8/23/17 – Two Lakes
Miles: 2,292.38 to 2,312.05
Total miles hiked: 1,671.01
(plus 0.5 miles to trailhead, plus 0.3 miles to Two Lakes)
When a freshly brewed coffee is involved, the day never starts early. Today, the White Pass store opened at 7:00 a.m., early enough to tempt Dave, so we slept in until 6:00 a.m. and an hour later we promptly arrived at the door which in fact did not open until 7:15 a.m.
A cup of coffee and two giant muffins later, we started to head out but of course we first had to say our good byes, especially to our friend Chex Mix who was taking a zero day here and sadly he will now be behind us.
Fueled by the town food calories we powered through the first uphill. It was several miles long but not overly steep. The trail took us around several lakes and ponds, some of them were pretty nice and if our day wasn’t just starting they would make a fine camping spot.
Views of lakes continued once we started heading down. The downhill was very gentle, often it felt very flat, and it lasted for 9 miles. We made excellent time here. It was shortly after 3:00 p.m. when we forded Bumping River at the very bottom of the descent. It was our planned destination for today, we didn’t hit the trail until 9:00 a.m. and we didn’t think we would make more than 15 miles. But here we were with plenty of time to push on.
We climbed 2,000 more feet to a view point with an amazing vista of Rainier and then slowly descended towards Two Lakes which were now our goal. Along the way more views came to sight. We have never hiked in this part of Cascades, usually when heading this direction it is to hit Mt. Rainier NP, and we were pleasantly surprised by the scenery.
To get to Two Lakes, we had to go 0.3 miles off trail. It was not easy 0.3 miles, the trail was rough and dropped around 300 feet which will have to add to tomorrow’s elevation gain, and when we descended to the first lake, the sites were all taken by a group of rowdy section hikers who sat by a blazing fire, though there is a state wide fire ban.
We found our site in a meadow past the lake. Normally I’d be excited about this open view site in comfortable grass but tonight with rain in forecast and possibility of wind, protection of the treed sites would be welcome.
Rain is in forecast for tomorrow as well. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hoping they are wrong but since we are heading towards the Norse Peak fire, perhaps little bit of rain would not be a bad thing.