7.22.16 South Puyallup to North Puyallup - Traci McGowan

Well... it started to rain last night. We had to pack up in the rain and our tents are soaked. By dropping my tent under the rainfly I was hopefully able to keep the inside a bit dry. Then, we hiked in the rain which I don't actually mind that much other than it robs us of some spectacular views. The day started with quite a climb but it was very long switchbacks and wasn't too bad. Maybe I'm getting acclimated to 2000 foot climbs everyday! We climbed about 2000 feet up to Andrew's Park and St. Andrew's lake which was beautiful in the fog. Will definitely need to return here in the sun. We were so socked in so there were no views of the mountain which makes me sad because I hear that they are incredible. We then continued to climb to Klapatche Park and Aurora Lake. Again, beautiful but no views. The Avalanche Lilies in both Andrew's Park and Klapatche were so thick it was unbelievable. Then we started down. Today was switchback day. These were scary switchbacks traversing a very steep valley wall. The trail was only a couple of feet wide with a sheer drop off on one side. I'm a little panicky still. We did come to a small snow crossing. Again, Dick make really good steps for me and I made it across. We both cried when we made it. Finally letting out some of the tears from Panhandle Gap. I had to suck it up though because we still were going down. I had started thinking about a man we met near Sunrise who was hiking in the opposite direction. I thought it strange that we hadn't seen him yet when low and behold - he came around the corner! His name is Paul and he's from Fairbanks, Alaska and he looks like Santa. Definitely a mountain man. We continued down the sketchy switchbacks for what seemed like an eternity. We saw lots of elk poop. We arrived at North Puyallup Camp in the rain. What a cool place! There is still evidence of a road and bridge that used to be here. Walls still in place. There are at least 3 waterfalls that join into the river and the river is gushing through bedrock walls under a foot bridge. The group camp is on the west side of the river and the rest of the sites are across the foot bridge. The sites are just basic sites under the trees. Not the most exciting camps. We set up our tents in site #1 in a break from the rain (yay!) and then went to sit by the river. The sky began to lighten and there were actually patches of blue but the fog and mist just wouldn't leave. I vowed to sin on a rock until the came out and it actually did for just a bit. They sky is still trying very hard to come out. We sat and talked with a hiker from Texas (never got his name, just called him Texas) for quit awhile. Interesting guy. We filtered water, ate dinner (beef stroganoff for both) and are now tucked in our tents praying for sun. Tomorrow is our last full day of hiking. Missing my boys of course but really enjoying this adventure. Miles hiked = 6.7. Total miles hiked = 76.8