Twig Adventures

Day 5: A mountain marathon

July 10th, 2018

Harts Pass mm 2622 to mm 2595

Distance: 27 miles

Today was a good day for a marathon. I had taken it easy the day before, I got an early start, and it was cold and cloudy all day, prompting me to keep moving just to stay warm.

It was drizzling when I began packing at 5 am and didn’t let up until about 8 am. It was also foggy. I was on the trail by 6 am, despite the rain. With the umbrella, I don’t mind as much having to set out in the rain.

A gradual climb warmed me up, but still I left my rain jacket and skirt on well into the afternoon. Actually, I never took my jacket off all day and wished I had more layers, it was that cold and cloudy. Much of the morning was spent looking at the inside of a ping pong ball. It was especially disorienting crossing some large snow fields in the fog.

There was a long descent into a valley and then miles through overgrown bush. All the vegitation was saturated with rain water and shortly, so were my shoes. Well, I made about 3 days with dry feet.

I had passed one guy mid-morning and then a couple around noon. Otherwise, the trail was desolate. I took a short lunch break at 1 pm and was overtaken by the guy, Zeek, that I had caught earlier. This was a good thing since I was able to follow his footprints in the snow later in the day.

There was more climbing to depart the valley and gain Methow pass, then a long traverse that had very steep, washed-out sides. This trail wouldn’t be fun if one were afraid of heights and narrow ledges but I really enjoyed the section.

I was already over 20 miles for the day at this point and my feet were really hurting. No blisters, just soreness from all the rocks on the trail and overuse. I slogged up a bunch of switchbacks to Granite pass, having to scramble over some big snow mounds. Then I rounded the corner to see a long traverse to Cutthroat Pass, covered by some wide snow fields. This was another part I had been warned about by Ratchet, where he had been turned around already. I was hoping the snow would have all melted by now but instead it looked sketchy as.

I told myself to just focus on one section at a time, one foot at a time. They were all fine except for the last. It was the steepest slope yet, with a path leading high up against a cliff wall. I followed the etched steps but at the cliff wall, the whole snow field was starting to calve away, leaving a big gap. I was fearful it would all start sliding, taking me with it. I just kept moving and soon it was over. I was shaking a bit by the end.

I started descending and was looking forward to the first campsite after the pass. I was even more pleased to find Taylor there. It’s always nice to have just one other familiar face to share camp with. I had been so cold most of the day that I didn’t waste time getting settled into my quilt. And so ended my longest day yet.

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