After a zero day in Stehekin we were ready to make tracks. The trail was insainly overgrown, at some points you couldn't even see it. We swung our trekking poles like macheties, chopping away at fern and flower. The blowdown was pretty bad too.
Over the next couple days we wound through subalpine forest, past crystal clear rivers and water falls! When we did pop above the tree line we could see what the mountains had in store for us.
SNOW, SNOW, AND MORE SNOW
We knew we would hit some serious snow at some point... We made decided not to go with crampons; instead we went with micro spikes and an ice axe. Our first day of "real snow" included some very large snow fields and steep traverses. We were hoping to make it to Mica Lake because we heard it was beautiful; the lake was still frozen over.
We decided that we would push past the lake, over the next pass, and camp on the ridge that evening. This is where we made our first mistake.
DO NOT HIKE STEEP TRAVERSES AFTER A LONG DAY.
When we came to the top of Red Pass everything looked perfect. We took off our micro spikes and headed along a narrow and steep traverse. Just when we thought we were in the clear, we came across a large stretch of the traverse covered in snow. We threw on our spikes and started to make our way across. We crossed the first large stretch with no issue, but our legs were done...
When we came across a second even steeper traverse, I led the way, trying to kick holes in the soft snow... After 22 miles of fairly serious climbing, my legs shook... A quarter of the way through the traverse my legs gave way and I began sliding down the steep hill side. After a solid 20 foot slide I dug my pole into the snow and gained control. The snow run was nearly 50 feet, so slowly slid to the bottom. Katie continued to make her way across the traverse but slipped herself, gaining control of her slide she made her way down to me. We were very lucky, and learned a lesson... We arrived at our campsite on the ridge right as the sun was setting; we both slept hard that night.
GLACIER PEAK WILDERNESS
The next morning we realized that we were on track to make it to Skykomish by late Saturday. The post office in Skykomish keeps very limited hours and would only be open for two hours Saturday morning. If we stayed at this pace we would miss the the chance to pick up our resupply, forcing us to wait until the post office opened at 11 on Monday. We looked at the maps and knew what we had to do.
We hit lots of snow that day, but nothing nearly as bad as the day before. We were making good time. After 21 miles we decided we could push hard and do 7 more. We hiked into the night setting up camp in the dark. We set an alarm for 3:30am and crashed hard.
We had 10 miles to go. It was dark, freezing, and our socks were wet; I threw together a fire to dry out our socks while we broke down camp and made breakfast. We were back on the trail by 4:45 and at the Steven's Pass by 8:30.
The town of Skykomish is 16 miles away from the pass and the post office closes at 10 am on Saturdays. We knew it would be close... As we walked towards the highway a short bus, and van pulling three white water rafts arrived. We struck up a conversation, and asked if they wouldn't mind dropping us off in town. Twenty minutes later we were in Skykomish.
We picked up our resupply box and made our way to the Cascadia Inn for a hot breakfast. We knew that the Dinsmores, local trail angels, lived about 10 miles out of town so we were hesitant to head that way. We figured we would head to the laundromat and figure out what we were doing. On our way to clean clothes, a truck swerved towards us. The window rolled down, and the driver asked "what y'all doin?" In the truck, Jerry Dinsmore and his accomplice Whistler. They told us not to worry about laundry, we could do it at their place. Things couldn't have gone smoother. We stayed two nights in their bunkhouse, socializing, watching movies, and eating pizza!
STEVEN'S PASS TO SNOQUALMIE
Wildflowers and more wildflowers!
We have been so lucky to catch wildflowers at their peak in both the desert and the Cascades.
The weather has been amazing. We have had maybe two full days of overcast. For the most part the weather has been warm and sunny. This means less snow, and impressive waterfalls.
SHOES, POLES, & BURGERS...
Unfortunately, I lost one of my tracking poles during one of these fast moving crossings. In need of new shoes, and now new poles we had to adjust our plan. Snoqualmie was too small of a town to find that sort of gear so we hiked over to to highway 410 and hitch hiked into Yakima. The folks that were kind enough to give us a ride took us to Miners Burger, which makes the largest burgers I've ever seen! We demolished them.
Ok, we are now somewhat caught up. I hope we can stay that way!