Beautiful Country!

Day 25 – 7/31/16
Pumice Creek
Miles – 21.1
Total Miles – 373.7 (PCT 2513.2)
No condensation last night!  Yeah!!! The wind blew hard all night and clouds rolled around us but we stayed dry. However, it was cold. Our thermometer said 43°.  We ate breakfast and packed up quickly so we could get moving to warm up.  Everyone hiked out with their down jackets on. Clouds engulfed us, so our visibility was very poor. If there was a large peak in front of us, we could not see it. The trail lead us on an easy path. For the most part, it started high and then it kept rolling around small peaks.  We contoured our way to White Pass. We did stop at a snow field near Reflection Pond and let the kids try to slide down it on their insulate pads.  It was not a steep snow bank and the snow was soft so they could not go as fast as they wanted Nonetheless, the kids had fun.
As we were hiking toward White Pass, we heard a loud explosion. It echoed down the valley. The clouds had broken up as we headed to White Pass. As we started the traverse between White Pass and Red Pass we came upon a sign telling us that they were using explosives up ahead. Near the far side of the traverse, we came upon a trail crew cleaning up the debris from the last explosion. They were widening the trail through a rocky section and cutting out blow downs. We thanked them for their work and headed on to Red Pass. There are no words to describe how beautiful it is here. You will just have to trust us when we say the master designer out did themselves up here. We are in marmot country. They are the biggest ones we have ever seen, and there are so many of them.  They have dug their burrows right next to the trail. As we pass through them, they sent out a series of loud chirps to warn the other marmots, there is danger approaching.  At the top of Red Pass, there was supposed to be views of Glacier Peak but because of cloud cover, we could not see it. Nonetheless the views we did have were impressive. In fact, the clouds gave it a unique beauty.  Red Pass is the beginning of a very long down, about 7 or 8 miles. We went through a wooded section where everything is covered with plush moss. Ferns grew thick and mushrooms popped up everywhere.  Hiking was easy here, because it was level for a couple of miles. . . a rare thing in northern Washington. It took us hours to reach its end and start-up. By this point, most of the day had passed but we began climbing and we continued climbing steeply for about 1700′. Finally as the sun was getting low, we came upon Pumice Creek and a small campsite. We took it. The Washington state is beautiful, but to get to that beauty is strenuous work!

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