Day 117: Cold and Wet

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PCT Mile 2524.6 to mile 2551.8 Cloudy Pass

Fire reroute: 2.5 miles? (Based on time)

Total 29.7 miles, 47.8 km

Another cold and very wet start to the day. A good thing I kicked on yesterday as I’d be facing worse conditions today.

Ah, there is nothing quite like that invigorating feeling on pulling on 3 day old wet socks that have just been rung out. Sure I had dry socks but why waste them, knowing that my shoes are still saturated and the vegetation is still wet, fresh dry socks would have lasted all of 10 seconds. Add to that, pulling on a wet shirt and shell layers. At least once moving I was warm.

It had been good to experience Washington in the wet knowing that it is just for a few days. Everything is damp or wet, tent, quilt, clothes etc… To have to camp in these conditions with no chance of drying things out for multiple days would suck.

More fog and misty rain and super thick vegetation had me saturated again.

Crazy switchbacks up and down all day.

Towards the end of the day there was another fire closure to contend with. I had known about this one for a few weeks. The reroute lead east down to the small ‘village’ of Holden and back up north towards Highbridge and access to Stehekin. With 27 miles in all already I wasn’t going to make it all the way to Holden but cold and wet I knew I’d be pushing on for another couple hours to reduce the distance down. Tomorrow I’ll make it to Holden and take a ferry to Stehekin rather than do the final 17 mile reroute section through the hills. A lot of hikers are taking this option.

It was freezing cold arriving in camp by Lyman Lake. An ultralighter was with me but I forget his name.  No rain or shell gear can you believe that. With frozen hands locked into claws and on the verge of hypothermia he had to asked me for assistance to help set up his tent. With tent setup, dry clothes on and in his sleeping bag he was ok. And being a cold soaker he had no option for a hot meal to get core body temperature up either.

There is just no margin for error going ultralight. If you are really quick and you make it through Washington before any cold weather sets in that’s all good. But hiking here at the end of August with limited rain/cold weather gear and no stove is pushing the comfort level way down for my liking. Each to their own. It’s just not for me. Hell even with my shell layers, I’m freezing cold – Ultralighters must get chilled to the bone and be miserable. I know it’s a badge of honour and all that, to do this trip full ultralight, but you can keep it. Happy to be hiking comfortably and safely thankyou.

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