Days Four and Five: The Long Good-Bye

The next day, Tim and I planned for possible escape routes that could get him out of the wilderness quickly, but his ankle didn't feel too bad that morning. I could have stayed right there for a rest day, but Tim thought that we'd better move on in case the ankle got worse. We only hiked about four miles that day, descending into the forest for a long, mild walk in the woods. Again, a nameless pond became the site of our camp. Tim took an afternoon nap while I hunted for water (the best source was 1/4 mile back). When digging a hole, I found that just beneath the surface was about 1 1/2 inches of gray ash--a momento of the 1980 explosion of Mt. St. Helens. That night Tim made another freeze-dried dinner, AlpineAire rice and beans, which actually wasn't so bad. Then we drank up the rest of the cognac and went to bed.

Day five was short and sweet. Tim's ankle improved and we headed out one day early to the car--about six miles away. At first the trail rose to the ridge above Shoe Lake--producing another beautiful vista, this time Mt. Rainier in the distance. Here is where I took my last photos. Then we traveled through the woods to a cut-off that would take us down the ski resort property rather than along the PCT. For going downhill, the route is fine, but do not take it going uphill. It is too steep and too boring. The longer PCT is a much better route.


Tim and Mount Ranier.


Tom and Mt. Rainier.

Our adventure was over, but I my dreams of hiking the PCT in Washington have just started. Perhaps the next step will be to start at the Columbia River and end at Goat Rocks or White Pass? Stay tuned...