WAPTUS RIVER VALLEY
PCT Day 14. Wednesday July 27, 2022
Mile 2410 + 20 miles today
Total Distance Hiked: 234 miles /374 kilometres
I woke up in the middle of the night to see a star studded sky above me. I got so excited to get out and take some night photos but then I remembered – mosquitoes don’t sleep. I fell back to sleep hoping there will be another opportunity further along.
The sound of buzzing mosquitos was our wake up call this morning. We broke camp and rushed away from there before being eaten alive. And that was pretty much all the mosquitos we had all day. I can only guess we were camped in Mosquito Hollow.
The early part of the trail was all rocks and tree roots as we headed down from camp. It was warm and humid and it wasn’t even 6am. Even the happy bird sounded a bit tired in this early morning heat. The snowmelt streams rushing down the mountain made a thundering sound.
About an hour from leaving camp we came across the source of the thundering sound, a huge waterfall. It was such a relief to see a bridge across this wall of water thank you bridge builders. We would call this volume of running water a river, but no it was just a creek. We crossed Delate Creek on this beautiful bridge and stopped for breakfast. The cool air coming off the rushing water felt wonderful.
Little further downstream we were not so lucky with the bridges. Leamah Creek bridge wa out in 2016 when Hammer went through and for me in 2017 and it’s still out. Except now the late snowmelt has added much more volume to the creek. We crossed on a log which was a little slippery especially towards the end. Hammer got across without any trouble but for me it was a slow crossing with a little wobble at the end. But thankfully did not fall in.
From Leamah Creek we had 6.5 miles of uphill switchbacks. Hard work but made so much easier by being in the morning, we were in the shade and there were no mosquitos. And the views of the snow covered volcanic peaks as we rose were awesome. We even got a view of the top of Mt Rainier behind the craggy peaks.
It was midday by the time we finished the sweaty climb. And it was baking hot. We lost the protection of the forest and there was little shade to be found anywhere. We hiked in the heat of the full mid-day sun. It reminded me of that song “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun”. My shirt was fully soaked in sweat. As my shirt dried in the heat, the salty sweet was leaving a line like a receding tide. This open section of trail was on a rocky ridge and carried some sort of environmental protection warning.
From this open rocky ridge we dropped to the georgeou Walupt River Valley. Six miles of switchbacks but all downhill to the river crossing. The views of the huge Walupt Lake were impressive. The lake is huge.
We hiked in silence and the afternoon miles dragged on. Our inward contemplation was suddenly interrupted by the sound of a fighter jet flying over. I knew there would be a second one and it soon followed. The sound they make is a little alarming despite knowing it’s a training exercise. Must be a regular training route as Hammer remembers seeing jets flying over near Spectacle Lake when he hiked here in 2016.
That broke us out of our reverie and the next few miles rolled around a bit quicker. We got to Walupt River just after 5pm. The river is a most beautiful minty green colour and clear as ice. It looked so inviting after all the sweaty work. But we resisted, hiking on a little bit further and camping by the just as lovely Spade Creek.