In the middle of the night I felt a tiny splash of water. Then another and another. It was raining! I jumped out of my tent to put the rain fly on and by the time I finished, I’m pretty sure it had stopped raining. In the morning I woke up in a thick fog.
The day started with a steep climb that took me above the clouds and gave me the best view of Glacier Peak yet. Next it dropped way down to cross the Suiattle River. I guess the trail used to be about 5 miles shorter here until a bridge washed out. They built the new bridge farther downstream in an area that looks like it won’t wash away any time soon.
The bridge is huge, and it’s a surprise seeing it out this far. It’s at least 50 PCT miles in either direction to the nearest town, one of the most remote places on the trail. I met a trail crew today and they said the town of Darrington isn’t too far.
After the river crossing came a big 4000 foot climb. It would take me away from Glacier Peak and over Suiattle Pass into the North Cascades.
As the day wore on, the fog gave way to sun and clouds. Two of he guys I camped with last night were planning on camping after about 31 miles. They passed me just before the climb and when I got to that campsite, they weren’t there. It was still early so I cooked dinner and decided what to do.
Stehekin is about 11 miles away from the trail and the only way into town (other than walking) is the National Park bus. It has a limited schedule so I wanted to be close enough to that I could catch the bus. If I camped, it would be 15 miles into Stehekin, easy enough to catch the 12:30 pm bus. The bus before comes at 9:15, which would be hard to catch with 15 miles.
I still had a couple hours of daylight left so I hiked on. I forded my first river since California (I wanted to wash my feet and didn’t feel like bushwhacking to a log) and arrived at Cedar Camp. It’s not in the national park, but it’s very similar to the campsite where Meghan and I stayed a few years ago.
Since I had cooked dinner and filtered water already, I actually felt like I got to camp pretty early. It’s a much nicer feeling than last night when I had to hike an extra mile and camp on an abandoned trail that was barely wide enough for my tent.