The Wonderland Trail

Day 10 Klapatche Park to Golden Lakes

Wow!! Only 1 more day…Up at 5:30, out of camp by 7:45am. Head down into the North Puyallup River valley. Some good views here of the North Puyallup river running down the side of the mountain. Also, there are some really cool rock formations here, which, because of the way the morning light is, I never really got a good picture of them.

One huge rock formation, looked like something the Romans might have built, sheer on all sides, with a round dome on top, like the Coliseum with a roof!!! You could almost envision the columns holding it up, it also reminded me of the place that Thomas Jefferson built, Monticello, only on a grand scale!!! Very cool, I can’t believe that my map does not have a name for it.

On this side of the river, trail really drops down, and there is a lot of blow down of old growth timber. Trail crews have been busy here, too, lots of huge trees to cut up. Once across the river, we start ascending, gradually for awhile, through forest.

Golden Lakes Ranger Station
Golden Lakes Ranger Station

One note: There are man-made rock walls on either side of the river, the one on the north side opens and curves toward the river, making it look as if there was a road with a bridge here once. After a mile or so, the trail gets steeper, and remains that way all the way to the area that is, (or looks to be) an old burn site. No trees, lots of bear grass, and the trees that are here, are silver from being burned a long time ago.

Then, starts to get less steep, but still on an uphill grade, as I’m sweating buckets again! There are two streams of note on the map, and we are hoping to get water from them.  The 1st one, about 4.5 to 5 miles from Klapatche Park, had water, and two bridges close to each other, the 2nd one did not. Good thing we decided to get water from the 1st one. After the burn on the ridgeline, we enter Sunset Park.

Pretty meadows, smaller than we’ve been seeing, interspersed with alpine trees, blueberries, heather, etc. A nice walk, as it just meanders through the area. We reach Golden Lakes around 12:00pm. Also very nice here, we get here just in time for some excitement.

Golden Lakes Reflection
Golden Lakes Reflection

The Forest Service is helicoptering supplies off of the campsite right next to us, not more than 30 feet away, so I get some good video of the helicopter in action. They have a long tow line hanging down from the belly of the copter, and a guy on the ground hooks up the cable to their gear, and they lift it away. They do this twice while we are here. Guess they are doing some kind of water analysis testing of the high lakes. This is one cool camp!!!

The guys that were there at Klapatche camp, well, they got up early and beat us to this camp, and, as they got here early enough, decided if they could make arrangements with the rangers here, they would go on to the South Mowich camp, so that their last day wouldn’t be so long…They are able to make the arrangements necessary, so, we bid them good-bye, and we take the spot that they were at.

Then, after camp is set up, down to the lake for a swim, and a clothes wash! Ahhhh….It is deep, and after you get used to the water temperature, it is soooo refreshing!!!

Golden lakes swimming, Dave and Dragonfly
Swim in Golden Lakes

We must be close to 450ft straight above the largest of the Golden lakes, like an Eagles roost, and as I’m writing this, I’m looking down over it. If I climb just a little higher, to a look-out spot above our site, I get a good view of the mountain. Can see Sunset Ridge, and Liberty Ridge.

Looks as if I can also see parts of Spray Park from here, but I’m not certain. Then, after camp is set up, down to the lake for a swim, and a clothes wash! Ahhhh….It is deep, and after you get used to the water temperature, it is soooo refreshing!!!

I swim around for awhile, and then rinse all of the sweat and salt off of my body and hair, along with the accumulated trail grime. Ed takes some convincing, but he finally takes the plunge, and admits that it was all worth it!!! We wash our stinky clothes, and feel clean again. Sit in the sun to dry out a little, which also feels good, sunning ourselves in the warm sun, then, once we are clean and dry, its nap time again.

We wash our stinky clothes, and feel clean again.

 

Sit in the sun to dry out a little, which also feels good, sunning ourselves in the warm sun, then, once we are clean and dry, its nap time again. Around 3:00pm,                                                                     or so, the Ohioans show up, and they do the same thing, swim, wash, and lay around in the sun…Very relaxing.

Mt. Rainier Sunset
Mt. Rainier Sunset

 

 

Watched a great sunset tonight, it was awesome!!! Tried our best to capture the event on camera and video, have to wait to get home to see how it all turned out! Played a final game of dice, Ed won 1. 9:00pm, and it’s time for bed. Tomorrow, we hike out!