Daily Miles: 20
Total Miles: 2526
It was a rough night last night with the rain. It continued to rain until nearly morning. Beardoh kept getting the drip from his tarp onto his hammock. This kept him up as he tried to figure out a solution. Finally around midnight, he rigged up something with his hiking pole and a plastic bag. This seemed to do the trick and he was finally able to get some sleep.
When we woke up, everything just felt so damp. We decided start late so that we could at least pack up in the light. It was nice to get out of the clammy sleeping bag, but it felt wrong to then stuff it into our plastic liner bags in our backpack.
We headed out just after 7:00am and noticed right away that the trail seemed to have dried up quickly in the morning. There were no longer giant puddles in the trail, and the ground was not so slippery and muddy.
We had a steady climb for the first half of the day. We found an open spot with some sun to dry out our wet gear. Beardoh inspected his plastic liner bag for his backpack and found multiple holes. We weren’t too surprised since his gear was so wet at the end of yesterday. A fellow hiker, Navigator (we’ve been leapfrogging with him since the beginning of Washington), gave Beardoh some sticky patches to close up the holes. Hopefully this will mean dry gear for Beardoh (although, really we just hope it stops raining).
We ate an early lunch while our gear was drying out. Once we headed on down the trail, Beardoh stopped to take a picture of a lovely meadow bursting with fall colors. As he was taking the photo, he realized that there were three bears in the meadow…a mama bear and two cubs. For SweetPea, with her poor long range vision, they just looked like moving blobs, but it was still our first bear sighting of the trip!
By mid-afternoon we got to the top of our big climb. The trail then headed down 3,000 feet along many switchbacks. Beardoh remembered that this section had some snowy and sketchy sections in 2012, but luckily the trail was totally snow-free.
It took us awhile to get all the way down. Partway down, you could look across the valley and see the many switchbacks we had to go up for 2,000+ feet of elevation once we got to the bottom of the descent. Even though we are constantly going up and down mountains, we rarely have it laid so clearly in front of us.
Although the weather was fairly good during that day…dry with ominous grey clouds passing by, it took a turn for the worse near the end of the day. We ended up getting rain for the final hour and a half of walking. Looking at the situation from the point of view of the “glass half full”, we were glad that so much of the day was dry, but on the other hand, it was really annoying to get rain when we were so close to finishing the day!
By the time we got to camp, it was 7:30pm. With the storm clouds, it got darker much earlier than normal. We ended up both having our headlamps on as we walked into camp. MountainMan had arrived to camp at least 30 minutes before us, and had scouted out some great hammock hang spots. It was really helpful to have that info, so that we could just start setting up right away instead of looking around for a spot.
We hung our hammocks across the trail from MountainMan, Gazelle, RoadRunner and Hammer. We were pretty chilled once we had everything set up, so we just ate dinner in our hammocks and went to sleep.
Tomorrow will be an early start as we want to do more miles in order to better position ourselves for getting into Stehekin. It is still raining now, but we are hoping it will clear up for tomorrow. Walking in the cold rain is no fun.