CDT Day 69: Mile 2856.9 – 2884.6

(27.5 miles – 44 km)

Monday June 24, 2019

‘Oh what a beautiful morning’ I sang quietly this morning to cheer myself a little. Hammer was getting annoyed with me because it was anything but beautiful. It has rained all night and it did not stop while we broke camp. At least it wasn’t overly cold. Putting on wet shoes and socks was uncomfortable but once on, we were ready to hit the wet trail with lot more creek crossings ahead of us.

The lush green undergrowth kept our feet soaked. For the first 4 hrs we hiked through burnt forest with continued steady rain. After Hammer finished telling me about the podcasts he listened to last night I let my mind drift to a more pleasant place then where I was right now.

This wet green landscape reminded me of what Hammer must have experienced in Washington on the PCT in 2016. In my mind I was in Washington on the PCT about to go into Stehikin and the superb Stehikin Pastry Shop. I had warm dry feet, enjoying a coffee and their beyond amazing baked goods. Hammer said he took his mind home standing in the kitchen waiting for lunch to cook.

This section has been our longest food carry so we cut down on our usual food rations to reduce pack weight. So while we are not starving each day we are certainly hungry. Dreaming of food helped to ease the misery and pass the time.

Bill Brysons question of ‘Do bears shit in the woods’ was answered some time ago but on the section today it removed any doubt. For miles we were passing huge piles of fresh grizzlie scats left on trail. It was surprising that we hadn’t seen one yet.

For over 4 hrs we hiked through the burn area on a muddy trail, crossing creeks and a river. It was a nice change to enter a healthy pine forest past a lake for a short period. A very short break in the rain and cloud cover, was our signal to stop for lunch and filter some water. We know know the clouds are playing a cruel joke but we are now over expecting the rain to ever end.

The patch of blue sky lasted long enough for us to finish lunch and dry the tent fly. The clouds rolled back in and the rain returned.

The afternoon hiking was similar to the morning. In and out of burn areas and creek crossings. The rain stopped the sun returned then it rained again. All afternoon it was wet weather gear on and off. Late afternoon we left the National Forest and were hiking towards our planned campsite near a ranger station.

The clouds departed and the sun came out. It was the biggest patch of blue sky we’d seen in a week. It was incredibly energising. We felt like we could hike forever. For a moment I wondered if we entered some parallel universe. We exited the wilderness area and left the bad weather behind.

We made it to the ranger station and were happy to find other hikers camped there. We really shouldn’t have camped there but there have not been many suitable spots. We set up camp and chatted to the other hikers.

And just as we were about to settle the forestry rangers rolled in. What rotten luck. They were nice about us camping where we shouldn’t have and did not kick us out. But I don’t think we’ll be asleep by usual hiker midnight.

The rangers settled the horses and by 9pm as I’m finishing writing this blog they were sitting on the porch, right by where we camped, having their dinner. The horses were not far away hoovering the grass. It was a tough day with an interesting end.