26th August 2015

Mileage 26.5 (42.6km)

Pondside camp (2264.2) to Lutz Lake (2290.7)

Miles to Canada 369.4 (594km)

I failed to mention yesterday that I made a cheesecake at camp which I shared with Crunchmaster. The sweet sugar rush strangely made me very sleepy. But In the morning the great nights sleep had me bouncing out of bed.

It was a strange morning. Not a breath of wind. The sun was unable to break through the thick layer of wildfire smoke. It was like a scene from Mars. There was a strange red glow to everything. As I climbing into the Goats Rock Wilderness I was greeted with horrible visibility. Only about 1-2 miles when looking east and about 5-8 miles when looking west. I could smell the smoke with every breath for the whole of the morning. It started to rain ash on me.

After crossing a ridge at Cispus Pass and dropping down on the other side the smoke became less. I was still getting ash raining down on me as it had been doing all morning. The trail continued over rocky terrain and climbed towards the steepest and most dramatic section of trail known as ‘the knife’. To get there I had to cross a snow field. I hadn’t walked in snow since Sonora Pass, I remember it just like yesterday. That was back in the northern Sierras, but I can’t even remember how many days ago that was! After the snow the real steep hiking commenced. The rewards were worth it. I would have to say that despite the smoke and poor visibility the views were equal any of the best days I’ve had on the whole trail. They were stunning. The photos I took, and there were many, do not do justice to the vast beauty of the place. I was impressed. 

The hike down from the knife was just as slow as the ascent. There were many stops for photos. Not just of the scenery but of the 3 separate herds (if that’s the right word) of mountain goats. Maybe 40 goats in total. Then there were the marmots. I haven’t seen them since the sierras. And the moonrise and setting sun in the evening was also stunning. I haven’t had a buzz from the scenery like I did today for a long time. Only a day or so ago I didn’t even know if I would be able to see this area or finish the PCT. Washington, despite the fires, I’m impressed.  

    
  

10am

  
    
    
    
    
    

hiking the knifes edge

    
    
  

can you see the goats?

  

or these goats?

  

or these?

  
    
   

17 Responses

  1. Roy Beyer

    Curious , who is taking the photos of you? That looks like some tough hiking thru all those rocks.. Have you ever tripped and fallen down with all those millions of steps you must have taken. Be safe, be careful..Can’t wait for the post where you can claim “i f…… Made it to Canada”

    • BikeHikeSafari

      My hiking buddy Crunchmaster took the photos of me. I’ve fallen many times. Caused a little twinge in my knee with a small slip coming down goat rocks but it ok

  2. Alison and Matt

    Beautiful shots of a gorgeous-looking area. It’s cool how the sun looks like a star in lots of the photos. Is that an affect of the sun?

  3. sgmdwk

    I’m glad you got to experience the Goat Rocks – even though the scenery was obviously limited by the smoke.

  4. BeeKeeper

    Cispus Basin and Knife’s Edge are so crazy amazing. You’ll definitely need to rehike someday when you can see the views. The smoke does add an eerie quality and dimension to the landscape. Glad you enjoyed the goats. When I was there, I had a herd of 80 grazing nearby my campsite at Cispus Basin.

  5. hikeinspired

    Omg that marmot… I want to love on it a little bit. I know I can’t but he’s cute! I also want to say its pretty cool that u moved that little snake from the road a while back. I don’t know that I could have done that. Two weekends ago I went on a day hike and accidentally snuck up on a very green rattle snake. I just stood still and let him go along his way, glad that he was in a good enough mood to forgive my intrusion and only rattle at me as I was more than close enough for far worse if he chose.

  6. Manuela

    Hi, i really like your pichtures. I will Start my thru hike in 2016. I cant wait.

  7. ADL

    The Knife Edge in GR was my favorite place on the entire PCT. I was lucky to catch it on a perfectly sunny day. I’d say it lived up to its billing.

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