Fun in the snow fields

Day 8 – 7/14/16
Before Hidden Spring Trail
Miles – 19.1
Total Miles 141.9 (PCT 2284.0)
After eight days on the trail, we had our first dry night. There was no drizzle, rain, not even condensation. Hurray!!!!  We were up at 6:00, had our usual breakfast of chocolate Carnation Instant breakfast and Bevita biscuits. We packed up and got out around 7:00, a good time to start hiking. The trail started off in an area that gets late sun, thus it was cold.  As we were hiking, we saw a huge mountain lion paw print in the mud.  Each claw made a perfect indent.  The Ravens looked around and wondered if it was still around or possibly even watching us at that moment.  We decided it was time to move on.  Shortly, we came out into the sun on the top of a ridge. We stopped for a few minutes and Little Crow and Bling slid down a snow bank on the their insolite pads.  We were now in the Goat Rocks, and the views of the tall, spiral peaks surrounding us were beautiful.  Next, we crossed several snow fields to reach the top of Cispus Pass were we waited a few minutes to take in the scenery before we headed down to the basin below. We also started to reminisce about Bling’s leg last year. The basin we hiked into was the one where Bling fully broke his femur last fall. We hiked around the basin re-living every detail of that difficult day. . . twisting his good ankle and jamming his bad leg in the ground to catch himself, trying to cross the out flow of the waterfall on the rocks with his leg broken, large clusters of snow flakes falling while Little Crow tried to catch them in her mouth.  We stopped for something to eat at the same location we camped at where we waited to have Bling rescued by the horseman. The remainder of our hike will be new for Bling. Little Crow keeps telling him what to expect around each corner.  In the next section, the trail climbed up above most of the trees and we had stunning views of all the surrounding mountains: Mt Adams to the south, Mt Saint Helens to the west, and Mt Rainer to the north.  With the climb in elevation, we encountered many snow fields. The main ones were on the side of Old Snowy and the Packard Glacier. Our hiking slowed down a lot as we crossed them.  We needed to be careful because slipping in the snow would result in a several hundred feet fall straight down. Bling wanted to led the way across the snow fields with Little Crow right behind him. Finally we made it over to the spine of the Goat Rocks, a ridge of rocks that drops down several thousand feet on both sides. It was a relief to see that they were clear of snow. We worked our way down to the ridge. At the bottom there were more snow fields. We made it through them easily.  Looking down below us we could see the trail.  All four Ravens decided we could reach the trail below us faster if we sled down the hills instead of walking up and over the ridges. It certainly would be fun!  First the kids tried to slide down on their insolite pads. This did not work well because the snow was too soft. Then Bling and Papa Raven boot skied all the way down. Mama Raven and Little Crow came up behind. Little Crow had never boot skied before. She giggled and laughed all the way down.  We worked our way from snow field to snow field dropping altitude fast. Finally the fun ended because we were out of snow fields. We looked back up where we sled and the pristine snow fields were riddled with our tracks going every which way.  Today’s hiking was slow so we pushed on as far as we could with the remainder the days light. We have only 8 more miles to go to get to White Pass, our next food drop.
We found a place to camp just off the trail. As we were setting up camp, I realized that my umbrella was missing. I though that it might have fallen out when I removed my coat a little while ago. So I grabbed a flashlight and started to hike back. I ended up hiking back much farther, about 2 miles, to a small pond we had stopped at to see if we could camp there. I found the missing umbrella near there. I quickly hiked back. The sun had set by this time and I was using my headlamp in the dusk light. When I was about a mile from camp I saw a light heading my way. Then I realized there were three lights. Everyone had come looking for me. They had become concerned with how long I had been gone.  Little Crow scolded me for hiking alone. Mama Raven said she kept imaging a mountain lion attacking me. We all hiked back to camp and had a late dinner.
Tomorrow we hike to White Pass.

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