Forum Index > Trip Reports > Wonderland Trail in 3 Days (#34): Sep 7-9/2022
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williswall
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Joined: 30 Sep 2007
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Location: Redmond
williswall
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PostSun Sep 11, 2022 11:03 am 
If you have been on this site for a while then another Wonderland from me is no surprise. My annual trek is more than just a hike; it's a life event where I immerse myself in the surroundings and go through all the ups and downs (literally), the highs and the lows, the elation and downright pure suffering that comes with such long days. Also, by doing this one particular hike every year I can gauge how my body and mind are coping with advancing age (now 67). This year offered up a full plate; it wasn't as easy as 2021, where I waltzed around with no particular problems. This year I didn't have the hiking resume but thankfully my aerobic fitness was good thanks to lots of cycling. Daily stats are from Strava. Day 1: Longmire to White River (34 miles/8468' elev) I had spent two days prior camped at Cougar Rock, on Monday attempting to climb Boundary Peak, where I turned back just below the saddle between Unicorn and Boundary due to steep snow (no axe), a deep moat and class 4 terrain to bypass. I started to climb the terrain but took stock of the downclimb and I still couldn't see ahead enough to judge the whole route. It was a bitch to turn around being so close but one of my solo rules is no class 4. But I digress, I regained my van and on Tuesday took a stroll down to Longmire to get a coffee and acquire a permit for the Wonderland. I started out just before 5 AM on Wednesday heading CCW. Highlights of the day: Reflection Lake early morning with beautiful skies, the usual incredible views from the Cowlitz Divide, the sublime environment of Ohanapecosh Park in the late afternoon with the warm sun, loneliness and stark beauty approaching Panhandle Gap...etc. I had prehydrated my dinner and sat just above Summerland to chow down...when I discovered I had left my filter somewhere behind. I am doing the Invisalign teeth thing so I'm having to take those in and out whenever I eat, using the filter to rinse everything. Luckily I had cell service there so called my steadfast buddy who would deliver a filter to me at the Fryingpan Creek trailhead at 9 PM. I still felt good enough to actually run from Summerland to the trailhead, arriving at 8:45 with enough time to clean my feet and ready myself for sleep. Craig arrived right on time and gave me a ride the short distance up to White River, where I threw down my bivy for the night.
D1.1 Reflection Lake sunrise
D1.1 Reflection Lake sunrise
D1.2 Reflected Lake
D1.2 Reflected Lake
D1.3 Mt Adams from Cowlitz Divide
D1.3 Mt Adams from Cowlitz Divide
D1.4 View from Pt 5930
D1.4 View from Pt 5930
D1.6 Sunset below Panhandle Gap
D1.6 Sunset below Panhandle Gap
Day 2: White River to Mowich Lake (31 miles/7,504' elev) In sum, this was not a good day. All night I felt slightly nauseous and got little sleep. I started the climb to Sunrise tentatively feeling unstrong. Finally, I vomited up the prior evening's undigested meal. At Sunrise I was able to eat a little and drink some water, but the rest of the day was playing catch up for my body. Craig's filter was old and put out but a trickle, so I finally decided to fill a bottle with unfiltered water so I could use Tailwind and try to catch up on hydrating. Since I had gone over Spray Park in 2021, I elected to take the lower route and head up to Mowich Lake via Ipsut Pass. This was the lowest point I've experienced in a long time; the trail is downright crappy, steep, brushy and rocky. I was struggling to make the top, with many an epithet spewing forth from my Invisaligned mouth. Because of the harder day than expected, I could not make my intended destination of the South Mowich river camp, which did not bode well for day 3, which is the hardest part of the route. I bedded down and dealt with cold temperatures in my light bivy and 40 degree quilt.
D2.1 Mountain from trail below Sunrise
D2.1 Mountain from trail below Sunrise
D2.2 Mountain from Skyscraper
D2.2 Mountain from Skyscraper
D2.3 Willis Wall:Liberty Ridge from Moraine Park
D2.3 Willis Wall:Liberty Ridge from Moraine Park
D2.4 Carbon River flood plain
D2.4 Carbon River flood plain
D2.5 Moonrise over Mowich Lake
D2.5 Moonrise over Mowich Lake
Day 3: Mowich Lake to Longmire (39 miles/8,902' elev) On the trail just after 5 had me feeling more normal...I was finally recovering from the prior day. The climb up to Golden Lakes went well and I felt good the rest of the day...trotting the descents and feeling good on the subsequent climbs to Klapatche Park, Emerald Ridge and Indian Henry's. The weather was fine but starting to get some smoke, which doesn't bother me. Klapatche Park was deserted, and I correctly guessed that most of the night's residents were either not there yet or hanging at St Andrews Lake, since Aurora "Lake" was dry. Sure enough, when I arrived at St Andrews Lake there were a few people scattered around enjoying the environs, including me. I proceeded to wash my feet and legs and make an attempt at my hair (no soap of course). This was a nice pick me up and I departed for the South Puyallup, which came quickly as the trail was ripe for trotting. I had assumed that I would be transiting Emerald Ridge in the dark but got lucky in the timing...I was sans headlamp until departing the ridge. There was just enough light provided by the reflecting mountain and environs. This was also the first time I had seen mountain goats in this area, a special treat. It's these early and late times on the trail that offer up unique experiences every time I go out. We all hike our own hike, but I am not much for camping and prefer to be on trail the majority of the day for these very reasons. I also quite enjoy hiking at night, which on this day proved to be too much enjoyment. I still had to descend to the suspension bridge over Tahoma Creek, climb up to Indian Henry's and descend to cross both Kautz Creek and Pyramid Creek before dropping down to Longmire. Good thing I am familiar with these areas as crossing at night can be somewhat difficult with lack of clues, cairns or tape. In retrospect I was really glad I didn't have to cross the Carbon at night because that whole area was a mess. At Rampart Ridge the sign says 2 miles to Longmire, which elicited an "Oh f%$k me" after Strava said I had already done 37 miles, but I finally staggered into the parking lot just past 1 AM. Aside from ultras, this was the longest single day push I had done in quite a few years, but I was glad I was able to pull it off still. I am so lucky that my health and mechanics are still going strong as I approach 70, enabling me to hit it hard like 30 years ago. Someday I may have to lengthen my trips to 4 days...but not today.
D3.1 Former bridge Mowich River
D3.1 Former bridge Mowich River
D3.2 Path to Golden Lakes
D3.2 Path to Golden Lakes
D3.3 Golden Lakes
D3.3 Golden Lakes
D3.4 Hazy Mountain from Silver Forest
D3.4 Hazy Mountain from Silver Forest
D3.5 Puyallup Formations
D3.5 Puyallup Formations
D3.6 Klapatche Park view
D3.6 Klapatche Park view
D3.7 St Andrews Lake
D3.7 St Andrews Lake
D3.8 Smoky view
D3.8 Smoky view
D3.8 Tired looking leaves
D3.8 Tired looking leaves
D3.9 Fading light approaching Emerald Ridge
D3.9 Fading light approaching Emerald Ridge
D3.11 Goats on Emerald Ridge
D3.11 Goats on Emerald Ridge
D3.12 Moonrise
D3.12 Moonrise

