Day 3: Tuesday, August 19th

Distance Hiked: 11.4 miles
Elevation gained: 3600ft. Elevation lost: 2550ft.
Night's Camp: Golden Lakes (elev. 4950ft)

Up just after 6:15... the six-dayers were up at 5AM and gone by 6:30AM. Good breakfast of granola (Doug) and lots of hot cocoa w/marshmallows. Fuel usage not a problem. On the trail by 8:15AM. Big 1800 foot climb to St. Andrews Park... beautiful lake and view of mountain, but lots of bugs. Nice marmot and good foot soakings. Traversed to Klapatche Park (5400') where pictures on guide are from. Steep descent to N. Puyallup with some undulation! Vicious jungle on this descent just like prior ascent. Feeling good but getting humid with stagnant air. Pump water just before hell... wretched out-house and camp sites at N. Puyallup (3707'.) But great view from bridge! Traversed along bottom of canyon to double bridge (good water.) Terrible sweating and heat induced fatigue. The rest and time spent pumping sorely needed. Some groups heading in opposite direction. X-country camp prospect is terrible. Resolved to persevere at slow pace, but steady to the top of the burnt out ridge (5200'). Incredible views of Rainier. The lack of trees cools us. Aaron consumes "questionable" blueberries... not sick yet. Rejuvenated by cooling and views we continued along flatter section (long such thing yet!)(one mile or a bit less). Descent steepened to Golden Lakes. We are lucky that 5 of the 6 possible sites are free! Bugs bad initially but better now. Longest day yet at 11.4 miles and 3600' up (8:15 AM to 6:05 PM).

Aaron's commentary: St. Andrew's lake was really gorgeous, one of the nicest spots on the hike. Unfortunately, the bugs there were also really bad so we couldn't stay too long but we did wade in the cold lake for a bit. We had been supposed to not make it to Golden Lakes until the next day and stay in a x-country zone this night: however, we had decided the night before to get up early and see if we couldn't push on to Golden Lakes and we did. We had been nervous about it being full as we were told it would be but this turned out to be no trouble at all. Blueberries were numerous and delicious - would have stayed and collected many more if we weren't nervous about finding a site. This day was a big morale boost for us, being by far our longest to this point in terms of both miles and elevation gain and we were still in pretty good shape at the end of it.

Doug's commentary: This day was the first "turning point." As Aaron points out, it was a test that we passed. Lots of mileage and elevation gain in some uncomfortable heat. At this point I felt that I could make it the entire way, barring a twisted ankle or such. The views were the best for this western side of the Wonderland Trail. We passed through almost every kind of terrain on this day: pine forests, lush undergrowth and breezy ridges. But there was much more "variety" in store for later on. This would be the last day we were comfortably dry...


South Puyallup River (near camp).

Mt Adams (maybe?) from ridge above South Puyallup.

Marmot at St. Andrews.

St. Andrews Lake and Rainier.

Aaron at St. Andrews.

Doug at St. Andrews.

Just beyond St. Andrews (Klapatche Park).

Klapatche Park.

North Puyallup camp/river.

North Puyallup.

Trail near North Puyallup.

Golden Lakes Ridge.