>Ninety Miles Around Tahoma – Sept 11

August 29, 2010 at 5:49 pm (Uncategorized)

>This is the account of my solo backpack trip around Mt. Rainier Sept 1-12, 1990. I will be posting one journal entry each day.

Where the Red Ferns Grow (they weren’t really red) Hand-Painted BW photograph

September 11. Eight miles to Golden Lakes.

It is an easy three miles to the North Puyallup River. Corydalis and ferns are plentiful. Here, as in the rest of the park woodlands, is a complete collection of mushrooms and fungi: big beige boletes (edible), fluted cups, retracted anemones, huge orange shelf fungi, Bilbo Baggins toadstools, black leafy things, inky caps, tiny orange umbrella cities, Pillsbury Doughboy pop-ups that break forest duff and jump onto the trail.

An orb spider has ingeniously hung her web high between two trees, anchoring it on the webs of other, more conventional sisters. Sidelit bugs shoot around it like fireworks, but score no direct hit.

A woodland squirrel is displeased with me for the mere fact of my existence. He chitters like a squeeze toy and signs off with rapid staccato, jerking his body out of sight like a wind-up at Pike Place Market.

By early afternoon I enter the silver forest of Sunset Park. This area burned in the 1930s and is now a paradise of bleached trunks, beargrass, and huckleberries. These are my favorite, tall bushes with jumbo black berries that I don’t have to stoop to reach. I wish to see a bear. The sun is warm and the glaciers are farther now.

I am at Golden Lakes camp before I know it. No one is at the ranger cabin but I make a log entry and read about Jökulhlaups and giardia. I abandon thoughts of cross-country camp when the fog comes in suddenly. Soon it is a whiteout. And it’s damp. I gather my things under a tarp and haul out the plastic that is my substitute tent. Its rope is being used to keep food from the mice, so I drape the plastic over the sleeping bag. Soon the world is as wet as if it had rained.


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