The Wonderland Trail

Day 11 Golden Lakes to Mowich Lake

Sunset at Golden Lakes
Sunset at Golden Lakes

Up by 5:30am, and after a water re-fill at the lake, on the trail by 8:15am. I took quite a spill at the lake, we were filling up by walking out on a log that was sticking out into the lake, allowing us to get water from further out, instead of close to the banks, where sediment was easily kicked up, and, mixing mud and water on that log, my feet flew out from under me, and having the water filter in my hands, I had no way to break my fall other than with the back of my head, and my backside, right onto the log!

Luckily, the only thing that was injured was my pride. But, hey, I didn’t fall in the water, at least! Day begins nice again; we’ve had absolutely outstanding weather the entire trek, thanks, Lord!!! As we pass a few of the Golden Lakes, the trail is a nice stroll, gently rolling through berry bushes, and meadows, until we hit more forest.

…not to forget us here in Washington! They were all very nice people. They take our picture, so I guess now they won’t forget us!

Fellow Wonderlanders
Fellow Wonderlanders

Then, we start to enter into another burn area, with lots of silver snags, and bear grass, just like yesterday. We traverse the side of the hill for awhile. Before long, we come upon the Ohioans!! They surprised us, the last few days we’ve always beat them out of camp, today though, they were on the trail before us! We stop and talk for awhile, and as we pass them, I shake each of their hands, wish them well, and tell them not to forget us here in Washington! They were all very nice people. They take our picture, so I guess now they won’t forget us!

Dave and Ed at Golden Lakes
Dave and Ed at Golden Lakes

The trail descends gradually through old growth. Well, at least to us it seems gradual, as we are descending, and not having to trudge uphill. As we get closer to the river, we start to pass people, 2 different couples, and they warn us. “Oh, yeah, be sure and get to the river early, the bridge is still out, and the water’s going to rise later!” The same mantra that we’ve heard the whole time we’ve been on the trail, the South Mowich river crossing is out!!! We assure them that we are indeed hurrying to get to the river. About 5 or 10 minutes before we get to the river, we hear what sounds like a chain saw roaring, and we think, “Could this be a trail crew fixing the bridge?”

11 days on the trail, we’ve been told the bridge was out, and within 5 minutes of us getting to this spot on the whole trail, the bridge is in….

We reach the river crossing by 10:30am, and sure enough!! There’s a crew, working on getting the bridge in. We walk slowly over to where they are working, staring expectantly, and the guy with hip waders comes over and tells us that if we just wait a few minutes, they’ll have the bridge in and we won’t have to get our feet wet! We assure him that those few minutes will be no problem for us at all…Talk about your perfect timing!!!

11 days on the trail, we’ve been told the bridge was out, and within 5 minutes of us getting to this spot on the whole trail, the bridge is in….We didn’t have to take off our boots, and as we crossed the bridge, we thanked them all profusely. Once again, the Lord knew what time we would be there at that crossing, thank you, Lord!!! The chain saw sound was from a gas powered come-along that the crew used to pull the bridge back into place across the river.

Mowich River, trail crew gets bridge in "just in time"
Mowich River, trail crew gets bridge in “just in time”

Once across, we stopped for a couple minutes to eat a power bar, and drink up, as we prepared for our final climb up the north side of the river. As we are crossing the river valley, we walk through very cool rain forest, and cross the North Mowich River. Now across the river, we head up. It seems gradual enough, it’s just a constant up. We stop every 20 minutes or so, just a pause to get some fluids in, I can’t drink out of the water bottle unless we stop. As we neared the top, we cross Crater Creek, which runs out of Lake Mowich.

By 1:10pm, we reached the top!!! We made it!!! We are, of course, elated! What began 11 days ago from this spot, is now completed. It’s been a dream of mine now for 2 years, and finally, I’ve achieved my dream.

We’d been told earlier on in our adventure, that Crater Creek was dry! I found that hard to believe, and now I can see that the people that told us that were probably confused…Most of the hike on this side of the river was through old growth forest, with an occasional glimpse of the mountain.

By 1:10pm, we reached the top!!! We made it!!! We are, of course, elated! What began 11 days ago from this spot, is now completed. It’s been a dream of mine now for 2 years, and finally, I’ve achieved my dream. We made it the whole way without having to break out the rain gear. I prayed before I even picked the days that we would hike, that God would pick the best days for weather for us, and it was perfect!!!

Final Thoughts
Final Thoughts

The following day, after we got home? It rained. I felt kind of sorry for the guys from Ohio, as they were still on the trail, and the rain jacket was on it’s way back to Ohio…So many memories, even as I re-read what I scribbled in my note book while on the trail, it brings back so many memories…Will I ever do the whole thing again? Probably not, but there were some sections that I definitely fell in love with, that I would like to see again.

When we get home, and I stepped in the front door, I had the oddest sensation that it wasn’t my home! Clean hardwood floors, and carpet!! Real, soft, furniture!! (Which I didn’t sit in until I had showered!). It took a while, before that sensation left me, I felt like an interloper, like I didn’t belong here…

I’m sore, and not anxious to do anything remotely strenuous for a few days, and I look forward to being inside for the next couple, as I did miss my computer!! And, I have a nice, big project to do, getting all of the pictures catalogued, videos put together so that I can make my own movie of our Wonderland Experience. I’m also going to try and do a website, to document our trip. I have never attempted something like that before, hope I manage it!

It’s good to be home, and get back into a routine, but, the experiences on the trail will be with me for the rest of my life, and I will always look back upon my time on the Wonderland, as one of the best moments of my life.