Daily Miles: 18
2021 CDT Total Miles: 408
Overall CDT Total Miles: 2481
We had a really nice campsite last night and we all slept pretty good. It wasn’t very fun to put on our wet shoes when we had to get up and pee last night, but at least it didn’t rain anymore over night. Somehow SweetPea’s feet were just as icy cold in the morning as they were when she went to bed the night before…even though she had a pair of possum down socks on and her down booties.
We still started out with our rain gear this morning, with the thought that the plants along the trail could still be wet and would then shed all their water on us as we walked. But in fact, the plants weren’t very wet and we had a nice time walking. We did have to ford several creeks, but our feet were already wet from our shoes, so it wasn’t too big of a deal.
Beardoh saw the first bear of the trip this morning. He was walking in the front of our group and saw a bear walking on the trail ahead. By the time the other two saw it, it was just a blurry flash of black as it ran away. Beardoh figured that it was a small black bear.
The sky was still overcast today, but we decided to do laundry in the morning with the hope that it would be able to dry the the end of the day. The water in the creek was so cold our hands felt like ice cubes after washing our socks and undies. Luckily, we started a climb right after our laundry break, so that warmed us back up.
We had a four mile climb up to Switchback Pass, which was about 2,000 feet above the river valley we had been walking along. The climb was nice and steady and it was really pretty up on the pass. We decided to take an early lunch to enjoy the view. Mace strung up his bear rope so we could hang out our laundry and his tent while we ate.
There were several deer up on the pass who were not afraid of people at all. We have encountered animals like this in national parks, where they aren’t hunted. The deer kept getting close to us and just kind of lurked in the background. Animals acting this way always feels weird to us.
Shortly after we got to the pass, we saw a pair of hikers approaching the pass from the other side. Repeat and Honey are a father/son duo who are doing a flip-flop of the CDT that is probably just as convoluted as the one we did last year. We had a fun time chatting with them and probably could have spent another hour hanging out, but we figured it was time to get going.
As we left the pass, the sky really started to clear and we began to get some great views. Aside from not loving getting rained on, one bummer of bad weather is that we can’t really see the landscape we are walking in. This afternoon, that changed, luckily, and we got some spectacular views. We were really happy to have the chance to appreciate the beauty in this area.
We had a pretty gradual descent back into a river valley. The trail started off pretty rocky and full of roots. You really had to watch your step. But after awhile, the trail smoothed out and it was really pleasant walking for the rest of the day.
We were planning to camp near a ranger cabin tonight. We read some hiker comments which mentioned good camping there. The woods continue to be very thick and overgrown, so it is hard to find a place that would work for both a tent and two hammocks.
About 100 yards before the cabin, there was a river we needed to ford. Our shoes were finally dry by the end of the day, and the thought of getting them soaked right before camp was terrible, so we decided to take off our shoes and socks and cross the river barefoot. Even though it feels like a whole production, it was totally worth it to get to camp with dry feet.