Sunday, February 13, 2011

Listless and Lonely.....

It wasn't raining, but it wasn't exactly dry either....
September 18: The Graduate left camp about a half hour before I did. I was lingering, hoping the rain would stop and the trees dry out a bit, and I was not in any particular rush. My goal was to meet Amanda in Canada on the 21st, and it wouldn't require big mile days to get there then. The Graduate intended to meet his family members on the 20th, however, so he needed to get a bit more distance than I did.

He poked his head under my tarp, shaking hands, and wishing me good luck with my journeys in case we didn't see each other again--a very likely scenario at this point.

And the rest of the day, I saw absolutely nobody. Not a single living soul. I knew The Graduate was somewhere ahead of me, and I knew of quite a few people who weren't far behind me, but there was absolutely nobody along my little section of trail today, and I felt a bit listless and lonely.

The trail crossed over Rainy Pass, which largely lived up to its name. It wasn't exactly raining, but the fog was thick and wet, coating everything it touched with water. If only they named it Sunny Pass, I thought, the drizzly fog wouldn't be here. It also marked the last paved road I could expect to cross. The last easy place to bail.

I'm told that the North Cascades is spectacular, but I wouldn't know. The weather never cleared up to any degree.

Late in the afternoon, it was time to start finding a place to camp. Without my maps, I wasn't exactly sure where I could find a place to camp or where water was located, or even an optimal place to stop. The notes I jotted down did show Brush Creek that should have been somewhere up ahead, but I was already loaded up with water so that wasn't a great concern. Mostly, I just needed a place to set up my tarp, and that was the hard part. I've camped directly on the trail when there wasn't a suitable location, but it was supposed to rain overnight. I needed a location not only to sleep on, but also a location where I could set up my tarp. That limited my options severely, and I hiked for about a half hour before I found a small place in the trees down a steep slope from the trail. It would have been easy to cowboy camp, but that just wasn't an option. I figured I probably stopped about a mile before Brush Creek and could fill up with water there in the morning. (As it turned out, Brush Creek had perfect places set up to camp! But I didn't know that when I stopped for the night.)

Rainy Pass largely lived up to its name. This was also the last paved road I'd cross until Canada!

Waterfall ON the trail. =)

It seemed like the views could have been awesome if only the clouds went away!

Approaching Cutthroat Pass. (And isn't that just a wonderfully descriptive name for a pass?!)

OMG! It's a view! A real view!

Well, that view didn't last view long.... On another note, notice
the pine tree with yellow needles? That's the main reason I took this
photo. =) I read an article in the WTA magazine about a particularly strange
pine tree that turned yellow and loses its needles each year.
They had photos of these trees, and it was bizarre. Pine trees?
Deciduous pine trees? Who'd ever heard of such a preposterous
thing?! I could never remember seeing such a thing... until now! I don't
remember what kind of trees these were, but I was sure I just found one!

Where, oh where, can I set up my tarp.... Nope, this won't do!


greg said...

The tree is called a larch. The following is from Wikipedia:

Larix lyallii - Subalpine Larch. Mountains of northwest United States and southwest Canada, at very high altitude.

Larix occidentalis - Western Larch. Mountains of northwest United States and southwest Canada, at lower altitudes.

- Mr. Know-It-All

~Aurora said...

They are quite common here in MI we call them Tamarack Trees. =) ~Aurora

Sue said...

Yep - that's a larch, a deciduous conifer, but not a pine.

halfencer said...

The larch of Monte Python fame?

ArtGekko said...

We know them as Tamaracks here in MN and WI. They're everywhere and quite lovely in the fall!

veganf said...

Yep, we had tamaracks in northern NH, very pretty.

Cuthroat pass...hope you weren't reading a scary novel the night before!

Randy said...

Everyone is right. That tree has both names....larch and tamarack. We have an eastern variety in the Adirondacks. We always called it eastern larch or tamarack. Needles in a clump form a circle.

Anonymous said...

I have a tamarack tree in my front yard. (Ohio) It's ugly in the winter but very nice the rest of the year.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Such an appropriate named pass with all that rain, fog and water. Crazy. I think I'd go nuts with all that rain. It hasn't even rained her since last August, though we have had several snow this winter. Almost every day is sunny with blue skies in New Mexico. If I lived in the PNW, I'd probably own more raincoats, fleece, and rubber boots that sunglasses and sunscreen. haha!

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers