day 130 – the knife edge

I slept so badly. The wind did not stop, and although I was warm and cosy in my sleeping bag the wind was making me feel cold psychologically! My bag was completely over my head, although I couldn’t close the top because I felt like I was suffocating. Every time I woke up I peeked out and looked up at the stars. When I could still see them I knew it was still night time. The stars were magnificent and the milky way kept shifting, like it does. 

I was also worried about creatures. Just before I went to sleep I saw a chipmunk running about right next to me. But, I must have got some sleep because before I knew it, it was morning and I had to force myself out of my bag for the sunrise. Boy it was worth it! 


I was up and packed up in 20 mins (lot to be said for this cowboys camping thing) and on the trail at 6:20am. 

It was half a mile up to the knife edge. The thing I had been most looking forward to for the whole trip. And it didn’t disappoint! I was cold, incredibly windy, steep, rocky, precarious, the views were glorious and I loved every minute. Being above the clouds is always wondrous. 


Lots of ups and downs and the views of Mt Ranier were perfect. As with all things though it eventually came to an end and the knife edge was complete. My hands were like useless stumps they were so cold, they could barely hold onto my poles. But the sun soon did its job and out of the wind I began to thaw out a bit. 

It was downhill from there for 5 or so miles before a cheeky 1500ft uphill and a 5 mile downhill into White Pass. And Washington showed itself in all its glory. We could look back on where we had come from this morning.


I got to White Pass and picked up a package from my colleagues. I nailed the packet of chocolate fingers in under a minute. They left me some lovely messages…


I wasn’t there long – not even enough time to get a soda or a chocolate milk! And Cardboard and Courage said they were heading into Packwood to get food. Real food. I decided to go with them. So we stood out on the road and tried to hitch. At first we got nowhere. But then I made a sign, and when you make a sign good things happen. Firstly the lady who leant me a pen offered a ride for $30 gas money, but we decided to spend a bit longer trying to hitch and two ladies came and picked us up and we rode the 20 miles to Packwood in the back of a pick up (we weren’t allowed inside the car!). 

20 miles in half an hour. Almost the same distance it had taken me nearly 8 hours to complete earlier today!

We split a motel room and I ran into Cypress and Oak who I last saw at Kennedy Meadows where they decided to skip the Sierra. We went for pizza, got clean and did laundry.

18 miles today. I might take a spontaneous day off tomorrow. 


3 thoughts on “day 130 – the knife edge

  1. Hi Alex — I can’t believe you’ve nearly finished! I’ve been reading along from England the whole time and have loved your trail tales and pictures. Was also totally thinking of you — and in awe of the many 20+ mile days when I attempted this feat while walking across Norfolk — yes, Norfolk, that notoriously altitudinous county — one weekend in June… The CA-OR-WA traverse is epic — how amazing to have seen that whole chunk of such an amazing bit of the earth’s surface up so close and have it inside you for ever more (long after it’s out from under your nails…). Enjoy the remaining days!!!! Aly xx


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