly, but the tent seemed to be doing a good job of keeping us dry. How much longer could this go on?Day Ten