PCT Day 15. Thursday July 28, 2022
Mile 2430 + 21 miles today
Total Distance Hiked: 275 miles /440 kilometres
What a pleasure it was to break camp without mosquitos for company. It was a beautiful cool morning, sound of rushing water from Spade Creek nearby and pines soaring to the sky around us. Marmots whistle sounded like a slow snore somewhere in the distance. As we hiked away from camp the happy sound of birdsong echoed through the trees. It was simply beautiful.
We both felt great as we left camp this morning. When asked how he felt this morning Hammer said ‘good” when pressed he agreed ‘maybe great, there were no mosquitos’.
It didn’t take long for sweat to start to break and the coolness of the morning gave way to a humid warmth. We walked above Waptus Lake but did not so much as a glint of its emerald green waters.
From the lake the trail ascended though Spinola Creek valley. There was a beautiful cool breeze blowing as we slowly made our way up. It was great to see that that trail crews have been through and cleared much of the fallen timber. Seeing the size some of the trees it’s hard to imagine the forces have caused such extensive damage. The creek roared, the birds sang and we hiked on.
As we climbed to top of Spinola Creek and Spinoka Lake outlet the valley widened to to a soggy meadow, and with soggy meadow came thousands of blood hungry suckers. We took our shoes off to cross Spinola Creek. If we’d know what was in store later in the day we would not have bothered. The second crossing of Spinola Creek was on a log jam. The whole time we were being eaten alive.
Could not get away from Spinola Creek fast enough. This made for a a very quick ascent towards the ominous looking Cathedral Rock which was looming above us. We were still fresh and it felt like we reached the base of the rock in no time.
The day was warming up as we headed away from Cathedral Rock. In the heat of the day the forest smelt divine, a sweet berry scent.
Today was shaping up to be a good day. We planned to stop for water and lunch at Cascading Creek shown on our map in a few miles.
We got there around midday to find a wall of water cascading down a narrow channel in the mountain before spreading out right where the trail crossed the creek. Another couple was about to cross downstream and a group of college kids had just crossed, so we didn’t have to guess where the safe crossing was located. We walked across a tangle of fallen logs to get downstream.
The crossing did not feel as bad as it looked. The creek was running full and had some power but not quite sweeping your legs from under you. Definitely a shoes on crossing. We heard later in the day that a hiker fell at this crossing and got quite banged up, losing a shoe in the process. We chatted to the other couple for a little while after crossing the creek. Bill and Barbara were section hiking from Ollalie Lake in Oregon to Stevens Pass. Barbara has a sister married to an Australian and living just south of Sydney.
From here there were many more seasonal streams crossings. They were all flowing strongly which meant crossing with shoes on. We had wet feet for the rest of the day. This was not so bad as it was a hot day and got hotter in the afternoon. With pickled feet we hiked up the very pretty Piper Pass. We had the afternoon sun beating on our back and it was baking hot. The views back from here of Cathedral Rock and snow covered peaks on the other side were pretty spectacular.
It was late afternoon when we reached the top of the pass.
Fantastic view of Glacier Lake down below. As we started to descend toward the Lake it was like stepping into another climate. Snow was still hanging in there on this side. We dropped down to the lake and camped at a site that looks like it’s just been uncovered from the winter snow. It was so nice to get wet socks and shoes off and get horizontal.