Destination: Five Mile Camp
Cumulative Miles: 2246
Last night, while hiking in the dark, Psycho stepped off trail falling down for the second time in the week. Two hours later, at camp, it started raining. It rained off and on through the night. In the morning we woke to a lack of rain. We packed quickly, and started moving just as it was getting light.
Half a mile down the trail, Psycho stepped on his gaiter, which had started to come off his boot. This tripped him up, causing him to fall to the ground, banging his knees and pulling a shoulder muscle in the process. About ninety minutes later it started raining again. We have concluded that since Psycho fell 3 times and rain followed shortly afterward, there must be a causation (or at least correlation) between the two. Apricots has advised Psycho to watch his footsteps more carefully for the rest of the hike.
We found the campsite we were looking for last night. It was about ten minutes past where we camped directly on the trail, if only we kept going last night. Of course if we had, we would have had to contend with the enormous downed tree we came across this morning. The nearly ten foot diameter tree had fallen across the trail, and reached 100 feet into the woods in both directions (when you considered the other tree of equal girth that had also fallen there). A small tunnel of sorts was dug into the ground under the tree, allowing us to crawl under it.
The next few miles, up to the Suiattle River, were riddled with downed trees. While it was not as bad as our experience a couple months ago on Girard Ridge, it certainly was trying. Four miles into our day we came to the Suiattle River. A flood a few years ago took out many of the bridges crossing the streams we have been crossing. Fortunately, trail crews have been hard at work rebuilding damaged trail, and adding bridges that have been washed away.
The bridge over the Suiattle River is supposedly built, but no trail to it exists yet. As such, we had to do a log crossing of the river. Sitting on a wet log, sliding our butts slowly across it with a raging river five feet below was more than unnerving. At one point we had to lift our leg over a branch, being careful not to shift our weight to far to the right, as we would fall in. A few feet later, we were forced to transition from a seated scoot position onto our hands and knees. Waddling on all fours with a loose pack atop our backs we inched closer to the other side. Then we dropped back down to a seated butt scoot for the final few feet. At this point the tree widened and we were hitting the root structure of the downed tree. We were forced to climb back onto all fours, and grab the roots to climb over onto the other shore.
Shaking with adrenaline on the other side, we hugged and continued our hiking. Psycho told Apricots (after the crossing) of the unfortunate drowning that occurred two years ago when a hiker fell off the downed tree. She in turn told him of one who fell this year, but survived. This southbounder decided that he was done hiking for the year, which is sad because this would have been his last difficult stream crossing for the remainder of the trail.
After crossing, we climbed up and over Suiattle Pass. The weather became nice long enough for us to take our rain jackets off. Ten minutes after we took our jackets off it started raining again, pretty much for the remainder of the day. The clouds never really lifted, but occasionally we would catch faint glimpses of what we were pretty sure was stunning landscape.
We trudged onward, sloshing through mud pits, stopping only once for lunch and once to fix the broken shoe laces on Psycho's left boot. Late in the afternoon the rain stopped. Unfortunately we were repeatedly walking through heavy brush, which dripped copious amounts of water down our bodies filling our boots with water. Our feet have been nothing but soaked for four days straight.
It's miserable at times, but we are very close to the end and will and determination is pushing us along. Tomorrow we get a town stop in Stehekin where we will get to dry everything out, and start the final leg fresh and rested.
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