It was a cold morning once we left camp. It put me in a really bad mood. I had sent home my mittens ages ago and really missed them hiking this morning. It felt like I sent home everything that made camp comfortable so I was unhappy hiking and now unhappy in camp. It took until the sun found me to get out of my funk because once my hands warmed up hiking didn't seem so bad. I had taken some Alive so I didn't hurt and I started to enjoy the day.
We hiked upwards for six miles heading towards Rainy Pass. For over a mile the trail hugged the highway. We could see cars zooming by through the thin screen of trees that separated us from the highway. Finally we came to the road crossing and met up with Bone Lady there and shortly we met up with Cheese. Portrait and I were hoping to find trail magic at the road, but it wasn't to be.
Bone Lady and Cheese stopped in the parking lot to eat some baked goods--I'm still sad I didn't pack out more baked goods. We hiked on, wanting to get to the 2600 mile mark to make a sign and have lunch. Right after leaving the parking lot I spotted a cooler--empty except for crushed cans. Portrait kept an eye on his GPS so we wouldn't go by 2600.
We had collected some berries during the morning to use for our sign. I cleared a spot on the trail when we arrived. Portrait started work on the 2 while I ate a small snack. I made the 6 and right when I finished Bone Lady and Cheese came up. She wondered how many miles we had really hiked by this point. It's probably a couple hundred more. They lingered until the sign was done, took a picture, and hiked onwards. We had lunch there then hiked on.
At Porcupine Creek we stopped to drink up so we didn't have to carry much water. While there we met a day hiker who wanted to know how she could do trail magic. While we talked to her, Buckket joined us and added his opinions. When she left Buckket speed off saying something about caffeine. Tortoise also passed us on the beginning of the climb up to Cut Throat Pass.
At a cute little waterfall where we stopped to drink more water No Amp caught up. We left as she filled her bottle expecting her to pass us soon. We saw a school group coming down from the pass and we passed a weekender couple going up. From one of the switchbacks near the top of the pass I spotted No Amp working her way up.
The day was beautiful climbing up. The sky was so blue-more so than usual I think. There were a lot of yellows against the sky really complementing the deep blue. The smoke had cleared out finally. We could see it peaking over a distance ridge--I hope it stays over there. Without the smoke it was a perfect autumn day.
The top of the pass was stunning. The next ridge was jagged it seemed to cut into the blue sky. Yellow Tamarac trees filled the slope between our ridge and the next one. We found Bucket and Tortoise taking a break and joined them and No Amp showed up not long after.
Everybody trickle away from the beautiful spot to do more hiking. Portrait and I were the last to leave after putting on sun screen. We walked along the shoulder of the ridge still taking in the views. We only had five miles left and it was still early so I didn't feel rushed at all. We have it planned so the last few days of the hike will be shorter and unrushed.
There was a hiker cluster about a mile after the pass. Everybody from the day was there. They had their pads out and shoes off. We didn't really join them. I didn't feel the need for another break--I prefer camp.
The trail took us around to the other side of the ridge--I keep hoping to see Canada (soon I think). We went down a ways all the while seeing the trail high on the next ridge. Finally we stopped loosing elevation and crossed to the other ridge. The climb was so gentle it felt like flat trail. I ate a Milky Way while hiking and taking in the view.
There wasn't water where we were planning to camp so we filled up at a nice little spring to make sure we didn't end up dry at camp. Moments after filling up, Cheese caught up. We were going to let him by, but he said not to bother because we were at camp. I hadn't notice the camping off to my left with a magnificent view of the Cascades. Portrait and I had planned to go another mile to the top of the pass while everyone else planned to camp at the first spot. I knew Portrait wanted to stay, I did too, but that meant 21 miles for the next day. Once I realized how cold it was going to be, I was fine with not going to the pass.
We all had dinner talking about TV and mice. As soon as Portrait and I were done, we put up the tent. I was cold and couldn't wait to get into my bag. We had the tent up, teeth brushed, and in our sleeping bags by 7:15.