3rd September 2015

Mileage 12.2

Ridgecamp (2463.9) to Stevens Pass (2476.1)

Miles from Canada 184 (296km)

I woke to a thick white insulating layer of snow on my tent. I was much warmer with the layer of snow on my tent than the night before with the constant rain. At 5796 feet I chose to camp at the highest campsite between Snoqualamie Pass and Stevens Pass. Snow was forecast above 5500 feet and it was correct.  

I set off downhill through the snow. The sun tried and sometimes succeeded in breaking through the clouds, as it did the light hit the lakes, the clouds, the snow in such a way that I have rarely seen. Shades of red, orange, green, blue and brown lay in contrast to the bright white snow. I stopped so many times to admire the views and take photos that my poor feet started to freeze. I cursed not having plastic bread bags to use as a vapor layer on my feet. For those that don’t know this trick, try wrapping your feet in bread bags around the outside of your socks while hiking or cycling in cold, wet areas, it works great. I stopped in an open sloping field. I removed my shoes and vigorously rubbed my feet to motivate them to warm up. As I started to do this the snow again started to fall.

I continued down to lower elevations and my feet started to warm up. Before long I was at the ski resort of Stevens Pass. I hitched on the busy highway with a former PCT hiker, called Mud, to the nearby town of Skykomish for a short rest and resupply.

Tomorrow I head north into the unknown. The fires have devastated the areas north of here near the PCT. As of right now the trail is closed about 75 miles north of Stevens Pass. Will the trail be open, will it be closed when I get there. Most hikers are skipping this whole section and taking a ride around the closed area with a combination of vehicles and ferry. I am not most hikers. Whatever the outcome of the fire closure I have a backup plan, a detour. I must thank many of the kind readers of this blog for their assistance in particular Andrea and Pete, both of which provided almost identical detour options if the trail remains closed. For now I have several days of hiking before I either hit a trail closed sign and take a left turn into the detour, or the trail is open and I continue ahead. Cell phone service or wifi may be non existent so I may be behind in my blog posts. All going to plan I should be in Canada in just over a week. The minute I get reception in Canada I’ll post a picture on my Facebook site, be sure to ‘like’ it. BikeHikeSafari




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13 Responses

  1. muratgu

    Hi Brad,

    What is your plan when you reach Manning Park? If you need a ride let me know when you arrive. Maybe we can join you for a hike around the park too if you want to go a bit north still 🙂 it’s a nice area.

    Best of luck with the rest of your wonderful adventure!

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Hi Murat, I have some friends picking me up at Manning Park. I will only be in Vancouver for a day, maybe two. I’ll send you a message when I arrive, might be able to catch up.

  2. Heather

    You seem to capture the most vivid colors and beautiful views in your photographs. The layer of snow on the trees makes them look almost magical. What is your most favorite hiking weather on the PCT now that you’ve experienced it all? Perfect days in the 70s, heat in the desert, or now the cold, snowy weather? I have enjoyed reading your blog all summer and am looking forward to reading about your adventure.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      There is no favourite weather, I guess I love the diversity of the weather. Having said that I live in the tropics so I thrive in the heat. Hope that makes sense.

  3. Ian

    Yeah Canada! Also, how big are the water bottles in your shoulder straps? I just got the Exos 58 also and those pockets are TINY! Wondering what bottles will actually fit in there.

  4. Goran Metford

    Hi Brad, I’m a keen photographer myself and have read 90% of your posts. You’ve done more than well! I’m from Sydney Australia and plan to start the PCT next year. One question, how do you handle your funds from town to town? I’m guessing a combo of US cash and credit cards? I’ve had some horrific experiences with travel money cards so I won’t be using them in a hurry. Best of luck for your final approach. You’re an inspiration to many.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      I carry both a visa and MasterCard, I withdraw cash and keep my funds in credit to stop the high fees they charge. I pay for most things with the cards so I can track where the money goes. Good luck next year.


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