The Wonderland Trail

Day 6 Indian Bar to Maple Creek

Yep, started off pretty foggy this morning, as we’re up by 5:30am this morning, and everything is wet, very heavy mist. Ed saw an Elk on his way to the bathroom. He was the only one to see it, and it seemed fitting, as it was his 34th year on the planet!!! What a way to celebrate your birthday!!!

By the time we were ready to leave, fog is becoming patchier, a good sign. We take off for the Cowlitz Divide at 8:00 this morning, today will be mostly downhill, a 10 mile day, but it starts out with a good uphill climb. Doesn’t take long, and we are above the fog! And, the mountain is beautiful!! Pretty trail as we make our bid for the high spot on the divide. We scare up a couple of grouse that were nesting in a bush beside the trail, Russ manages to get a picture of the hen.

Cowlitz Divide views, with Mt. Rainier looming...
Cowlitz Divide views

We reach the top, and are rewarded with a 360 degree, panoramic view of the entire region. It’s awesome! We end up taking lot’s of pictures here of the surrounding area. The trail continues down a narrow ridge line, with constant views. Very pretty through here, really enjoyed it, especially as it’s a downhill that’s not a knee burner, a very nice walk.

Found more tasty blueberries through here, stop momentarily to munch. Trail continues down switchbacks in old growth forest to Stevens Canyon and Nickel Creek campground. There are some real giants in here. Reach Box Canyon, stop there to use the facilities, and wash hands under running water with soap!!

Trail continues to ramble through forest, and I found a small patch of wild strawberries in a large (Very tall) stand of Bracken ferns. I made sure none of them went to waste while Ed and Russ continued walking. Once I caught up to them, I informed them that they had missed out on a treat, naturally…

Cowlitz Divide, with Russ and Ed on a high point
Cowlitz Divide

Biting black flies are terrible here. We sit around for over a half hour, slapping flies, looking to the world as if we have some nervous disorder, or are seriously into some strange form of self-flagellation…

Reach Maple creek campground around 2:15pm, and we immediately set up or wet gear to dry. Take another snooze. Since I’m down to my last clean shirt, I take a little bath (with out getting all the way in, the water is freezing here!), and wash my shirt. Sat around in the sun trying to dry. Ended up taking my little Siesta in my wet shirt, hey, couldn’t wait forever you know! Gave new meaning to the term, “Wash and Wear”…

Biting black flies are terrible here. We sit around for over a half hour, slapping flies, looking to the world as if we have some nervous disorder, or are seriously into some strange form of self-flagellation…Yes, we brought insect repellant, but it seemed to be only marginally effective against our present tormentors, and after several days of sweating the stuff off, having it run into or around your mouth where you could taste it, and having the residue on your hands for you to taste with your food, or smell, I think we resigned ourselves to the slapping technique as being the better of two evils…

Cowlitz Divide
Cowlitz Divide

Besides, there was some grim satisfaction to having the little suckers piled up dead at your feet, the one with the biggest pile wins!!! Russ held the record, having swatted 4 at once! I win another game of dice!!! In bed by 9:00pm, if nothing else, once in the tent, we are mercifully away from the little bloodsuckers…