Thursday, October 20, 2016

Deer Lick Camp to Canadian Border

Canada and the end of the trail. 

Slept in today, figuring that there weren't too many miles to go before the border and also putting off packing up in the steady rain that had been falling all night. 

It turned out that I set up partially in a dip that turned into a puddle with the falling rain, so the foot end of my tent was sort of a water bed. Happily, my inner tent kept the water out so I stayed mostly dry, the only water that got to my sleeping bag was condensation on the inside of the tent that got knocked off by the splattering of rain drops on the outside of the tent. It's a phenomenon that seems to happen with tents made of silicone impregnated nylon. I guess water doesn't cling to it very well. Other waterproof nylons don't seem to have the same issue of water getting sprayed off the inside of the tent. 

Sherlock and Sunshine were still packing up when Mighty Mouse and I headed out. 

We passed a few of the other PCT hikers who were on the same alternate as we were as they were breaking camp. They passed us a few miles later. 

The trail was in good shape with only a few blown down trees. Plenty of water in some spots, but it was our last day. 
The trail came back out to Ross Lake and emerged at a cabin where several hikers were hanging out on the porch. 

Mighty Mouse, Aviator, Kodachrome and I walked down the road together and found Tim waiting at the border. Not mush to the border, a survey marker and signs for the respective parks on each side. There was a monument obelisk up a steep slope in the clear cut strip that runs along the border. Across the lake the clear cut was visible going up and over the mountains. 

A bit later Domestix, Blue Bird, Speedy and Saint Nick made it to the border. 

Tim drive those four about ten miles down the road to a spot with more parking lots and more traffic so they would have a better chance of getting a hitch out the 30 more miles to town. 

Sherlock made it next and then finally Sunshine made it to the border. After a few photos, Tim returned and six hikers piled into the SUV, our packs on the roof. We drove to Hope, BC and directly to a pizza place. 

The hike was over, finished. 

I will probably write a reflection piece some time, but right now I am nearly home. 

I stayed with relatives in Vancouver for a few days, sight seeing and visiting. 

On Tuesday I caught an Amtrak bus to Seattle and then boarded the train to Los Angles. If you haven't travelled by train and have the time, I'd recommend it. But get a sleeper car room if you can. The seats are fine and sleep is possible, especially in business class, but a flat bed would be better. 

Looking forward to whatever life brings next.


The last day begins!






Tim and Kodachrome and Aviator










Sunshine!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday, October 19

East Bank trailhead to Deer Lick camp. 

Not quite sure how many miles I hiked today, somewhere around 20. We are off the PCT route now, piecing together a way to Canada that doesn't involve slogging through snow in the high mountains. 

Instead we are following the eastern side of Ross Lake, a 30+ mile long lake who's northern end encroaches into Canada. 

The trail is in good shape, not too many blow downs to cross, and a couple impressive suspension bridges. 

Part of the trail today was along the route of the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT). That trail goes from Glacier National Park in Montana to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, 1200 miles or so. 

If all goes well, this should be my last night of camping on this trip. I am not going to finish at the traditional PCT terminus at Monument 78, but at this point I don't mind at all. Just give me a border, a finish line.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday, October 17

Turned back at mile 2591 

Started out up the trail from Rainy Pass and only made it three miles before the snow was about a foot deep. We were still three miles from the top of our first pass, and had about a thousand feet of elevation gain to go. I heard a small avalanche somewhere above the woods the trail was in, no danger from that snow slide, but that combined with the increasing snow depth convinced a couple of our companions that they wanted to turn around. 
Mighty Mouse and I decided to turn around as well, so we hiked back down the trail, passing back out of the snow to slush and rain at the trailhead. 
Back to town to contemplate the future and finding a safe route to Canada.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday, October 14

Highway 20 / Mazama

Woke up late at our camp at Six Mile Camp. Decided last night that with just 8 miles to hike, we could sleep in a bit instead of packing up in the dark.

The rain kept going all night, with a tiny bit of snow thrown in. Walking today was good for a while, then as the trail gained elevation toward Rainy Pass and highway 20, the slush got more and more frequent on the trail. The last couple miles were basically squishing through two inches or more of slush with every step.

Saw big cat prints alongside the trail, going in the opposite direction for about a mile.

At some point my phone quit working, so not too many pictures today.

Had some nice log bridges today, trail crews took the time to flatten the tops of the logs, which helped a lot since in a couple cases Mighty Mouse, Jazzman and I were the only ones to have crossed them since the snow fell.

We met Tim at highway 20 and are now clean and dry and well fed in a lodge in Mazama. If you ever pass through here, make time for a stop at the Mazama Store, a pretty upscale place for a little town with quite a selection of food. I bought some Emmentaller cheese because the picture on the package is of the old Swiss chalet that I visited a few years ago.

There is supposed to be a lot of rain tomorrow, so Mighty Mouse and I are going to wait and see what happens up in the mountains. Hoping that there is not too much snow accumulation.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thursday, October 13

Six Mile Camp, PCT mile 2581

Late last night I heard a couple hikers pass by our camp. Turns out that Sunshine and probably Politics passed us and managed to get the bus this morning to Stehekin. Hopefully Sunshine is able to figure out something for her tent, it isn't much without poles or stakes.

The rain started sometime last night and kept going all day. When I got out of my tent this morning there was snow on the ground nearby. I was mostly in the shelter of a tree, so no snow on my tent. Keep in mind that the elevation at that campsite is supposed to be 2751 feet, so quite low.

We passed into the North Cascades National Park. We stopped for lunch at a ranger station, but I think the rangers are done for the season. We used their small from porch for lunch out of the rain. We ran into three hikers who had just gotten the bus from Stehekin back to the trail. They were going to try to make it to the border in three days. Starting with a 35 mile day today. That was at 11am. Good luck HR, Lt Dan, and Snooze Button.

We hiked on 8 more miles, opting not to go into Stehekin, which is a town on Lake Chelan that is only accessible via boat or sea plane or hiking.

Instead we are camping at 3100 feet next to a creek under a big tree with rain falling on us, and the occasional clump of snow falling from the tree onto our tents.

Jazzman showed up at this campsite a little while ago. He was a couple days ahead of us, but I guess he had a hard time leaving Stehekin.

Laying in my tent now, listening to rain fall on the nylon. My tent is pitched under a big tree on bare ground, but most of the ground around that isn't under a similar tree was snow covered when Mighty Mouse and I got here. It will be interesting to see what things look like in the morning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday, October 12

Swamp Creek, PCT mile 2561

Hiked all day and Mighty Mouse and I didn't see any other people.

Started out with a seven mile climb back up to around 6000 feet. The snow from a couple days ago was still on the trail.

Interestingly, even down at 3000 feet there are areas with frost and frozen ground. These seem to be at the bases of rock slides or sometimes steep valleys. I think it is the lack of trees to stop the cold air that slides down the mountains.

Had one unexpected challenge. A sizable creek ford. There were fallen trees, but all looked difficult, so off with the boots and socks. Rolled up my pants and froze my feet. Water was almost knee deep and coming from snow melt and glaciers. Very cold, past the point of pain.

Took a couple miles of walking for feeling to return in my toes.

Camping tonight next to another stream. Rain is predicted, which won't be fun. We shall see how it goes.