|trail up to Summerland|
As we continued to climb fields of wildflowers gave way to fields of snow, making the travel fairly interesting. Tom S and Ben were moving along a ways ahead of Tom M and myself. Tom M and I couldn’t seem to get enough pictures up along this high point. As Tom M and I appraoched and crossed over Panhandle Gap I felt great. Panhandle Gap ws the highest point on the trip and it felt like everything would be down hill from here.
Eventually we reached Ben who had found some shade and was relaxing with his shoes off. As we spoke to him he said he had just started getting some pretty serious pain in his hip, but he felt that after taking a break he would be okay to continue and he would then catch up. A little further down the trail we found Tom S who was coming down the trail towards us. He had lost the trail in the snow. After a bit of looking at the map, we decided the trail headed nearly straight up. We ascended a fair ways before we were able to look back down and see where the trail had actually continued along well below us right after a large patch of snow. At that point Ben had caught up and we directed him which way to go, and Tom S, Tom M and I crossed the snow higher up then dropped down to meet Ben.
|crossing fields of snow|
|down to Indian Bar|
At this point I really wanted us to make it to the National Park Inn at Longmire. We were staying there for the night, but I believed that the restaurant closed at 8PM, and I wanted a sit down dinner. I began to really encourage the others to move fast “pick up the pace guys, this one is about getting steak dinners or having 3 day old un-refrigerated hotdogs”.
We crossed Stevens Creek, but then right before the trail headed up from Stevens Creek to Reflection Lakes rather suddenly bonked hard. I realized I hadn’t eaten much in at least a couple hours or probably longer. I had to stop and eat. I downed a Cliff Shot Gel, a package of Gummy Bears and a Honey Stinger Waffle; I was getting pretty sick of energy food at this point so I had to force myself to eat everything other than the gummy bears (I love gummy bears).
From here the trail started up though thick overgrowth covering the trail. The travel was slow at this point as I tried to ease my way around nettles. Eventually the overgrowth disappeared as the trail went into the woods and headed on up to Reflection Lakes. After a 1/2 hour or so the food started doing its job I was starting to feel better. I picked up the pace and caught up with Tom S where the trail met the road near Louis Lake. I went ahead to get water, but found myself attacked by black flies at the first water stop so I continued on to another. I quickly filled up my Camel Back and an extra Nalgene for the guys, then waited, and waited. Where were they? I was really wanting to get going, I really wanted that sit down dinner at the lodge. Tom S and Tom M finally caught up, they split the extra liter of water and we were on our way.
Around this point the trail actually went along side the rode for about a half-mile. I was so desperate to get my dinner that I tried to hitchhike, but there were no takers. So I tried push the pace as much as I could once we hit the trail again. The trail dropped down to the Nisqually River, we crossed the river and had 1.7 miles to go. At this point Tom S had to stop and to deal with some painful foot blisters. Tom M and I offered to order him food if necessary. We pushed it as much as we could (but that wasn’t much).
Finally at 7:15 we rolled out of the woods to the sight of the National Park Inn. I was really hooting and hollering, and high-fiveing Tom M. Ben was at the entrance all cleaned up and shiny in fresh cotton clothes. Unfortunately Ben had bad news for us: The kitchen closed at 7PM. But with a little work, Ben was able to convince them to keep the kitchen open a little longer so we could get an order in.
|my feet didn't look too bad after day two|
Wonderland Trail in 3 Days?
Wonderland Trail in 3 days (day 1)
Wonderland Trail in 3 days (day 3)
All the pictures from the trip