It was a beautiful blue skied morning as we left the meadow we had camped in. A couple of SOBO hikers came round the corner buzzing from their first bear sighting, but unfortunately it had scarpered by the time we walked past. We climbed up a ridge with southerly views of Mt Adams and soon found ourselves in the bowl of Cispus Pass and Yakima reservation area.

Surrounding us were gnarled ridges and meadow clad slopes leading down to dense forests in the valley below. Hexagonal basalt pillars shot out from our right and formed its own scree slope across the trail. On the other side of the Pass was just pure beauty, this time a grassy bowl with multiple rivers cascading down to the valley and Mt Rainier poking out from behind. Skirting around this bowl and beyond we had views of all three local peaks; Adams, St Helen and Rainier, as well as the silhouetted ridges of the Cascade Ranges with it’s hidden gem coloured lakes.

We began the climb up toward Old Snowy and Knife’s Edge ridge which we would tackle the following morning. We found what could possibly be the most beautiful camp spot on trail thus far. As the sun set between St Helen and Rainier, the horizon dazzled us with its dance of colour once again. That night would bring a clear star filled night above the black figures of the Cascades. This is why we hike.