Daily mileage: 25 (plus 2 much needed bakery miles)
I couldn't very well leave Stehekin without one more stop at the bakery so Caveman and I walked over when they opened at 7 am. That way I had an hour to drink some coffee, eat too much, and enjoy the atmosphere before hopping on the morning shuttle and heading out. What a great start to the morning.
Waved goodbye to Caveman and Wrong Way and off I went. I chatted with folks on the shuttle and by the time I actually started hiking around 9:30 I found I had picked up a section hiker named Dan. That's okay, company isn't always a terrible thing.
So away we went, towards the old washed out road (okay okay it's not the official PCT route but it mirrors the trail, just next to the river and I wanted to see it). First bit was beautiful and easy, then we hit the unmaintained bit, some interesting rock scrambling and climbing but I stayed dry.
The rock climbing and overgrown trail started to get old so about 4 miles in we found a side trail that took us back to the PCT. At which point I lost Dan because I decided as nice as company is I really prefer mostly hiking alone, particularly this section. Not that I think I will come to any mind blowing epiphanies hiking alone, I just wanted the time to think, reflect, and just zone out without feeling the need to entertain anyone with small talk.
Then it was 12 or so miles of a rolling climb, following rivers up valleys and staring at clouds. Pretty sweet.
First cache I've seen in ages right before Rainy Pass. Regardless of what's in them you gotta love a trail cache, they always make me smile.
Crossed the highway at the pass and then it was time for one more 2000 ft climb up towards Cutthroat Pass. Man this has been a crowded section, but it's fun talking gear and trail, especially with people who are so excited about it.
This area is so beautiful, mountains and clouds are hard to beat as far as I'm concerned, throw in a sunset and you're golden.
Up and over cutthroat pass, the wind was whipping and the scenery was outstanding.
I could have kept going but it gets dark so early lately and it was such a great view I figured why not. Plus it was so cold. 42 degrees with wind when I started setting up the tent and 39 by the time I was done. Maybe those extra 1 or 2 miles would have been nice but right now snug in my sleeping bag warming my numb fingers I don't mind that it's still light out and only 8. Now to make dinner and not freeze my fingers off in the process.
55 miles to the border...
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