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Roly Poly
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Roly Poly
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PostSun Sep 11, 2022 7:31 pm 
Wow, simply wow! In terms of your athleticism. And the scenery too.

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Bruce Albert
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Bruce Albert
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PostSun Sep 11, 2022 8:57 pm 
Great photos, shoehorned as they are within a helluva lot of hoofing. What do you shoot with. I look forward to your annual WT report.

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williswall
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williswall
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PostSun Sep 11, 2022 9:11 pm 
Bruce Albert wrote:
What do you shoot with. I look forward to your annual WT report.
I use a shoulder mounted GoPro Hero 9 with a Max lens for video, and my iPhone 13 for photos plus video....leave my nice camera behind for this trip due to weight and bulk. I am currently working up the video for the trip so will post here when it's finished.

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comeonandham
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Joined: 02 Oct 2018
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Location: Seattle
comeonandham
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PostMon Sep 12, 2022 9:38 am 
I completed my first Wonderland those same three days! (Started at Fryingpan and went same direction as you, though, so I didn't run into ya.) Knees are still creaking and blisters still scabbing. Dunno how you motivate yourself to do it every year, but props... [img:yhmyb]IMG_1535.HEIC ⏱️[❌] = [img:27rxl]IMG_1563.HEIC ⏱️[❌] = [img:70tdi]IMG_1580.HEIC ⏱️[❌] = [img:w5g5g]IMG_1590.HEIC ⏱️[❌] = [img:4rpy0]IMG_1591.HEIC ⏱️[❌] =

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williswall
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williswall
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PostThu Sep 29, 2022 11:44 am 
Here's the video I did for this year's hike.
Wonderland Trail in 3 Days (#34): Sep 7-9/2022 from Willis Wall on Vimeo.

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Felpudo, RichP, zimmertr
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