Tomtit poked me awake this morning — he didn’t set an alarm, he just woke up at six. Pretty handy talent!
It was still dark while we stuffed sleeping bags away and dried off the inside of the tent. By breakfast time there was enough light to see what we were eating. We were ready to go by seven so we told KC our mileage goal of 27 and said a hurried good morning to Xactly.
A 3600 foot ascent awaited us first thing so we got right to it. The grade was pretty gradual which made for pleasant climbing as we made our way toward Suiattle Pass. After about 2200 feet we stopped for an “early” lunch. It was eleven o’clock, but we woke up early and the morning’s effort had used up our poptart breakfasts. We found a nice spot in the sun next to a creek for lunch — the wind had a bite to it and we saw snow up on the mountains so the sun’s rays were welcome.
The second part of the climb had some pretty fantastic views of the mountains and glaciers around us.
There was evidence of snow on Suiattle Pass from the night before — bushes in the shade were covered with melting piles of wet snow. Luckily it had melted off when we got there! We went over the pass and started down the other side. There was a long descent between us and the shuttle to Stehekin that my knees were not looking forward to. The views remained phenomenal though as we hiked down through rocks and brush.
I stopped for a knee break after we had done eighteen miles. I plopped down on a log and asked Tomtit to grab some ibuprofen from my pack. A couple of pills washed down with a cliff bar and I was ready to go again! We both plugged in our music and rolled down the trail.
There was a pit stop for water where we started soaking ramen for dinner and then we finished off the last five miles to camp. Right before we got there we ran into Magnitude, Beaker, Mahalo, and Wishbone all eating dinner. Their plan was to hike the four miles to High Bridge ranger station where a shuttle takes hikers eleven miles to Stehekin. The first shuttle in the morning is at 9:15, and since we had a big day today Tomtit and I decided to do the four miles in the morning. We found a camp site, set up the tent, ate dinner, and then got off our feet. We did 27 miles today with 6200 feet gain and 6400 feet loss, and my knees are feeling it! I am very excited to get to town tomorrow and try their famous bakery : )