Shoe Lake

Pacific Crest Trail ~ Trail No. 2000

SEPTEMBER 4, 2010  This hike has been at the top of my "wish list" for the past couple of years, so when the weather forecast predicted a mostly sunny day at White Pass, it was the obvious choice.  I didn't reach the trailhead until 11:30, which is a late start for a 14-mile hike, but I was determined to hike as far as I could before my turn around time.  The PCT southbound from White Pass climbs through a very pretty forest for 2 1/2 miles to the Twin Peaks Trail, and another mile to the Chairlift Trail junction.  Although the woods were pretty, I hoped the trail would break out into views soon.  The woods thin out and the trail wanders through meadows, in and out of the Goat Rocks Wilderness, but the views don't start until you hike about 5 miles from the trailhead.  When the trail finally reaches Hogback Ridge and starts its traverse of Hogback Mountain, the views finally start.  At 6600' the trail climbs a ridge above Shoe Lake, and the snow covered mountains of the Goat Rocks Wilderness come suddenly into view.  Pretty Shoe Lake lies in the basin below, its clear waters a startling turquoise blue.  I only had about half an hour to spend at the lake before my turn around time, so I stayed on the ridge above it, where I had views of Mt. Rainier, Shoe Lake, and the Goat Rocks. 

The PCT is a chatty trail, and I talked with several thru hikers and a few day hikers and horseback riders.  I met a couple who were from near my hometown in Ohio, who told me they wanted to return another time so they could see our mountains.  Being focused on pushing out at least 30 miles a day, they weren't really seeing the scenery.    Two young women hiking together, one from Oregon and the other from Israel, were having a wonderful time, but a young man hiking alone confided that he was tired of being on the trail.  He had about 3 weeks until he reached Canada, and he was looking forward to being inside again.  One obnoxious dog named Bentley cornered me at a switchback while his owner reassured the beast and gave him treats to distract him.    

 14 miles

2800' gain