We woke up, Mount Adams just lighting up in the distance with a sea of clouds lapping at its base. An incredible inversion filled the valley with white fluffy clouds, leaving little mountain islands floating in its expanse. I wondered if it was raining below the clouds. We packed up early and headed out before the sun was really up. Because we had stopped early we had a long day ahead of us, but the elevation profile looked easy enough, at least after we had climbed Cispus Pass. The hike out of our high alpine park and down to the basin bellow Cispus Pass was stunning. Goat Rocks Wilderness is an amazing place, it hurt to be hiking out of it instead of deeper into it. In the basin bellow Cispus Pass we were able to look straight out the headwaters of Cispus River and into the clouds bellow. A easy zigzagging trail took us out of the basin and up to the pass, where we finally got our first rays of warm sunshine.
Beyond Cispus Pass was an obviously glacier carved valley. Seeing the way a giant chunk of ice scraped its fingers along the mountains, leaving U-shaped valleys bellow is like looking back in time, it’s like seeing time written on a landscape, it is amazing. From the pass the day was mellow. We were in trees all day, hiking a basically flat trail all the way to Lava Springs. Lava Springs was described as a cool clear spring coming straight out of lava rock. We were confused right up until the spring, because we hadn’t seen any lava rock all day, was it just going to appear out of nowhere? Right after Kyle voiced this confusion a huge pile of lava rock loomed up in front of us, Mount Adams above it, shockingly close. We had hiked so far in one day. We hiked next to the lava rock pile for a little while before coming to the spring, where we ate Ethopian curry for dinner, with mashed potatoes mixed in for extra sustenance.
After dinner we had another five miles to go to camp at Kilen Creek. Kilen Creek was our only option for camping because it put us only a short distance from Forest Service Road 23, where my parents were meeting us the next day to resupply us. What was funny was that during the day we had received two completely different reports on Kilen Creek. One guy we met, who was section hiking Washington and clearly very green had asked us a TON of questions and then felt the need to reciprocate by telling us that Kilen Creek wasn’t a great campsite, not much water, not a nice spot. Well too bad, we thought, we have no other option. Then a couple we passed told us there was an amazing campsite up top with a waterfall and stunning views of Adams. When I asked where it was in relation to Kilen Creek they lit up! The campsite they were describing was Kilen Creek! Alright, so exactly the opposite description we had received from the first guy, but we decided to trust the couple, because we wanted to but also because they seemed more experienced.
Five miles in probably too many miles to do between dinner and camp and we were desperate and frustrated by the time we arrived, the miles simply creeped by. But when we got there, boy was it worth it. The sun was just starting to turn the glaciers on Mount Adams rosy pink, and they were so close we could see their crevasses, deep and dark. A small pond reflected its summit and Lupins framed the perfect picture. We pitched our tent near the waterfall, convinced we would wake up to crazy condensation. I tried to put up the bear hang while Kyle took pictures but let’s face it, without Kyle the bear hang would never get hung, I couldn’t even get the rock thrown over what looked like a very low branch. So I readied our Nutella snack instead and waited for him to get back. He got the rock over the branch no problem and we went to bed pleased with our campsite and our day, which was our longest day on trail. We even had time to read a little.