Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Day 17- Rainy Pass

Day 17- Rainy Pass, Washington PCT, Section K and L

2586 (Junction to Copper Pass) to 2596 (Granite Pass) then back south towards Rainy Pass to 2592

Spectacular scenery and bluebird skies climbing from Rainy Pass with views of Glacier Peak to the south. Surrounded by mountains on all sides. And then thrilled for something completely different - The Larch!
It's the first time I've seen larch since leaving Montana. I've never seen them so windswept and dwarfed- are they a different type here? Back at the park I was at in Montana, the larch numbers were dwindling due to fire suppression, so efforts were made to cut the doug fir which were growing in unnaturally dense stands and crowding out the shade-intolerant larch. This spring, I helped replant larch seedlings to help restore the natural balance of tree types. How has this forest been changing? I also wonder how the larch seedlings I planted back in Montana are faring.

The traverse between Cutthroat Pass and Granite Pass is gorgeous.
North from Cutthroat Pass
 Jan's tendonitis is getting increasingly painful and swollen. Jan is limping. At Granite Pass, we discuss our options and Jan starts to break down. This is hard. Heartbreaking hard. Should we turn around and hike back to Rainy Pass or try to make it to Harts Pass or Canada? 
Towards Granite Pass
 As we were talking, Bobber comes along and gives Jan his ace bandage. He'd had the same problem a while back and needed a week of rest to heal. Hearing his experience makes it much easier to decide to turn back. It's more difficult to turn around than keep pushing forward, but I know it is a good decision. Jan's leg isn't going to get better if we keep going, and it could easily get worse or lead to other injury or problems. Safety comes first. And will stick together.
Jan sporting the Ace bandage
 We take the hike back slowly. The ace bandage does wonders and Jan goes from limping to walking nearly normally. 

Camp has clear views of the surrounding mountains, but it is bittersweet knowing it is our last night together on the trail for this trip. Jan is a delightful hiking buddy and I will miss her.
Hanging with another view
 No idea how we will get back to Jan's car or Snoqualime Pass from here. But at least we are together and things always seem to work out. 


  1. I wonder how many people got your Monty Python reference . Or at least I think your reference to the Larch was a MP reference. No lumber jacks up that way? Hang in there .

    1. YES!!! YOU GOT IT!! Monty Python for sure. I can't remember if I got it right but I must have because you got it. Yippee!

  2. So hard . . . so very hard to make the right decision, the smart decision. I can't thank Joan enough for supporting me and getting me turned around and safely back to civilization. She's the best partner! I'd absolutely do the same for her. THANK YOU!!!