Mile 378/2650 (21 miles)
‘Goat Rock Awe’
It was still dark at 5:30 am when I left my camp site at the Kracker Barrel Store to head back onto the trail. I’m carrying 7 days worth of food for this section so my pack is as heavy as it’s ever been.
I climbed through a forest for a few hours. By midday it was burning hot as I dragged myself up a scree track into wild flowered meadow. The scarlet Indian Paintbrush popped out against the lush grass.
Eventually the epic rocky mountainous landscape cane fully into view. The Goat Rock Wilderness with clear views of in front the three live volcanos of Mount Rainer, Adams and St. Catherine. I could see 360 views for what felt like 100s of miles. Beauty in every direction.
I could make out the ridge I needed to cross, ‘Knife Edge Pass’. It looked intimidating. A sheer drop below.
Hikers walking past me warned me to take the stock path as the PCT was covered in snow and ice and was risky. One lady seemed quite traumatised from her experience on the snow field crossing.
Knifes Edge Pass was definitely the most exposed section I’ve walked here so far. But the views and deep exhales sustained me. The stock path was made of beautiful slate rock – it moved musically underfoot – like walking over broken china.
I felt awe and exhaustion in equal measure as I collapsed on to a sand patch in the meadow below. My home for the night.