Pacific Crest Trail (2018) 79: Knife’s Edge

Saturday, August 18, 2018 – 14.10 miles

I woke during the night to strange sounds. At first I thought they were animal noises, but eventually I identified them as the crinkling of an air mattress even noisier than my Neoair. So it’s possible to surpass even that level of evil… (it’s probably a new version of the Neoair. Also, love you Neoair). The owners of the mattress had arrived after I fell asleep and weren’t awake by the time I left in the morning.

The sky was less smoggy than yesterday’s. Gogogo! I skipped breakfast and hurried towards the Knife’s Edge, but adjusted my speed slightly to avoid a hiker who kept wanting to talk. Hopefully it wasn’t obvious. I didn’t want to be rude, but when the scenery is nice, I just want to look at the nice scenery without someone ejecting human sounds into the air.

Great views of Mt. Adams and a distant Mt. St. Helens as I climbed up towards the Packwood Glacier, which eTrails describes as the only permanent snowfield on the PCT.

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Mt. Adams
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Mt. St. Helens
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When I arrived there, I couldn’t actually tell what was the glacier, whether there still was a glacier, whether there was a glacier but it had melted into separate snow patches, and so forth. The PCTA doesn’t recommend this section of the trail for stock, and I wholeheartedly agree after experiencing the dodgy footing around what may or may not have been a glacier.

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The actual Knife’s Edge was better, since the footing at least seemed solid albeit narrow and with steep drops.

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Knife’s Edge

Plenty of smoke was visible from the Knife’s Edge. The base of Rainer was covered with purple haze.

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Two fires are nearby: the Miriam Fire and the Clear Fork fire, which started along the original PCT detour for the Miriam Fire.

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Directly after the Knife’s Edge, the new detour began at Coyote Trail #79, which eTrails describes as ‘lightly used’. The trail tread immediately revealed that it’s used well. The trail oscillated steeply during its approach to Chimney Rock, offering views that would have been fabulous if not for the smoke.

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I kept walking past Lost Lake, making camp in an area where I saw a herd of mountain goats! That was special for me. I’ve seen little-white-blotch goats before, and a single goat directly beside a road, but I’ve never seen a herd close enough to see the details of what they’re doing, which in this case was a mix of grazing and standing in seemingly suicidal positions on a rock face.

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Mountain goats

Along with the goats, I can see a plume of smoke from the Clear Fork Fire. The scent of smoke is thick in the air. Future hikers: a good resource for fire updates is Inciweb.

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