Wonderland Trail | Day 4

Woke up at 6:22. So late! We had stayed up kinda late listening to an Ezra Klein podcast about the Harper’s letter and just chatting.

We knew today was gonna be tough. We made a decision to pack up and start hiking before eating breakfast to get the first climb out of the way and to have breakfast with a view. 

We left at 7:20-ish. It was a little tough with the icy snow and bent pines in the trail, but not as bad as what I was expecting. We got to Klapatche campsite at 9. 

It was just unbelievably beautiful. It was a perfectly clear day, and the mountain was reflected perfectly in the lake. There were a few frogs swimming in the lake. Hiking up for breakfast was the best idea I’ve ever had. It was so hard to put down the camera, but I had to, to take it all in and to make breakfast.

Sitting by the lake eating cheesy mashed potatoes with Alex was just pure bliss. I kept saying, is this the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen? It sure was for me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. And Alex pooped(!!) at the Klapatche campsite toilet. (And left me with 2 squares of toilet paper hahaha.)

We finally peeled ourselves off the log by the lake and starting hiking at 11, just as two women (who had stayed at Klapatche the night before) were going swimming the lake. It made me sooooo happy to see them enjoying the lake. And I wished I was right there with them.

Up a little further was St. Andrew’s Lake. It was half frozen and this impossible blue that half frozen lakes are. On the hike down to South Puyallup River I started Bad Blood, the book about Theranos. Alex and I stopped at one of the of the logs to have a bar and fruit snacks. I don’t want a single nut, raisin, or oreo leftover when we hit Longmire tomorrow.

South Puyallup River was whatever. We didn’t even stop. Started the steep 1.8 mile up to Emerald Ridge. And holy shit it was hard. It was steep with loose rocks as the trail. Not a great combo. And it was super hot. I mean, it was really really pretty with purple flowers flanking the trail, and Mt. Rainier popping every other switchback. But still, I was pooped.

Emerald ridge was something else. I died and went to heaven. Anywhere you looked was like something out of a dream. Green meadow all around with wildflowers and pines, a narrow trail in the middle, and snowy mountains right in front of you.

We didn’t linger too long because we were both pretty much out of water and hungry. A couple of rocky switchbacks down we saw a glacier, but no shade to take a break in. We kept walking until Alex spotted a couple of pine trees just off the trail. We climbed down and boiled the rest of our water for ramen.

Easy downhill to a suspension bridge over Tahoma creek. There was a big group on the other side that kept going on the bridge to feel it rock and to take pictures. Can’t blame them. It’s pretty fun and id be doing the same thing. The bridge seemed so much longer, rockier, and scarier than the suspension bridge before it.

We stopped at the first creek after the bridge. I promptly stepped on an unstable rock and soaked my right leg while filling up water. We stayed there for a bit chatting about our predictions of what kinds of things happening in the world and what we’re missing. Alex fed me fruit snack flavors while I tried to guess what they were. 

It’s our last uphill (3 miles) to Indian Henry’s patrol cabin. We thought it was going to be pretty gradual. It wasn’t, really. But nothing like the nightmare that was the incline up to Emerald Ridge. Made it to another beautiful meadow with water flowing through. We stopped at Indian Henry’s cabin to have dinner and hang out before hiking the last 1.5 (downhill) miles to camp because Devil’s Dream is notorious for having the most skeeters. Didn’t want to spend any extra time there.

There was a deer at the cabin eating white flowers. It didn’t mind us at all. At some point we heard this weird noise behind the cabin. I went to look what it was and it was the deer coughing or sneezing. We called him Sneezy. 

I pooped at the beautiful backcountry toilet .1 mile from the cabin. I left the door open and enjoyed the view. What a life.

We had beans and rice. Alex rated it 5/5 this time because we had a lot of extra Fritos. There were a ton of mosquitos here, too. No getting away from them on the wonderland trail. We used deet wipes, but they were still buzzing around us.

It’s 6:58 now. Alex is flossing. I’m going to clean my teeth and we’ll head out to Devil’s Dream. Eek.