It was cold this morning! Good job we had stayed at the trailhead where there was an outhouse to provide some shelter. Good job too that we were only part way up the hill and had a good climb first thing. As the trail emerged from the woods, frost and ice became visible on the plants and the grit. Nevertheless the sun was shining and the colours of the trees were vibrant. In this section there are the usual evergreen trees lower down, but they are occasionally interspersed with subalpine larches. These are coniferous but deciduous and at this time of year are turning golden, putting bright splashes amongst the deep green near the treeline.
As we stopped to dry out things that had gotten damp during the night, we were passed by Big Fish and Firecracker. They’re hiking in a group with One Step now, and are aiming to hit the border all together. It was good to catch up with them, as I haven’t seen them since Timberline Lodge in the north of Oregon.
The middle of the day took us around the sides of several mountains. The views were wide open across large bowls, up to knobbly boulders and down to forested valleys. It reminded me of the early part of the desert as the trail wound along the hills giving new views around each corner. It was perhaps a little more strenuous than the desert, but nice and easy in contrast to the rest of Washington. At least for a while.
We finished the day with a steep uphill out of Glacier Pass, essentially straight up the side of a short ridge over which the sun was setting. I was glad of the dropping temperature as I worked my way up. Once we got to the top it was a different story, though. With no sunshine and no strenuous climb to keep us warm we needed to resort to hiking faster, but the narrow trail and the steep mountainside limited that possibility. I was glad when we reached a spot where the trail opened out into a flat bowl with clumps of trees indicating a nearby water source.
Just as we turned off the trail to camp we spied Doc and Colin already set up. We had just moments before talked about them, and how good it would be to reach the border with them. We hadn’t seen them in Stehekin but we had only been to the landing briefly and could have missed them. Colin is already eyeing the Continental Divide Trail in a couple of years, an interesting perspective given how close we are to running out of PCT! Hopefully during the next couple of days we will be within a few miles of each other, able to catch up at the monument signifying the northern terminus of the trail and the end of the journey.
Camping: Mile 2624