Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Day 136: Into the cold

9/4: Chief Joseph Pass-2419.5
Miles: 20.1
Total trip miles: 2478.3

Shane came bright and early just like we asked to drive us back to the trailhead, although with the mountains still lost in clouds I was not super excited to be heading back on trail. The rain started partway up the drive to the pass and by the time we were at the trailhead it had turned to snow, at least it wasn't sticking.

We waved goodbye and after a few last minute gear fixes were back on trail. It was mostly flat easy going snowmobile trail, which is nice although not the best way to warm up. The snow started getting heavier and sticking, not the most reassuring start. It snowed for maybe 2 hours and then was solid rain for at least another 2, yippee.

The trail was pretty mellow, with lots of signs which was a bit of a change. Almost the whole day was spent in dead trees, it looked like mostly old burn with new growth coming in. All pretty in its own way.

Town must not have been super restful because during our first break where it was finally not raining I completely fell asleep on the wet ground curled into a ball. Thankfully it was Rest Stop not rain that woke me back up.

Rolling through the burn with the clouds looming it was getting colder and starting to shower again. I was almost at Schultz saddle when I saw a campfire and a mess of car camping tents. It turned out to be some lovely folks from the Bay Area who come out every season and have been helping out hikers for years. They fed me hot stew and we chatted a bit but Rest Stop hadn't stopped and I didn't want him to worry about me in the snowy cold so j declined their offer of a tent and pushed on. Coming down from the saddle there was a lot more snow on the ground and with icy wet feet I found Rest Stop huddled under some trees. We pressed on until we found a nice sheltered spot. No need to climb an extra 400 ft in weather like this, it's all mist and snow putting us to sleep tonight.

Right after we set up the snow starts again, this time complete with thunder. Nothing like some thunder snow to make you feel smug that you've stopped hiking.

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