Daily miles – 24
Total miles – 2550
Good night sleep for both of us. We needed it. We could hear the wind blowing in the valley that we hiked up before camp. Good thing we crested and decended a bit before our camp as the wind sounded strong in the previous valley , but we could only here it and feel a slight breeze at our location.
Walking by 6:15am, we were in the cloud. The light was barely enough to see for the first 15 minutes or so (SweetPea using her headlamp and Beardoh not). Over the course of the next two hours, a bit of clouds opened up and we had some views, but not much.
Before long, we were in the trees and headed on a long decent of about 12 miles to the Suiattle River. The decent was wet and muddy from the on and off again rain that we walked through as well as the recent rains over the last few days. The trail was in rough shape for the first 9 miles or so of the decent. Fallen trees from the past several years littered the trail. This section of trail needs some serious lovin’ from trail maintenance crews. Parts of the trail are getting quite overgrown, so the walk-arounds that are created actually end up destroying the edge of the trail. Other parts of the trail were never truly built, so precipitation ruts up the trail pretty aggressively, with few water bars to be found.
Towards the bottom of the decent (with about 3 miles left to go) the quality of the trail maintenance changed dramatically and nearly all downed trees were cleared and the trail was in excellent shape. Thankfully, this was the case for the rest of the day.
We had a quick hot lunch after about 14 miles and sat down with Mt Man, Gazelle, Roadrunner, & Hammer. As we were winding up, Clammy and Swiderman joined us.
The climb up from lunch was a few thousand feet and most of it in a drizzle. At about 3500 feet, the drizzle turned to sleet. At about 4000 feet, the sleet turned to snow and stayed that way till we reached the height of land and then we had small bit of sunshine peering though. It was a beautiful winter wonderland. Sadly, we did not get any photos as our cameras were buried in the dry parts of our packs since it had been raining so much 🙁
We reached camp at the early hour of 5:30. We were all cold, especially our feet. The two of us are camped in the tree-ed annex – a couple hundred yards away from the actual campsite where Gazelle, Roadrunner and Hammer are camped. Mountain Man is camped somewhere else, though we are not sure exactly where…. Probably not too far away. When it is very cold like this (or rainy) , everybody sets up and gets huddled in their sleeping bag and stays there. Not much socializing happens as a result.
Once we were set up in our hammocks, it has taken us both a long time to get our feet warm. We both ate from our hammocks and are very happy to be huddled in the goose down of or quilts.