WA PCT Section J – Part II, Day 2 -A little rain and a little ford

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Saturday, August 11, 2018
Part II, Day 2. Miles hiked: 13.5. Elevation gain/loss: +3560/-4035.
Just shy of Trap Lake (WACS2453) to somewhere above Hyas Lake (WACS2440)

(The pictures are here)

I wake at the usual time – around 6:20 – to misting from a cloud. A bit of water condensed both inside and outside the tent. I hope the misting outside lessens, but it continues so eventually I get going, pack up my soggy tent, and head up the trail to make breakfast in a drier spot. I hike inside the cloud that envelopes the mountains. I pass those 3 guys who came by last evening, who hammocked not too far away. Under a tree I find a small spot to make my coffee and cook my oatmeal. Nobody passes by as I eat my breakfast.

I continue past the unmarked trail for Trap lake, then up, up, up the hill. And down, down, down to the Surprise Lake and Glacier Lake area. I chat with a guy who had struggled up that hill and plans to spend the day at Glacier Lake. I run into an old sprightly foreign man who tells me that he already had some rum this morning. A few more hikers go by. I stop to poop at the Glacier Lake toilet and get mobbed by mosquitos and try to make it snappy. Lots of folks passing by or camped in this area.

I pass an abandoned trail through Surprise Gap and enter a landscape of barren rock and marmots. Stark in it’s beauty and contrast. Talk with a chatty hiker. Up, up to Piper Pass where I take a lunch break. I’m still surrounded by cloud, but it’s starting to lift. Down, down, down 5 miles. Just after Deception Lake I stop at a campsite to air out my stuff to dry, but largely fail because a) it’s cloudy and b) I’m in a forest filled with shade. After 30 minutes and the threat of rain I pack up and hit the trail. Within minutes it starts to rain. I don my rain jacket. More rain. I don my rain pants. More rain. Past Deception Pass. The rain lets up and the sun sort of begins to shine. The rain has kept the temps cool so I can’t complain too much.

Stream crossing. Then to the ford. I get my feet wet but manage not to fall in, so it’s a successful crossing. I see 3 other hikers further downriver crossing in what looks like a much more difficult spot. I give a trail runner the crossing beta as he passes. Filter water. Eat a bar. I’m really digging the nut-butter-filled and smoothie-filled Clif bars right now. Up, up above Hyak Lake to CS2440 on the Halfmile maps. There’s supposed to be a seasonal stream, and while I can hear water above and below, there’s none to be found. I set up camp anyway – early, it’s 4:30pm – but it’s a good secluded spot, semi-shielded from any more rain by the forest, with opportunity for others to camp nearby. Dry camp, but I have enough water to make dinner. And I don’t feel like hiking another 6 miles, so call it at 13.5 for the day.

I set up my tent and hang my clothes to dry. Take my time. Write. Read. Cook my ramen with tuna (Nong shim plus the no-salt-added fancy tuna makes for a tasty pairing). I clean up and listen to an episode of the Cascade Hiker podcast about the UPNorth Route (a hiking couple is linking the PCT, PNT, Idaho Centennial Trail, and Oregon Desert Trail). I hear others up the way which means they’ve set up camp nearby, which makes me feel a little more comfortable. Between the busy trail with lots of other hikers and the CBD oil I have, I’m feeling more and more comfortable sleeping solo out here.

I read for a while and formulate my plan for tomorrow: 15 ish mile goal. Off to sleep…

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