A great weather day today for some big climbs.  Lots of streams today, fewer big open views, but fewer blowdowns for sure made it a good travel day.

I was able to wake up early and get on trail at 6:30.  I had gone downhill from a switchback, so instead of going back uphill, I just kept going downhill and intercepted the next switchback.  The slope was about 45 degrees, so downhill both ways was the best choice.

The plants were hardly dewey, so I did not get wet at all.  About two miles down the slope I found the hikers from yesterday camped out and stirring to head out.  

The next six miles were a very shallow downhill as we went downhill along the Suiattle river to cross it, then come back up the river on the other side.  There is a shortcut that bypassed this six mile stretch, but it requires fording the river and then bushwhacking back to the trail.  At best case, it should save an hour, but having to deal with the river when everything is dry did not sound like fun, so  I stuck to the trail.  And it was a very nice walk, so I don’t regret my choice.

After crossing the river, it was a steady climb for about three hours.  I had intended on getting to the top before eating,  but I only made it about three quarters of the way before getting hungry and stopping for tuna wraps.  I saw two southbounders and recognized one from northern California. He was flip flopping to avoid weather.  I also ran across one day hiker who was a talker.

Once the climb was over, we dropped on to the north side of another canyon and it was a similar Alpine feel to the last two or three days.  Big open meadows with blueberries, big snow covered peaks, and streams everywhere.

This area still had some blowdowns, but most of them had been cut clean through.  There were still some that had to be climbed over, but they looked newer, and not years old like the previous day’s hike.

Toward the end of the day I located a campsite on the map that was six miles away that I would hit just before dark.  It sounded perfect, and had water close by.  I was running.low on water, but could last another two hours until getting to the campsite.

When I got close to the water source just before my intended campsite, I began to realize that the trail crossed the stream.  The intended crossing site had lots of stones to try to make a bridge across it,  but it was thirty yards wide and was not completely covered by continuous stones.  It was obvious that to cross it meant getting wet.  I could easily switch into the flips to cross, then just go on to camp in the flips.

But there was another option.  A very tall tree had fallen across the river 100 yards downstream.  It was eight inches around at the top fifteen feet above the water, and eighteen inches at the base four feet above the water.  It was pretty high up for such a skinny tree, and it was after 7:00 and light was failing fast.

I decided the tree would be my route.  Just getting to where I could climb up to the tree high over the river was challenging.  But I made it, and tested out the strength of the tree to be sure it would hold me.  I started across the tree, using my poles to steady myself.  I looked at the tree, and not the rushing water below.  If I was to fall, I would surely break something, so falling was not an option.  Everything went smoothly until about half way across, when the tree began to bounce and sway sideways like a tightrope.  This tree was over forty feet long from bank to bank..  I just paused and let the tree calm down, then kept proceeding.  It took about three minutes to cross, and then I was on my way to the campsite.  

All the other hikers were already there and had a fire going, so I went and set up my hammock quickly and grabbed my food and went and cooked by the fire.  Two others showed up and cooked as well.  It was nice to interact with other hikers for a while.  I don’t get that chance very often on the PCT.  Two other hikers have also done the AT, and three others have not.  Alot of the talk was about the AT and the similarities and differences from the PCT.  We also talked about the upcoming towns and what each had to offer. 

I think I will bypass Stehekin which is only 12 miles away and head straight for Mazama which is 31 miles away.  I will probably nearo there, depending on the forecast.  Everyone else is stopping in Stehekin.  I just don’t have the extra time and have plenty of food.  I am short on phone power, though.  Well see how much juice we have in the morning.