Jun 28, 2006

The Trip: Part II (The Better Part)

After wolfing down an enormous breakfast at the diner/bar (it had been, after all, quite a long time since we had eaten), we drove over to the trailhead, passing views like this:

That would be Lake Cushman. It's the clearest, deepest, gorgeousest lake I've ever seen. Starting out on the hike, we were smiling.

After all, there were cool log bridges. But the smiling didn't last long. This was ten miles, which is the longest hike we've ever done (well, I've done longer, but that hike was hell, and I don't like to remember it). And after our night of larceny and little sleep, we were not in the best shape. And I packed my pack stupidly in an effort to move quickly and avoid getting arrested.

But the wildflowers were huge and extremely plentiful (did you know lavendar and foxglove grow on the side of the road in Seattle? Lavendar. On the side of the road. I can't even get it to grow in my yard).

And the trees were even huger and even more plentiful.

I'll just skip on through the hike, which toward the end there was pretty brutal. (Guy, you can tell your "ha-ha look she's crossing the river with her boots on when there's a log bridge right there" story on your own time. I run the show here.) Hurrah, we're there!

Nine stream is beautiful. Doesn't that look inviting? It did to us too, especially since it was about ninety degrees in the sunshine (What you say? Ninety degrees? It's true. Washingtonians were shocked and appalled at the lack of rain). Unfortunately, if even a toe was in that water for more than five seconds, it hurt like hell. This is snow melt from only two miles higher. You would be sweltering, walk into the water and prepare to dunk yourself under, and then suddenly you would find yourself scrabbling frantically for dry land, swearing in another language (because English suddenly becomes far too difficult).

Since, not for lack of trying, we couldn't really go in the water, there wasn't a whole lot to do. We collected sticks and branches for fires.

Sometimes I cleaned the sticks.

We read.
We went for very short walks.
I knit. (Girl's birthday sweater is almost done, by the way).

And after a day of this pleasant rest, it was time to leave. The hike out was faster and much easier, given that it was downhill and not immediately following sleeping in a stranger's trailer. But ten miles is ten miles, and we were good and ready for our beers about seven miles in. (Beer at the end of a hike is a tradition among my people, whether you finish at 5pm or 5am.)

About two miles from the finish line, we came upon--how shall I describe it?--heaven? For the most part, the Skokomish River is kind of raging and bumpy. Those mountains are pretty steep, after all. But for about a half mile, it flows gently and meanderingly, while remaining the deepest and clearest river I have ever seen. We found a spot with easy access right near the trail, where this bizarrely flat log stretched out across the water.

Doesn't that look idyllic? The water there, despite appearances, is actually about eight feet deep. It's just that clear.

Unfortunately, eight miles downhill didn't really do much to warm the Skokomish. Right there, I'm panicking. I'm going to freeze to death if I don't get out of that water IMMEDIATELY.

I really cannot stress enough how cold that water is.

Below you will find some general pretty river-pretty mountains shots. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

omg, this looks fantastic! but just you wait until i start posting pictures of our tramps in new zealand. . . .let the contest begin!

in passing, here they don't make log bridges to cross rivers. you're expected to walk through in your boots as a matter of course. you'd fit right in.

miss you, hope new job is going well.