INTO STEVENS PASS
PCT Day 16. Friday July 29, 2022
Mile 2451 + 20 miles today
Total Distance Hiked: 275 miles /440 kilometres
Like clockwork we woke at the same time. A little bit later then we would have liked but its nice to let the body rest for as long as it needs.
We had camped at the bottom of Piper Pass descent in the narrow Glacial Lake valley. And what comes down most go up as we started the slow climb through rocky mountainside to leave the valley. It always surprises me to look back and see where we had come from. No discernable trail could be seen through the granite boulder terrain looking back towards the pass.
Feeling refreshed it was lovely to walk in the cool morning air with the sound of a creek rushing through the valley below. A few sweaty switchbacks and we were on a pass looking down towards another lake Trap Lake. The valley below was bathed in the morning sun and a heat haze was clouding distant mountains.
It was hot, sweaty walking in a silent forest. The trail undulated crossing several remaining snow patches. It feels weird to be walking on cruchy snow while air temperature is approaching 90’s F (high 30’s).
Approaching the lovely Lake Josephine, which we only saw from above it was tempting to take the deviation and go towards the lake. But the mosquitos were a bit of a disincentive. From here we passed a chair lift and got excited that we were approaching Stevens Pass. But it was a chair lift for the back bowl. We still had a devilishly hot climb exposed to the late morning sun to reach the top station for the chairlift before we could start the decent to Stevens Pass.
We had run out of water and all I could think about was an icy cold drink. I just wanted to get out of the sun, it was so hot exposed on the mountainside. It felt like we would never get there. Being a Friday Stevens Pass Resort was a hive of activity with mountain bikers raising sust in the midday heat.
Two icy cold drinks later and we were restored and refreshed. Time to tackle our resupply box which we picked up from the resort. With the heat we’ve been finding it hard to eat so rather then carry food we most likely won’t eat, we left half our resupply in the hiker box. We have plenty to get us to Stehekin. More extreme hot weather is predicted for the coming week.
We waited till 4pm for some cooler weather before leaving Stevens Pass.
We were pleasantly surprised to find the early parts of the trail were cool and shaded. We left Steven’s Pass with Peter from Seattle who was going out for a couple of days of backcountry hiking. The miles flew in interesting conversation. Especially for Hammer who found a kindred spirit in his interest in current American politics.
We got to the Lake Valhalla turnoff and called it a day. The mosquitos were intense which brings a sharp focus to getting the tent up and getting inside. Saved and protected by Big Agnes Hilton one more time.