What a difference a state makes! After covering the State of Oregon without a drop of rain, God has opened the floodgates at said, “let there be water.” Washington has been in the midst of their worst fire season ever. They have summoned firefighters from all over the world, Australia and New Zealand both answered the call, and countless men and women have responded to their plead for help. Yet our God has provided the most help of all with his mighty rain, sleet and snow. Hallelujah, our God reigns!
Leaving Oregon and walking into Washington across the “Bridge of the Gods” was glorious! I was filled with so much emotion. The sheer fact that I had covered two states, by foot no less, and that Washington marks my final obstacle to Canada. This has been an amazing journey and I honestly, don’t know if I am ready to complete it? As I entered the forests of Washington, there was a chill in the air and it felt like fall was on its way. I met an interesting fellow my first day out. He was a section hiker and I could hear him before I could see him. He had, what appeared to be a staff, like what Moses carried. It was adorned with bells, feathers, leather, a prayer flag and just beautified with all things natural. We talked about our individual hikes and I complimented him on his trekking pole and amazing accomplishment. God puts things on my heart and when I follow his lead, I can see Gods light shine. The hiker was glowing and shared that he truly appreciated my spirit and cheerfulness! I have been deemed the most joyful person on the trail by both fellow hikers and random people I come in contact with. I believe that is God’s love glowing in me. Thank you Jesus for using me to show your light.
The upcoming days were brisk. I was walking a bit faster and not stopping for as many breaks. Washington is much different in the fact that you have these beautiful ridge lines that expose much of the Cascades. I rounded a corner and saw Mount Adams 12000′ standing above the clouds, covered in snow. As the day progressed, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens appeared. It was unusual to be able to see large peaks from both sides of a ridge, so impressive and powerful. I stopped that evening at a lovely lake, Bear Lake which was a Tahoe blue color. As I set up my tent, the sky turned from gray to black and I knew summer was coming to an close.
I woke to a downpour, the first rain of the season. I was grateful as I hoped this would help contain the fires north of me. The rain continued all morning as I made my way to Road 23, my first fire closure detour. The trail was damp and puddles began to gather. The forest was quiet except for the rain hitting the foliage near me. Not a creature stirred. Even the chickmunks and squirrels stopped gathering pine cones and nuts. As I reached the road, I had two options. Road walk some 25 miles around the closure to the left or hitch into Trout Lake and bid for one of the three rooms at the Grocery Store. As I hit the road, a white panel van stopped. I starting talking to the four Columbians who were inside and asked for a ride into town. They were field pickers, gathering reeds from the local waterways. They offered me a ride to a much busier intersection where I could find another hitch into town. They drove me some 4-5 miles and then I was able to get a ride with a family who were going for a hike. They asked me if I’d like to hike with them? Why not, that’s pretty much what I do everyday. They drove me to this awesome waterfall, which I would have never seen if I stayed on the trail and invited me back to their campsite for lunch. What a blessing! Fresh tomatoes, avocado, fine salami, four kinds of hummus and home brewed beer. I tell you this hiking thing is full of surprises! After lunch, they gave me a ride to town and I was able to get the one and only room available at Trout Lake Grocery. Such a blessing, warm water, flush toilets, and laundry. All my hearts desire.
After a lovely stop at Trout Lake, trail angel George gave five of us a ride back to the trail. It was close to a two hour drive, following dirt roads that were clearly not used often. George had been taking hikers around the closure for the past week. Once we arrived, the rain was the topic of converstation. I hoofed it to my evening camp, which placed me near the Knifes Edge. If you are familiar at all with the PCT, this stretch of Washington is revered as the most scenic and precarious section. But that’s only if you have clear skies and guts of steel. As I was heading northbound, I ran into five hikers who attempted Knifes Edge but we’re only turned around due to winter-like conditions, snow on the trail and virtually a white-out. One hiker slipped and fell, injuring his leg and was limping his way down off the trail. The weather wasn’t looking much better for my approach in the morning, but time would tell. I woke up early to howling wind and mist. My tent was soaked from the night before and I prepared myself for the worst. As I climbed early, the clouds were low and it appeared I was in a cloud bank. The higher I went, the colder and windier it became. Once I hit the glacier, I commandeered a fellow hiker to pair up and attack the mountain together. And thankfully we did. For the next two hours, we scaled the ridgeline, never truly seeing the beauty of the vistas as it was completely covered in clouds. We hunched over to brace ourselves from the pounding wind and sideways rain. Although we did not have snow, we had cold tempatures but Gods complete safety and warmth. Our footing was stable and we had enough adrenaline to stay focused on the task at hand, get off this mountain top! Success, as we made it down, a large Woolley Mountain Goat graced us with his presence. It was Gods sign that we were strong and fully present to his power and divine majesty.
Now safely at White Pass, I think about lessons learned. Gods perfect grace! I have seen his perfected grace in so many places, from the sunny days that have brought us much needed rain, from a deserted roadway that brought me a safe and welcome ride, from a stoney path that brought me stable feet, from a mountain side that was vast and bleak, yet stood a strong symbol of his amazing grace. No matter where I walk, no matter where I go, God’s grace has blanketed me with his warmth, his protection and his infinite direction. God’s grace is immeasurable, eternal, overflowing, perfect, and lavish, yet free! As we walk in his grace, we should never underestimate how purely astounding our God truly is. Undeserved and incomprehensible, yet available. God’s grace is unbelievably amazing!
Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; ’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home. John Newton
8 thoughts on “Cascade Locks to White Pass”
Kelly, Only God could paint such a divine picture. Truly amazing. Thanks for sharing. Hike on.
Great blog Kelly . I pray for you everyday and God has truly answered my prays . Dad
That means so much to me. Thanks Dad. I love you and Mom so much and know, you two are my inspiration. Hugs and kisses …
Thank you for your posts. I have been enjoying them. It is exciting to hear about the Lord providing for your needs on the pct.
Kelly, Love your posts and feel like we are there with you. Hope you received my package at the Kracker Barrel store. It was delivered last Sat. so should have been there. God’s blessings as you journey on and almost finish your trek. Proud of you!!!
Once again you made me cry and lead me to Reconnect with God’s presence around me !
What a Powerful words and Actions you sharing with all of Us. Reading your post, takes me to higher level of gratitude !! Love you !!!!
My sweet Nanhee. God loves you so much and knows your heart. Cannot wait to share with you all that I have seen! Heading home soon!
So appreciated my care package. What a blessing! And fun stuff too.