We’d been warned that the first seven miles of today’s trail were the hardest. There were certainly a lot of blown down trees. Some as wide as 7ft fallen right across our path, or piles of trees making an up-down-around climbing frame that slowed us down considerably. Vista Creek was wide and shallow. A tree had fallen in almost exactly the same spot as the bridge had once been so we hardly even paused there. Suiattle River was another matter. Using Scatman’s guide we angled upstream across the wide wash of grit, boulders and quite sizable trees that must have come down during the storm in ‘03. We found the big log across the river and without it we’d have been stuck. Though not very wide it was very fast and deep enough to swallow a hiker whole.
Up the other side we began the day’s climb and were relieved when we saw the first blowdown that had been recently cut away. The trail was clear from then on and thanks to the unseen trail crew we made great progress.
As we climbed higher, to just about 6,000ft, we entered the clouds and things started to get wet. Unfortunately we never got above the clouds and soon it was raining. My trousers were soaked through and if I leaned forward on my toes I could squeeze water from my shoes. With my rain hood up and my game face on I knocked out the miles and it wasn’t until I reached Agnes Creek I realized the rain had stopped and I was actually getting drier. The walk from there was exceptionally pleasant. Agnes Creek had cut through a layer of tough black blocky rock and ran across a bed of large smoothed pebbles. The type some people pay good money for at garden centres. When it dropped away from the trail the trees thinned out and I saw just a little blue sky above the mountains. Tomorrow will be a better day, and even if it’s not, I’ll be in Stehekin! Distance today: 25.8 miles. Total distance: 2569 miles