September 14, 2017
Six Mile Camp – Golden Creek (2580.61-2603.37)
Today was a great day. I don’t know how many times I said the word “wow”, but I’m pretty sure it was a lot. We got up and out of camp at a pretty decent time, and we spent most of the morning in the forest. The PCT seems to have a habit of always travelling through the least scenic part of the national parks it goes through, which is kind of weird for a national scenic trail. We left the North Cascades National Park section of the trail early in the morning, and it ended up being fairly unexciting.
We came across a trail crew from the PCTA during our breakfast break, who were out fixing a collapsed bridge. It was really awesome to see them at work, and they were super friendly towards us hikers. I made hot coffee at breakfast this morning, which was a great treat. Not long afterwards, we crossed Highway 20 (the last major road crossing of the trail, I think), and made our way to the Rainy Pass Trailhead parking area.
As we walked up, we saw that practically everyone that was on the bus from town with us yesterday was gathered in the parking lot. We weren’t sure what was going on at first, but then we realized it was trail magic! There was a couple parked there with cokes, mini chocolate bars, and chips. It was so exciting, and with the 20 or so hikers that had congregated there, it was a real party. We eventually moved on, and this was when we started to get a taste of the views we would be having for most of the afternoon.
We kept catching glimpses of gorgeous peaks through the trees as we climbed, and eventually we broke out of the thick forest and got some awesome views of the ridges and peaks around us. The climb out of Stehekin is the longest climb of the trail (I believe about 8000 feet of elevation gain over 25 miles), but actually ended up being one of the easiest climbs we’ve ever done. It was so well-graded that you could barely tell you were climbing most of the time. We were soon at the top of Cutthroat Pass, and when we crested the hill we saw the most amazing view of rugged mountains spanning as far as the eye could see. And the views continued for most of the rest of the day, as the trail meandered around the peaks and ridges. It was incredible. The larches are starting to turn their autumn yellow, the shrubs are going a deep red, and the jagged peaks are still dotted with the odd patch of snow.
We stopped for a quick snack break on the top of our last pass of the day, Methow Pass (we went over 4 today: Rainy, Cutthroat, Granite, and Methow), and then began to descend into the wooded valley below. We had originally intended to go a little bit further today, to an established campsite by a river, but word got around that about 20 people were all headed for the same place, so we decided to stop a bit early when we found a flat spot by a little creek. There are 4 other tents that were here before us, so we ended up pitching our tent practically on the trail, but at least there’s room. Gummies and I made a shared dinner tonight, which was fun and super delicious. I made refried beans and he made rice and then we made burritos! Soooo good.
It’s our third last night on trail and it’s gotten pretty cold. They’re calling for a chance of rain on the day we plan to finish, and then snow the next day, so I guess we are finishing at exactly the right time. I can’t believe there are only two more full days on trail. The days seem to be going by faster and faster now that we’re really nearing the end. I’m so excited to finish off this epic journey with another couple of days of wandering through these beautiful mountains.