22.0 miles (Miles 2438.1 – 2460.1)
Waptus River – Below Piper Pass
I guess after getting through a couple of wet days, you are eventually rewarded, or at least feel rewarded, with a fantastic hiking day. It was sunny, mild-temped, breezy, and the trails went from flat to rolling to gradual switchbacks up to switchbacks down, then repeated a couple of times. We had forest, rocks, ridges and views of far-off peaks dipped in snow. There was a frog, pikas, chipmunks and lots of birds. There were lakes, rivers, streams, and even an adrenaline-pumping river crossing through a deep canyon. I kept getting stopped by all the mushrooms again, and the variety of green shades of moss covering large areas of logs, rocks and ground was pretty, too. Yes, it was a happy day, with the only stuggles being typical things – minor stuff hardly worth mentioning. Wet feet, low water, being on a ridge when nature’s calling… little things like that.
We awoke this morning to soaking wet tents. It didn’t rain, but the air was damp and the condensation thick. It was also downright cold. Nothing was frozen, so it must’ve stayed above 32º, but it had to be close to that. I even woke up a couple of times in the early morning with a shiver.
Once packed up, we hit the trail, and it surprisingly stayed somewhat flat for a couple of miles, just sort of rolling. It wasn’t too long after that, though, and we climbed and started to strip our warm laters off from earlier.
We had a sketchy creek crossing today. It was listed on our maps as a potentially dangerous ford early in the season. Thank goodness it wasn’t any higher than it was. I started across first and I chose a spot that was shallow so I could just walk through. The few spots that looked like potential rock-hopping spots were a little too risky for my taste. I stepped on a log, then a rock that turned out to be slippery, and from there I just stepped in up to mid-calf and waded across. Tears chose the same route, but that slippery rock took her feet out and she slipped, dipped her right butt cheek in the water and bounced right back up and proceeded across. It was a scare, but thankfully there were no injuries and no ruined, soaked or lost gear. After she turned to give the river a warranted “screw off” gesture, she and I head down the trail to a sunny spot where we could dry some gear from last night’s condensation.
The afternoon went by kind of fast, and the trail was fun. I remember ascending, going over a ridge, then descending, then hiking through some gently rolling forest until we got to Deception Creek. We filled up our water here and hiked on another couple of miles with the intention of dry camping. We climbed to Piper’s Pass and over to some beautiful views of jagged and ragged peaks jutting straight into the sky from piles of giant, house-size, white, squarish boulders. A couple of lakes below sat quietly in their teal-blue mountain lake color, and as we hiked I watched their surfaces dance from the wind.
We tucked ourselves into a little spot of our very own high up above the lakes we saw earlier. It’s windy and chilly up here, but we are in dry sleeping bags inside dry tents. It should be a restful night. Tomorrow we hike back into civilization once again.
Tonight I love my foot calluses. They hurt every once in a while, especially when wet, but I think they have made my feet nearly bulletproof. They’re not pretty, but they’ve carried me over 2,450 miles so far! How can I not love them for that!?
And… it took three separate projects throughout the day to create this for my mom’s birthday today. It was fun. I thought of you all day, mom! Love you!
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!