Day 160: (22.91 miles)
mile 2445.55 – 2468.46
Today we planned to do some extra miles to create a Nero day at Steven’s Pass and a visit to a trail angel’s home (The Dinsmores) for resupply. We are up before the sun in hopes of using all available light for the day. Today was not without obstacles. In fact, it felt like a steeple chase course. We start by rock hopping across a wide slow moving stream.
This is followed by a 1000 ft uphill climb with several switchbacks that have rocks and roots littering the trail.
We then face a jungle gym of downed trees stretch across the trail during a steep stretch requiring some acrobatics. Now that we have gone up, we now drop down to a creek known for being very dangerous to cross.
We arrive to a loud cascading creek with two thin logs stretched across as a “bridge”. I immediately know this is not for me, even though other hikers encourage me to “go for it”. Paul takes the hook and ventures out, one foot on each log. The logs bow under his weight and he gives a few “Oh Wows” before making it across. By now I’m down to my crocs and wade across without a problem. The crowd gives a few boos, but I’m dry and don’t need the horror or drama of falling in the icy water. We quickly filter 4 liters and continue on. Today’s weather heated up fast and we enjoy the shade of the tall pine trees while hiking along small switchbacks, and slowly climbing next to Deception Creek.
We reached our planned lunch stop at Deception Lake around 1pm. Being a hot day, and having a rock platform to jump from, we couldn’t resist a plunge. Chop Chop went first, but didn’t stay in long. Paul and I followed. Rather than ease myself in, I decided that a head first racing dive would be appropriate. Holy Crap! Paul, after hearing my reaction attempted to “ease” in, but finally chose a cannonball entry. Stranger, who rarely speaks, followed us screaming equally as loud as we did when we entered the frigid crystal clear water. A quick scramble up the rocks put us back in the warm sun. Once was enough of this refreshing activity. Being awaken by the cold water I had to say “who needs coffee”! Prospector, on the other hand, had heard all the screaming and quickly put his clothes back on, thus chickening out. Of course no one ribbed him about that…right? In the late afternoon we cleared Piper Pass and had a surprising view of Foam Mountain.
This was a perfect place to rest, relax, and sit quietly enjoying the beauty around us. A short little climb past the pass we met up with Ballhawk. Paul had been giving him a hard time about his North Carolina accent by greeting him with “How y’ all doin”? Ballhawk, being a good natured guy, always gave it back with a thicker than normal accent. Ballhawk told us about his job back home as an outdoor counselor for troubled teens…really rich, troubled teens He told us how he once used his southern accent to break through to a kid by teaching him the “Southern” language. I don’t know if this could work with Paul, but it’s worth a shot. I’m ” fix’n” to try it. Ballhawk left us with a promise to save us a campsite at Mig Lake.
Having been on an up hill theme all day the trail turned to down hill switchbacks through some tough and annoying rocks.
This slowed me down, but when the entire trail was blocked by some huge downed trees I just about lost it. I was gased. With some help from Paul, I got over this obstacle. It’s not that that I don’t expect these conditions, it’s the timing. I would have preferred it earlier when I was fresher. Unfortunately, the trail doesn’t work on my schedule… rats. We made it to Mig Lake just as it got dark and Ballhawk had saved us room between his tent and Sugar’s. It’s then that Sugar told us of her trail drama. Her boyfriend had texted her, via her Delorme, that he was at Steven’s Pass with food, 9 miles ahead. He had been waiting for her since early afternoon. Using her projected schedule, he had driven from Vancouver B.C. to surprise her. The element of surprise was achieved, however their meeting will be a bit delayed. Heart broken, she plans to rise extra early.