7:45 pm - We arrive at Mowich and meet 2 guys going night stand up paddling on Mowich Lake. They love String Cheese Incident, proclaim themselves Cheeseheads, and bequeath each of us with our own glow stick necklaces to help us on our trek. We graciously accepted any sort of psychedelic aid.
8:05 pm- Officially on the Wonderland headed N out of Mowich, Sam's glow stick necklace bobbing (Brock saved his for the next night).
8:15 pm - Brock- "I think I forgot to pack any kind of first aid." Sam- "Hmmm, yeah me too. I grabbed it, but then was like, oh Brock has it..." Silence followed as we both mulled over the same thought of "hopefully we won't need it."
8:45pm- We scare a couple who is camping (illegally I might add) directly on the trail near Ipsut Creek. If you're gonna camp illegally, find a cooler spot guys.
Dick Creek- Remember being here a month or so ago doing a photo shoot for TrailRunner mag and Patagonia... moving a good deal slower going up this climb now.
Mystic Lake- I spot cougar eyes glowing amber in the woods. They track me. We move with serious purpose, nervous about Joe Grant's recent episode here.
Late at night- We realize we might not have brought enough clothing. Too cold to stop moving for more than just a moment.
Sunrise Camp- I huddle in the outhouse in an attempt to stay warm while Brock fiddles with a gear issue. The smell of poo is intense.
White River- We're getting really sleepy.
Frying Pan Creek- We hook the iPod up to Brock's speakers and are blaring some of the worst music you can imagine during much of this climb. It scares the bears away though, and keeps us awake.
Summerland- Pure bliss as we stop for a moment to watch the sunrise hit Rainier and paint it pink.
Moments later- Clouds roll in and we never see the mountain again.
Panhandle Gap?- It's very snowy in this section, but not bad with nice boot pack to travel through. Neither of us is really sure which exact spot is actually Panhandle Gap... but we know it's around here somewhere.
Indian Bar- We take a quick break alone in the group shelter and ponder how nice it would be to curl up for a nap. We do not nap.
5 minutes later- My running shorts rebel. I don't know why, but they suddenly start searing my quads as if they're made of acid. My quads are fiery red from whatever is going on, and I roll my shorts up into my shorts liner. I look very stupid, but am far more comfortable now.
30 minutes later- Large hail comes flying down at us for about 10-15 minutes. It burns and knocks down our spirits.
An hour or so later- We bump into a father/son combo hiking. They recognize us as the Triple Threat guys. They're very excited and take our photo. We're excited too, and highly motivated by an ego boost for at least the next few hours.
to Nickel Creek and Maple Creek- We fly down, fueled by our awesome ego boost. Also, it's pouring rain now, and has been since before Indian Bar.
Nickel Creek- Brock is stung by a bee... for the first time ever, and directly in
the buttocks. I pray he doesn't go into anaphylactic shock. He
Maple Creek- We're taking a quick respite from the rain under a tree just off the trail. A gun-packing park marshal stops us and thinks we are breaking many rules. We try to explain ourselves, and she ultimately decides we're ok... but still takes our names and phone #'s just in case. She then joins us as we slog up the climb toward Reflection Lake. She likes Crossfit and the Paleo diet. A lot.
Reflection Lake to Paradise River- We're hurting, and kind of wishing we'd started at Longmire and this was our final few miles. Alas, it is not.
Longmire- We make the turn away from Longmire to continue on the Wonderland, though the temptation of hot food, shelter from the rain, and bumming a ride out of there was great.
Devil's Dream- We are making great time now, and we talk about how much both of us had individually contemplated bumming a ride out at Longmire, but neither of us voiced it. Probably a good thing. We're past the point of no return now. Mowich here we come.
Tahoma Creek- This is unmarked and we're excited that we've already made it to S Puyallup River.
S Puyallup River (3.7 miles later)- We're bummed that now we're actually at S Puyallup River. Oops. Also, night arrives again and our headlamps click back on. This dampens our spirit past our already rain-soaked bodies.
Klapatche Park- Our pace has slowed considerably, and we are in a lot of pain. We begin to realize why people train prior to endeavors such as this. We do rough calculations and figure we may not finish until late Sunday morning.
N Puyallup River- We have a huge burst of energy, and our spirits improve immensely. We fly up the massive climb to Golden Lakes (running essentially all of it), then begin bombing down to S Mowich River. I start doing silent calculations in my head and realize the speed record is amazingly still within reach if we continue this pace.
Switchbacks- the switchbacks coming down to the S Mowich River are mind-numbing. We begin to tire again, and we fear these endless switchbacks might be our final resting place. I recalculate as we slow down, and the speed record isn't going to happen. Oh well.
S Mowich River- We cross I think 4 forks of the Mowich in succession here. On the final crossing, Brock gets very confused, insisting we've turned around and are recrossing a river heading the wrong way. I'm confused too, but convince him we should press on. We've also both been seeing very strange hallucinations all over the place- a VW bug parked in the woods, cartoon characters, etc.
Mowich climb- The climb back up to Mowich (and the end) is about 3 miles. It's steep, and quite a brutal way to end this loop. We suffer and stumble all the way up.
4:30ish am Sunday- We ultimately arrive at Mowich and back at our car in an elapsed 32:33. We are exhausted, and supremely satisfied.
Moments later, I drove us back to Seattle. It was harrowing to say the least, and the amount of caffeine placed into my system was just plain scary.