8/21/17 – The Dreaded Knife Edge
Miles: 2,256.27 to 2,277.03
Total miles hiked: 1,635.99
Those of you who hiked with me before know that I am not particularly fond of narrow exposed ridges. Don’t take me wrong, I love ridge runs, just not those where a slip can mean plummeting few hundred feet down a cliff. Today our hike involved a section called knife edge. I was both thrilled for the views which are said to be best in Washington, and terrified of what I’ll have to overcome to deserve these views.
Our day started in the dark again, it was even more dark than the day before since we camped deeper in the forest but by the time we broke camp, we had enough light to start moving.
The first section which included some uphill and then a long down was a breeze. We completed 6 miles in 2 hours. It was not completely pleasant since the trail was overgrown and our pants got drenched from the morning dew sitting on the vegetation.
Afterwards we still kept a good pace. We stopped to see the eclipse, not for long, we found a good spot just before its peak and we used my 10 stop neutral density filter to see the event. I didn’t have a lens long enough to capture it on camera but still it was a neat thing to see.
Our pace was good all the way to Cispus Pass which is gorgeous place with absolutely fabulous views of Goat Rocks. From there we descended through an alpine meadow to a stream with fresh mountain water and we took lunch there.
It was hard going after the lunch. The terrain changed from mostly smooth dirt trail to an alpine environment of rocks. The grade changed too, suddenly there was a 1,100 foot climb in about 2 miles. We didn’t make it to the knife edge until 4:00 p.m.
Originally we wanted to camp just before it where I knew an awesome site with extensive views can be found but earlier today we decided to push through the ridge. It had several advantages compared to staying, like being done with it and having an easier day tomorrow.
The knife edge is a narrow ridge that runs about 2 miles. It starts bellow Old Snowy mountain, area we hiked in before so I had a good idea what we are getting ourselves into even before we got there.
Luckily the knife edge turned out easier that it seemed from afar. Few short sections I didn’t like where there was a loose dirt on the path but mostly we walked on rocks which didn’t move much and had traction.
It took us nearly two hours to complete the section, including frequent stops to take photos. I wish we had more time but with evening approaching we wanted to be off before dark so we didn’t linger much.
After crossing the ridge, the trail dropped us into a bowl with running no streams and more meadows and more flowers. More rocky trail too.
We found a site in trees on a small know and called it a night around 7:00 p.m.
It was a hard day. We hiked over 20 miles again, even in the rough terrain. Let’s see if we can repeat that again tomorrow.