Day 152 – White Pass to small creek – 15 miles

IMG_1339 IMG_1340 IMG_1336Back to the trail today after a restful day off. It wasn’t raining when we cleared out of our room but it was cold and damp. The clouds were still very low, hiding the upper parts of the ski slopes in white fog. We hung around the store for a bit to get a few last snacks and a cup of coffee before setting off into the mist and inevitable wet.  Dealing with the rain might be our biggest challenge of the whole trip.  The trail climbed gradually as we left the highway and the chilly air became comfortably cool as we warmed up. We hiked through dense, scrubby, piney forest similar to the stuff we’d passed before entering the Goat Rocks.  It was different in the wet weather – quieter and full of muted colors.  Everything was coated in perfect silver beads of moisture. As we climbed the mist began drifting through the trees. We felt closed off, like we were hiking in our own little pocket of silence.  After a while it began to drizzle and we put on our pack covers to protect against the drops falling from the trees.  Gradually it got heavier and we progressed to full ponchos. It was wonderful to have our umbrellas back.  With them strapped to our pack straps, we didn’t need to wear hoods and we could keep the ponchos partially unzipped to help with ventilation.  They even shielded our arms and prevented the inevitable creep of rain up our sleeves.  I’m sure we’ll get the chance to test them in much worse weather, but for the gentle rain we had today they worked like a charm.

IMG_1339As the rain got heavier the trail got wetter.  We started slogging through long patches of slippery mud and avoiding puddles. Before long our shoes were soaked. As it started to get dark – earlier than normal with the heavy cloud cover – we started to look for a campsite. After our last rainy night we knew we had to choose our site carefully and we wanted daylight to scope things out.  We started to climb up a series of gentle (but slippery) switchbacks. We crossed back and forth over a creek that was running down the hillside. Just after the third crossing we spotted a site slightly uphill from the trail. It seemed well-drained, unlike some of the places we’d seen, and sloped gently enough so we wouldn’t be sliding downhill all night.  We set up the tarp first and crawled in to put down the footprint while our packs stayed dry in the ponchos. Then we put up the net inner and threw our packs in.  All in all, things stayed surprisingly dry. We’d hate to soak our gear on the first day out on a section.  It got very chilly and we quickly changed into our dry sleep clothes and crawled into our bags.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a little drier than today, so we’ll hope for the rain to stop overnight.  It might be a little tough to sleep soundly after what happened last time we camped in the rain…IMG_1340

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *