I was blown away by the amount of color and waterfalls. All 4 of us immediately noticed how spoiled we were hiking the Pacific Crest Trail System. The trail is maticulously maintained. For the most part it is free of debris and grated at 15°, enabling a smooth, quick pace. The trail to the Goldmyer hotsprings was rocky and steep. Every step had to be carefully placed. Plus it was wet and getting wetter. I fell a few times then slowed way down. It was difficult, but worth it!
This is the morning after we arrived, grey and wet, but the rain had stopped. When we hiked in the previous night it was cold, dark and raining. Plus there were mice and spiders everywhere! I set up camp, made dinner then walked the half mile uphill to the hotsprings... Worth it!!
There were 4 small pools of varying temperatures. The spring with the people above (Karma and Shepard) was around 85°. I enjoyed soothing, long soaks here. The waterfall from the tub above offered a hot massage, as well. That pool could only fit 2 people and was about 95°. Above that, was a cave that extended 30 feet back. It acted as both a steam room and a hotspring. I couldn't be in there for more than 10 minutes. Nearby was a cold pond, fed from a natural icy spring. I enjoyed going back and forth between the hottest and coldest of the springs. Soaking in the cold one for a few minutes was the most relaxing and stimulating experience... I miss it! We stayed here until 2pm when we were asked nicely to leave. We left happy and full. Little did I know it would be the warmth I would hold onto over the next 4 days of straight rain.
This is the creek that ran alongside the hot spring.
I have never seen ferns change color like this before. Though a lot of the rain was difficult at times, it truly produced some amazing colors and texture!
We passed by a few campsites, but most were full of mud, puddles or people, so we hiked on. I had set up in the dark and rain last night and wasn't excited about doing it again. As the sun began to set, we saw a break in the clouds. The colors made me feel like I was in an instagram photo. It stopped raining and I separated from the group to find a good tarp site.
I found good coverage, off trail, in the trees. It wasn't a designated campsite, but most of the good ones rarely are. An hour later, I saw En Fuego's headlamp and showed her a possible spot. She found some good coverage in the trees, as well.
In the morning, I awoke to more rain. I found it extremely difficult to rise early, move quick and break camp. Even though, I had agreed to be on trail by 7:30, En Fuego and I weren't on trail till 10. Later, Doc and I agreed to a rain delay departure time of 9am.
Just another epic river crossing! Thank you En Fuego for making this picture even more beautiful
We all agreed on a large campsite, but the map showed it as dry. Dry camping means you are not near water. We packed water into the site, but found it well saturated because of the rain. For a first timer to the area, it would be risky to assume there was seasonal water. It had stopped raining by the time I set up camp, but it was dark. The sky was clear and stars were visible for the first time in 3 nights. I hoped that meant tomorrow's forecast would be sunny.
I hiked the 25 miles in just under 9 hours... I was cruising!!! I got a ride from a young man who went by the name Spare Rib. He worked for ski patrol in the winter and downhill mountain biking in the summer. He stopped at the general store so I could pick up a few things and even offered me some legal medicine! He drove me directly to the Dinsmore's and would accept zero gratuity. I look forward to paying forward all the amazing karma I have received on and off trail!
The Dinsmore's Hiker Haven is located 8 miles west of Skykomish in the town of Baring. Jerry and Andrea are retired and have been helping out hikers since 2003. Jerry was in the hospital while I was there, but there was a ton of love and support from all the new and returning hikers. I was able to dry out my gear and stay warm in the "hiker clubhouse." There were 3 bunk beds, a handful of recliners, kitchen table and chairs, a wood burning stove and a TV with both DVDs and VHS. It was truly a cozy warm environment. In a separate building was a washer/dryer and shower. With no real comforts this far in the northwest, the Dinsmore's offer a haven of warm hospitality. Below is Doc seam sealing and repairing holes on his bag liner. There was more rain in the forecast!