Tent site – Bridge Creek
21.1 miles. 2217ft up. 5878ft down.
I woke in the night needing to wee. The first time on the trail. The moon was so bright that you could see clearly. Everything was lit up. I tried out some night photos with my GoPro:
Around 5am I heard some rustling. I think Jackie was starting to pack up. Too early for me so it went back to sleep. I wake again at 6:30 and peer out my tent. Jackie had gone and Catwater is about to leave. Scott still seems fast asleep in his butterfly wing tarp.
I pack up and get going at 7:10, leaving Scott in peace to sleep in. It was freezing so I had all my layers on and gloves and hat. The trail follows the contour of the mountains, along a sometimes sketchy path, until the climb to Cutthroat pass begins. I was feeling good this morning and I blazed down the trail. That’s just sometimes the way it is.
I took a moment to assess my appearance. My hair has actually probably looked worse at home! I ran into a northbounder, who told me there were som bad blowdowns south of rainy pass.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was brilliant blue, I was soon delayering and within an hour I had caught up to the Nearly Deads.
There were a few small snow fields to cross but nothing bad. We were soon at the top of the climb and we took some time to appreciate the incredible views. This areas really is breathtaking. It is also nice to be with people who haven’t seen it before, you sometimes become a little desensitised to the beauty and blaze through areas with your head down. But hearing other people’s awe and wonder makes you think about where you are.
With the climb out of the way it was pretty much all downhill for the rest of the day, almost all downhill to Stehekin.
The views were just as beautiful on the other side of the pass and I took hundreds of pictures that all look the same! I came to where we camped last year – in the snow – it looked a bit different today! I filled up on water and waited for the others. It’s hard to believe that I went from here to Harts pass in one go last year, it seems like such a long way!
Catwater and I walked the rest of the way together, chatting about all sorts and negotiating a few blowdowns. And before we knew it we were at rainy pass. And there was a pit toilet! I made my second deposit in seven days. That’s not good! We sat in the only shade there was and waited for the others. We were surprised that Scott hadn’t passed us yet, he obviously isn’t an early riser! We knew there wouldn’t be any trail magic there but a small bit of us was hoping. Not only did we not get any trail magic we got totally ignored by everyone! A handful of people came to read the notice board but said absolutely nothing! One family got out their car, geared up, set off, and 10 minutes later they were back in their car and driving off!
We had lunch, well the others had lunch – I had a dry cracker and a flapjack – and it was only midday. We wanted to do at least 8 more miles, ideally 11 more. We would do the 8 and reassess. We carried on down the trail, descending into the valley and it was hot. Patches of hot muggy air and lots of overgrown vegetation. The sun and the blue sky is lovely but man it was hot. I think I have drunk more today than all the other days combined!! A few log crossings broke up the endless overgrown trail. There were a few blowdowns but nothing bad. That guy heading north is in for a shock!
We came across some freshly cut logs, still sawdust everywhere, this made me so happy. Catwater was having a break and blended into the woods so as I walked by and she moved I jumped out of my skin! We were discussing park rangers when one showed up. We thanked her for the trail maintenance and she said she would pass on the message to the trail crew from two crazy pct hikers.
We did the 8 miles with just the one break. We were trucking along at a good pace, enjoying the views. I’m not sure if I mentioned this yet but, it was so hot, I dipped my hat in the streams as we went by which provided some relief, but within about 5 seconds – no exaggeration – it was dry again. Stupid quick drying technology! We reached 6 mile camp – our 8 mile destination – which was a tenth of a mile off the trail. We went down to check it out and it was full with a youth camp. We didn’t really want to camp with a big group of teenage boys so we filled up on water and left a note for Dan and Jackie to let them know we were carrying on. They both have sore knees so I’m not sure they will carry on from there. This is the furthest they have been on a backpacking trip and they are doing so brilliantly.
The mosquitos aren’t really a problems here. But the flies. The flies are something else. They bite. The nasty little buggers. And they buzz incessantly around your ears. They were getting on my last nerve.
We carried on. Only 3 more miles. Which we did in an hour. But oh man my body was feeling it. My feet. My legs. My left shoulder. Ouch. The first mile I did really quickly, we crossed the impressive but wobbly bridge, the second mile I crawled and the third mile I practically ran. The quicker I get there the quicker the pain will stop. Plus the weather felt like it was closing in.
I reached the camp site and there was no sign of Scott who was ahead of me. We saw some bear poo on the trail, and when Scott realised he had gone too far and turned around to come back, he saw a little black bear. Uh oh. There is a bear in the area. We made sure we camped close together.
I went up the hill to visit the pit toilet. Perched high above the campsites and completely open!
On my way back it started to rain. Bugger. Luckily we had all pitched our tents and got water so I ran down the hill and launched myself in my tent. I was so hot that I stripped to my underwear and lay on the floor of my tent, very aware of the throbbing in my legs and feet. I tried raising them to make them feel better. I inspected my suspected sunburnt face the only way I could. With a selfie. I have definitely had too much sun today! I lay there until I started to feel a chill and quickly layered up so I didn’t get cold.
I then did everything you aren’t supposed to do when there is a bear about. I cooked dinner in my tent and ate in my tent. I was very careful though. I had couscous and string cheese. It was pretty revolting but I ate every last scrap. I was hungry. I wrapped everything up in my food bag, and put it inside my rucksack and prayed the bears don’t like to come out in the rain.
I’ve done a pretty good job of convincing myself that bears hate rain, and they are all huddled together in their cosy little caves, so no one go telling me otherwise! The river is roaring which drowns out a lot of sound, so I won’t hear a bear coming anyway. Probably the best way.
A massive bolt of lightening illuminated the tent, followed quickly by a long rumble of thunder. I hope dan and Jackie did stay at the youth camp and aren’t out in this. As I’m lying in my tent typing this I have one side of my body on my mat and one side on the ground trying to cool off. I’m unusually warm – it must be the sunburn. I also think something stung me on the thigh. It’s sore.
We finally broke the 20mile barrier today. I feel wonderful and completely broken at the same time. Hopefully it will start getting easier from here!
Tomorrow we hit Stehekin, we are aiming for the 12:30 bus so we get there for lunch time. Mmm. Real food.
It’s getting rainier, I’m getting hotter (we are 4000ft lower than we were last night) and it’s close to hiker midnight so I’m struggling to keep my eyes open.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.