Friday, January 14, 2011

Gummi Women and the Goat Rocks

Nothing particularly noteworthy
about the views.... as of yet!
September 3: I was a bit excited about today. Today, I would enter the famous Goat Rocks Wilderness. I've heard about this wilderness mecca before, and it sounds absolutely wonderful, and the pictures I've seen absolutely gorgeous, but somehow, over all these years, I've never made it to the Goat Rocks myself. Today, that would finally change. I was pretty excited about it. =)

I left from my camp at Killen Creek with very little water, planning to stock up at Lava Springs. It seemed like everyone I talked to on the trail was excited about the wonderful water at this spring. Even Erik the Black gave the spring two thumbs up in his guidebook. I had to see what everyone was talking about. I couldn't imagine why this particular water source would be so wonderful, but I'd get to the bottom of it. Yes, I would get to the bottom of it.

Clearing up to be a
beautiful day!
When I arrived at the springs, I found Elk--still camped nearby from the night before. Obviously, in no rush to get anywhere. But it was Elk! My God! I hadn't seen him since.... *thinking back* I think the last time I saw him was way back in Warner Springs when I showed him how to carve stamps. It was an unexpected encounter, and I wanted to know all about his trip so far. He had hiked north as far as Seiad Valley, but was so far behind where he was "supposed" to be, he jumped ahead to the Canadian border and started hiking southbound. A lot of hikers lagging near the end of the pack often make this decision since the snows in northern Washington generally come earlier and are more brutal than the snows in southern Oregon. It extends the hiking seasons slightly, and increases their chances of finishing the entire trail.

I offered Elk a naked gummi lady. Amanda found them on a trip to Germany and thought I might enjoy them. =) I offered one to Elk, which he really liked and told me that he was going to suck the toes of the gummi lady first. "Okay," I replied, "I didn't need to know that."

I filled up with water from Lava Springs, which tasted exactly like all of the other water I've had on the trail. I still don't understand the fuss that this water created. Who started the legend of the amazing water here? Why? I don't know.... But it tasted like any other spring water I'd find on the trail. *shrug* Which is good, but nothing extraordinary.

Would you suck
her toes?
It was good bumping into Elk, but I sat around talking with him a lot longer than I planned to stop at Lava Springs. The Goat Rocks were ahead! I asked Elk if they were everything I always heard, but he said he didn't know--he hiked through in the rain and snow (snow?!) and couldn't see a thing more than three feet away. Bummer. "The views of Mount Adams are awesome!" I told him, giving him something to look forward to. =)

Elk and I parted ways, him heading southbound, and me heading northbound, and I finally entered into the Goat Rocks Wilderness. To start with, I wasn't impressed. It was mostly a bunch of trees, and when I got to a viewpoint, the views of Mount Adams behind me were better than the views of the Goat Rocks.

I stopped for a lunch break later in the afternoon, eating my usual assortment of Wheat Thins, Jelly Bellies, and a few gummi women. And I couldn't help but thinking, "I should suck her toes." Damn Elk. I sucked on the toes of a gummi woman for several seconds, but didn't find it very satisfying and ate the rest of it instead.

Late in the afternoon, the trail climbed up and over a ridge to a fantastic view. "Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!" I shouted into the distance. It's the kind of view that words and photos could never capture. A deep valley, with a long waterfall cascading down the other side of it, and views that seemed to go for a hundred miles. I noticed several white spots in the distance that seemed out of place, and stopped to get a better look. When I noticed one of the white spots moving. Goats! I found goats! I guess I shouldn't have been surprised--I was in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, after all, but it seemed entirely too easy to find the goats. I wasn't even trying!

Finally! In the Goat Rocks!
I continued along the trail, coming closer and closer to the goats, and more details emerged. There were a lot of them--more seemed to pop out of the bushes with every step. And some of the goats were babies. Adorable! The trail came quite close to them, and I started worrying that maybe I was getting a bit too close to the goats, but they eventually decided the same thing and skedaddled away from me further down the valley and away from the trail. From a distance I could finally see the entire herd and sat down to count them: seventy. Seventy goats! They didn't stand still much, so I counted again, and again got the number seventy. If my count was off, it certainly wasn't by much. Wow! A herd of 70 goats! Or whatever a group of goats is called. I bet there's a word for it and I don't know it. =)

The hike must go on, and that's what I did. About ten minutes later, I rounded another bend in the trail and found more goats. Another herd?! These goats weren't on the trail, though, off to the side on an adjacent slope, and I counted them too: 22 goats. I've now found 92 goats within a half hour time span. "This place is awesome!"

I finally set up camp at the Cispus River. Just Dave was already there, cooking dinner, along with a family out for the weekend (a dad with his daughter and son) from Vancouver, WA. The family started a campfire, and Just Dave and I joined in telling them about our adventures on the trail.

I planned to camp under the stars tonight--the first night for quite some time now--but changed my mind when I finally left the campfire to go to sleep. It wasn't even fully dark yet and a surprisingly thick layer of condensation had already formed on my gear. It was going to be a wet night, even if it didn't rain. I already set up my camp well away from the few scraggly trees in the area, and I didn't feel like moving camp to set up my tarp. Rather than doing that, I picked out a piece of the firewood that hadn't been used to prop up one side of my tarp. Usually I attach it to a tree and use my trekking pole for the other end, but I used firewood to prop up the other end of my tarp this time, saving myself the effort of moving camp closer to the trees.

Views south towards Mt. Adams
were better than forward into
the Goat Rocks. At first....
I didn't camp under the stars this night, but I did occasionally peak out of my tarp to a spectacular view of the stars throughout the night. Stunning. Absolutely stunning. And each time I checked, I could see a thick layer of fog creeping up the valley from the west. "Stay away," I whispered to it. "Just stay away. I want to see the rest of the Goat Rocks."

At least I'm out of the trees and have views now! =)

But I still found myself looking back at Mt. Adams than the scenery ahead.

I wonder what's just over this ridge?

Almost over the hump.....

Goats! Lots and lots of goats!
I can't say I got any GOOD pictures of the goats.
It was late in the day and the light was bad.

This is the second herd of goats I found.
They weren't as close as that first herd, though.

Goat Rocks--AWESOME!!!!


Unknown said...

These pictures are stunning!

Anonymous said...

A group of goats is called a trip...

sarcasmo said...

Thank you Ryan for sharing your pictures. They are magnificant. Well, except for the Gummi woman. Hmm, ask Amanda if they had Gummi men and where the heck we can find those stateside. I wish I was on that leg of the hike, it's such a beautiful area. I would want to sit and stare at Mt. Adams all day too...

Ryan said...

There were indeed anatomically correct gummi men available, but Amanda thought I'd enjoy the anatomically correct women better. =) I guess she already ate the anatomically correct men because she didn't have those to show!

-- Ryan

Anonymous said...

I go to a summer camp that is on the Cispus River.

-Bookworm NTH

Anonymous said... are the luckiest man alive. :-) Simply beautiful!

P.S. You need to have an "outstanding photos" button at the bottom of the page.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Gummi women....*snort* Cracked me up.
Must have been very entertaining to have them to snack on. hehe!

Photos are great! Did you ever get the urge to sing "The Sound of Music" while walking in the Goat Rock Wilderness? I would have.

But I'd be glad to leave that volcano Mt Adams behind. Gives me the creeps!

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers