If you’re into wilderness backpacking and you have not been to the Goat Rocks Wilderness of Washington State, you’re missing out. It is potentially the best backpack I have ever been on (and that includes the one I did in Patagonia, Argentina!). Here, you’ll find long-distance hikers trekking along the Pacific Crest Trail, endless mountain vistas, vast expanses of alpine wildflowers that seem endless before your eyes, and incredible views of glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and even frozen lakes.
Time of Year: Due to the elevation of the Goat Rocks Wilderness, it is recommended to begin your backpack in July. Otherwise, many mountain-side traverses will still be covered in snow and additional safety equipment will be required.
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Wayna Picchu (sometimes spelled “Huayna”) is the name of the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu. Many people don’t know that you can hike to the summit of this mountain. I didn’t know until I happened to stumble across it somewhere on the internet, and contacted the company that I hiked the Inca Trail with to find out about the permit required to do this.
On the Inca Trail, night number three was an early night. Not necessarily because we were all so tired (although we were), but because we planned on waking up extremely early on the morning of Day Four. At the beginning of the Day Four hike, you first have to pass through a gate where Peruvian officials check your Inca Trail tickets one final time with your guides before letting you pass. This gate opens at 5:30am, but the problem is that every person at campsite three with every possible Peruvian adventure company has to pass through this gate. Naturally, a ridiculous line forms.
On the morning of Day Three, the porters woke us up at 6:00am, a whole half-hour later than previous days, as a reward for completing Day Two. That morning, we did the usual packing of our bags, drinking coca tea, eating breakfast, and talking about what was yet to come for the day ahead of us.
They call Day Three “the most beautiful day on the Inca Trail.” Snow-capped mountains, beautiful vistas, brilliantly colored flowers with hummingbirds constantly hovering over them, and dense jungle, will all be encountered during this hike. But as a trade-off, this day is also the longest day on the Inca Trail.