Day 104: An Epic Morning.

August 22nd, 2021

Mile Marker: 2295.9

Miles Hiked Today: 21

Holy cannoli.

This morning was unexpected, a little terrifying, and infreakincredible.

We started out around 7 am in the cold misty fog. The trail came out onto a ridge line where the trail markers became these big rock cairns to follow.

Instantly I felt a twinge of anxiety. It reminded me almost exactly of the Appalachian Trail in the White mountains… The time where we had to go over Mount Washington and Madison…Where the weather could very easily cause hypothermia… Where Planner and I were doing everything we could to not freak out.

All I was currently missing was the wind and rain, other than that the setting was almost identical.

I hiked along by myself, Planner somewhere ahead of me and Journey and Conrad somewhere behind me.

I started relaxing more as I was taking in the unique beauty and spotted some fuzzy marmots crawling around. “Okay, this isn’t anything like then, I’m fine.” I told myself. I even spotted some snow on the side and didn’t think anything of it.

As I continued the climb up to what was known as the Knifes Edge, I spotted Planner waiting by a rock cairn and a massive pile of snow behind her.

She told me that the trail actually goes over it and that she started and then backtracked to wait for me.

It was early morning and the snow was icy.

The snow initially looked well worn and the mountain didn’t seem very steep at first so we continued on with a little bit more caution but I didn’t feel too nervous.

Then… the trail became singular foot steps that were incredibly hard and slick and Planner yells out to me, “I can’t look over to my left.”

I was completely unaware that the flat surface we were walking on had now become slanted downward. When I looked over to my left all I could see was a steep side of snow that disappeared into the fog.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Fear spiked throughout my body. If I slip on this frozen snow… I will fall down this mountain… and I have no idea what lays at the bottom.” I thought to myself.

I froze in my tracks, Planner and I both worried if we should continue on or not. We didn’t have any micro spikes so we had very minimal traction on our shoes. We were wanting to wait for Journey since he had experience with snow and mountaineering.

As if Journey had heard us, he started coming up behind us and I yell out to him “Journey I am freaking out!!!”

He replied in his cool, calm, collected manner like he does and said “small steps.”

So that’s what we did. He also let us know how to jam our trekking pole into the snow if we were to accidentally fall.

I took painfully slow steps as I stabbed my trekking pole into the snow on both sides of me, I made sure I had a solid footing, and then continued on.

I tried to keep myself from thinking about the boy who passed away last year from slipping on ice and focusing on the task at hand.

Slow and steady.

Eventually I heard Journey call out that we were almost through the snow and we could see rocks on the other end.

I wanted to jump and skip and get there as fast as I could but knew that I just needed to continue how I was.

My adrenaline was at an all time high. This was quite a first for me. Once we finished and could breathe again I thought to myself how I wanted to learn more about hiking through snow and having snow gear. It would be a whole new challenge.

Us three hiked on together through knifes edge. The weather was still being unfriendly and we ended up with fog covered views and winds that were now blowing at full speed.

I felt like I was in a movie hiking along this narrow ridge line. It may have not been ideal with no views but it was quite a unique experience.

I started getting cold with the low temperatures and wind that on a downhill I started running. With the adrenaline kick earlier, I felt like I had energy to use.

I was running the downhills and even some of the uphills, I was ready to feel warm and in charge. This trail wasn’t in control of me nor how I responded to it.

Like I had mentioned before, we can choose our attitudes, we can choose our perspectives, this could have been the worst day or it could be one of my favorites.

We hiked/ran on for majority of the edge just to get out of the weather and down to warmer climate.

We came down to a running creek and started to notice the clouds letting up. It had seemed we were done with the edge and were now able to see some of the epic views.

What I loved even more were all the wildflowers that were lining the creek. A pop of almost every color.

I can’t get over these purple flowers!

We hiked on, moving quickly. We had decided that we would probably stay at one of the Inns at White Pass which we were headed to for the evening.

The original plan was to go to the gas station to pick up our resupply boxes and camp nearby somewhere but with the currently low temperatures we were itching for a hot shower and bed to sleep in.

This kept all of us hustling.

For brief period throughout the afternoon the sky would let up and we could see the huge mountains in the background. The ones that looked like they were from a postcard.

We made it to the pass around 4 pm and grabbed our boxes, beer, and found us a hotel to stay in.

It was probably one of my favorite spots yet. It was a cozy little room with a loft and kitchenette.

We immediately cranked on the heat and started doing our normal town chores. It wasn’t going to be a long stay so we needed to stay on top of it.

We spent the evening doing chores and eating pizza. All of us thrilled to be in a warm spot for the night as we heard the temperatures were going to be dropping into the 30s for the night. Eek!!

Cheers to staying warm!

Iz and Oz

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