With just over 10 miles to go we had what should have been an uneventful cruise in to White Pass. This turned out to be anything but uneventful a day, however. We started the day by waking up in a drizzle. Granted, this was not rain by any means, but we didn’t set our tent flies up because the sky was so clear last night that even a drizzle was getting our gear wet. So we packed up quickly and hurried up the trail. We knew we had a bit of a climb to get over the last ridge line before the descent down into the White Pass ski area.
From camp we were cruising along and finally came to the end of the tree line as we neared the top of the ridge. This left us exposed and hiking in a cloud. It wasn’t the worst conditions we have faced on trail but it certainly wasn’t the best either. Visibility was only about 30 feet up there. Finally, we crossed over the ridge top and started to descend down toward the ski area. The plan from there was to hit a marked trail junction that leads to one of the ski lift roads and follow that down to the ski area, cutting out the half mile road walk from where the trail crosses the highway. So I cruised up to the trail junction and sat down to wait for Pie, I tend to end up a little bit ahead after a while. Well, an hour passed and he didn’t come up on me along the trail. I get a little bit ahead, but not an hour ahead. Shortly after the hour mark another hiker that we had passed earlier in the morning came up and I asked her if she had seen Pie. She said she hadn’t and I began to worry about the life of Pie. I remembered seeing a ski lift earlier in morning that you could bush whack to if you wanted to so I guessed that he saw the ski lift and all he saw was food and town and b-lined it for the lift. So I took our originally planned route and followed the nice easy road down to the ski area. I walk into the store where the hikers are hanging out and find Pie already having eaten a piece of pizza and drinking a Gatorade. I guess I need not worry about the life of Pie.
Turned out he DID see the earlier lift and he DID b-line it for the lift and then scrambled down the hill following the lift until he hit the road. It didn’t sound like the easy way I took but it worked, and he didn’t have to wait an hour for his hiking partner on the trail (haha). All in all, we made it into White Pass where we got a hotel room, showers, food and some rest.