My friend Hoosierdaddy and I did an overnighter of the section hike of Chinook Pass to White Pass on the PCT, here in Washington. By the time we got done, we did nearly 30 miles.
I had listed my potential gear list earlier:
I did make some changes to my gear list. I took a double walled tent instead of a tarp tent, and I added in my down vest for more warmth. On Tuesday night I was up late making cookies for my kid's school. One of the batches I made were these Peanut Butter Delites:
The cookies turned out to be the best thing to have along. Pure fat. The recipe is at:
We left early on Wed morning, doing the truck shuffle. Hwy 123 was reopened last week, just in time for the snows to start.
Our trip consisted of snow 99% of the way. We had weather from blue skies to near blizzard whiteout conditions.
Leaving the TH at Chinook:
Dewey Lakes far below:
Creek between Dewey Lakes:
The snow picked up around Anderson lake, with a howling wind. I was glad to wearing my new REI Alpine pants. They may have been ungodly heavy but they were windproof, waterproof and most of all they breathed well.
I didn't take many photos the first day, as we left the American Ridge junction the snow started getting fast. As we crossed near Crag Mt, high above Two Lakes, the snow levels were 9" and getting deeper. We were in a near white out blizzard. That gave us good incentive to keep moving, and to drop lower.
After we had crossed the high point:
We dropped down to the lowest point, passing pretty Fish Lake:
We camped at Bumping River, under a copse of trees. It snowed Wed night, about 2". It was maybe 30* out in the morning at 7 am. We set up camp around 6:30 pm, and it was dark within a few minutes. Camp in the morning:
I was happy I had brought the gear I did. I was warm in my 15* bag. I lined the inside of my tent with a E-blanket as well. That little tent was great (besides the bad idea to not guy it out.)
Morning came to soon, and we were off. First thing was crossing the Bumping River where I of course submerged my left foot into the river. Smooth move. I spent the next 13 miles with wet boots. Why I didn't bring my gaiters, I don't know. What happened is I had sealed my pants tightly, and when I slipped, the pants rode up. Had I left my pants loose around my boots I would have been ok. Lesson learned.
We actually had great weather for the first half or so of the day. Blue skies and sun even. This bridge was "fun" to cross, it wasn't planed:
After that, it was wandering through meadow after meadow and passing what seemed like 100 or more lakes, ponds and water spots. We saw ducks, and found tracks of coyote, fox, elk, deer and black bear.
We got snow starting at Snow Lake (kind of ironic?) but it started coming down good at Buesch Lake, where we took lunch. We finally encountered other people there, horse packers heading to set up a hunting camp. We had seen no other signs of humans until then.
For the most part the next 6 miles were spent in sideways snow and freezing winds.
The ending though? Right as we neared White Pass the snow just stopped and the sky turned blue. It was just gorgeous.
The REI Alpine pants were worth having. They saved me-I didn't sweat, I was warm and dry. Lining my tent paid off. While hiking I didn't need more than my gloves, long sleeved shirt and GTX Paclite jacket to stay warm-but when stopping, even for a minute you needed another layer or you would be freezing.
As I noted I ended up tucking in a number of those PB cookies. They were fat bombs that kept me going. I don't like many bars, I'd carry them anywhere. I didn't eat a lot though, which wasn't good. I just had no appetite, due to the elevation gains and cold.
I ate a lot of the cookies, dried apricots, Cheddar Cheese Kettle brand chips (potassium/sodium) and a bagel with as HD said "Easy Cheeze is nasty!". For some reason Eazy Cheeze in cream cheese flavor was good ;-) But.....it freezes up solid under 35* or so. Sigh! I had to sit with the can insulated at breakfast to use it.
I had pasta with mostly olive oil for dinner, and a pack of Newman's chocolate mint patties. And more potato chips.
I had soup for breakfast, along with a number of cups of tea to get hydrated, along with crackers and Eazy Cheeze.
The rest of the day I lived on potato chips, apricots, more cookies and chocolate bars from Starbucks.
Yes, I did not eat at my best. I shoved whatever tasted good and that I could eat. Mostly I couldn't get the desire to drink-it was to cold out there!
When we hit White Pass I went to the C-Store there and bought a Payday Chocolate Avalanche candy bar, and ate all 24 grams of fat in one sitting. Burp. It tasted so freaking good. Then I drank a massive Snapple. We then went out to dinner and gorged ;-)
I am glad I packed a lot of easy to eat snack items versus meals. I was carrying though an extra days food.
I was glad I had packed my cell phone, my husband was not overly happy I went out into the storm, so I was able to get service during the blizzard and let him know we were ok. It was also good as someone knew where we were as well.
It just felt odd to be winter camping in first week of October. Next time though I am bringing my gaiters and my liner gloves.