Scott & Rachel's Wonderland Trail Journal
Klapatche to Devil's Dream
Day Six - Saturday, August 18th
(Entry by Scott) - Today is "hump" day for us. We will have traveled more than halfway around the mountain by the end of the day. We will be re-supplying tomorrow and are already looking forward to getting things that are in low supply.
You already know about the Pristine (water purification) situation. While it isn't a dire need to purify this glacial water, (gee, the source is just up the mountain, of which there is only one) ... it does bring peace of mind and added insurance. Giardia (protozoan parasites) and Cryposporidia (a virus) are both possible maladies that are best avoided.
What else do we need? Well, for one, we didn't bring enough toilet paper. Hey, don't laugh ... it's becoming a serious situation! Yesterday evening we counted our remaining 'squares' and realized that we had enough for only 10 squares each. This had to last us for three days. That's only three and a third squares per day! Yites! We're both hoping for some good clean trips to the john, if you know what I mean! Each designated camp has a pit toilet (some don't have walls, just a toilet seat, hidden from view of camp, on a wooden box). None of these toilets has toilet paper, however. (This was something we knew in advance. I guess we under-estimated our "production").
I need lip balm. I had mine in my pocket yesterday with the GORP. I was walking down a mountainside reaching into my pocket for my gorp bag and must have inadvertently pulled out the lip balm with a handful. It was lost on the trail somewhere and now my lips are beginning to pay the price.
Biodegradable dish soap! We use it to bathe, for laundry and, of course, to wash dishes. We need a bigger bottle - or resupply every five-to-six days. I like to wash my socks (liners and outers) every evening, along with underwear, shirt and shorts every other day or so. Sponge baths nightly, unless it's too late or too cold. If there's a lake (which we've been blessed with twice), I like a swim. It helps my mental psyche to be 'clean' when I go to bed.
We are short on some food items, but with our cache waiting in Longmire, those shortages will be remedied.
Rachel's morning got off on the wrong foot during her morning's constitution. Let's just say she needed to use all ten of her squares (she's gonna kill me for writing this). It is a good thing for her that we've got a few back-up Kleenex in a small travel pack so we don't have to fight over my remaining squares!
It was cold when we left camp. The morning was quite foggy and we couldn't make out the top of the next ridge, let alone the top of Mt. Rainier. We had a bit of a climb out from camp. We both elected to wear warmer clothing this morning and it was the first morning that we left in long pants.
We stopped to listen to another male grouse and then, not a quarter of a mile later, a flock of hens crossed the path not five feet in front of us. I made male grouse sounds and the females seemed somewhat impressed ... moving even closer. We snapped a few pictures  which had them scurrying for cover and moving on.
We passed Saint Andrew's Lake, the first water after Klapatche, in the foggy mist. The wind was blowing tendrils of fog over the ridge. This movement of moist air meant that plants were covered in heavy dew. It was even "raining" under many of the taller trees, as we walked underneath them.
We headed down the flanks of Mt. Rainier, toward South Puyallup River, which was in dense forest cover. There, we dropped the packs and made a short side trip down the South Puyallup Trail to see some columnar joining in one of the thick lava beds. It was an excellent example of this odd cooling phenomenon, even better than the more famous than the "Devil's Postpile" in California. We also picked blue berries and salmon berries, putting them into a plastic bag, for lunch. Yummy!
From South Puyallup, we climbed up the steep and rocky lateral moraine of the receding Tahoma Glacier. It was windy as we made our way up, which kept us from overheating. We stopped for a lunch of hot soup at the top of a ridge, out of the wind, with a view of six different lateral moraines: four associated with the Tahoma Glacier and two with the South Tahoma Glacier. We shared this view and small copse of trees with a marmot, which was shy and kept himself hidden.
From there, we came down following along lateral moraines, descending through sunny areas with just tons of salmon berries. I was hoping we might catch a glimpse of a bear family, feasting on these berries, but alas, no such luck.
We crossed the narrow and very high suspension bridge that spans the Tahoma Creek Gorge. It was windy and the bridge swayed wildly to and fro as we each trundled across. (It was recommended that only one person be on the bridge at a time). It was our most impressive stream crossing yet.
Another climb up to a place called "Indian Henry's Hunting Ground". We stopped at the very rustic-looking log cabin for a photo. Lots more flowers - Lupines, Alpine Daisies, Bluebells, Columbine, Queen Anne's Lace, and a myriad more. It was a beautiful meadow with small streams meandering through it. Just more late summer Mount Rainier beauty! How we are spoiled by it. We take for granted the heady fragrance as we hike around this wildflower heaven. Amazing.
Camp awaited us just past the ridge - "Devil's Dream" (We're staying at site number one). There, we took a quick sponge bath, using hot water for the first time. Because it was windy and cold, it felt great going on, but we both became chilled shortly thereafter. We made hot chocolate and crawled into the tent. Another great homemade dehydrated dinner, Shepherd's Pie, and now its 7:00 PM and time to read for a bit. The fly is on. The vestibules battened down (to avoid the winds) and we're all snuggly warm.
 For those that don't know, GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) is a backpacking snack made up of a variety of things, but typically has a base of - guess what? - raisins and peanuts (typically mixed with other kinds of nuts, cereals, granola, other dried fruits, and some bits of candy ... M&M's, Smarties, etc). Fuel for those big climbs. Yummy!
 More blurry wildlife photos!