Another update from Plain.
We are back in Plain after another 4 day trip in the mountains. Uhuru joined us for this one as we climbed Clark, Luahna, Glacier Peak, and Buck.
After our resupply at the Plain general store, we biked up to the White River Trailhead. We started hiking towards Boulder Pass, then cut off towards Clark. With threatening thunderheads above, we made camp in a beautiful hanging valley minutes before the rain started.
The hanging valley from the next morning
The next morning we awoke to clear skies. We ascended towards Clark. From the summit, we descended towards Luahna, crossing the Richardson Glacier. We were stunned by panoramic views of the Glacier Peak wilderness and beyond.
An impressive sub-peak of Clark
Jeff and Uhuru about to descend onto the Richardson Glacier
Upon submitting Luahna, thunder heads were again building. We had planned to traverse high across the Butterfly Glacier, but with deafening thunder echoing off the mountains and nearby lighting, we rapidly descended to the valley below.
Threatening clouds over Glacier peak as we descended
From lower down, we hiked through light rain, traversing the lower ranks of Tenpeak towards Glacier. This is some amazing country. Alpine meadows and wildflower blooms on the benches of rugged glaciated peaks. Being in such a remote and beautiful place is a special experience.
Lupine blooms in an alpine meadow
Upon reaching the Honeycomb Glacier, we were shocked by the difference in topography between our maps and what was under our feet. The Glacier had receded so much that the topography of the USGS maps, likely from the late 60's, was totally wrong. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to experience these amazing places, but know that my impact contributes to their changing form. Many of the glaciers we have walked and gazed across are in their final time, and many are already gone. We soaked up our time with these vanishing rivers of Ice.
We made camp at the Kopeetah Divide Gap with inspiring views of Glacier Peak.
A 4:00 wake up the next morning had us moving by 4:45. We Climbed Glacier Peak in the early morning light and summited a little after 8:00.
Glacier Peak in the early morning light
Looking east accross the Glacier Peak Wilderness
We descended Glacier peak and started the long walk towards Buck Mountain. Again thunder heads built overhead and we were met with afternoon showers. An epic bushwack brought us to the hanging valley below Buck. We set up the tent in a downpour and warmed up with hot food and drink.
The next morning we climbed buck under clear skies.
Me and Uhuru on the Summit of Buck
We then descended and began the 16 mile trail-walk back to the bikes. Realizing we would not make it back to Plain before the diner closed, I went ahead in hopes of securing dinner for the three of us. With intense quad pain, blistering feet, booming thunder, and soaking underbrush, I pushed hard back to the bikes. I did not want to endure another night of dehydrated rice and beans! Luckily, I made it to Plain in time and enjoyed a filling meal. A 1/2 lb burger, chips, steak and eggs, a salad, a cookie, and a couple glasses of milk had me feeling much better.
We were then hosted by friends in Plain. Thank you so much for the hospitality Rob and Deb.
The last 8 days Jeff and I have covered over 280 miles and 64,000 ft of elevation gain, summiting 13 peaks. It is quite obvious our bodies are feeling it. Our feet are tender and blistered from hiking in wet shoes, our muscles sore and cramped from the miles and vert, our minds tired from decision-making and long days, and I dislocated my shoulder in a slippery meadow. So today, we will take the day off; relaxing in plain. Then, we will resupply in Leavenworth, preparing to start the next leg tomorrow. Hopefully that is enough time to prevent injuries from setting in.
We have now climbed 25 out of 100 peaks, human powered!