Today was the first day of real bonafide snow. It did not stick, but there were bouts of thick flurries with flakes almost dime sized. The forecast was for snow, and sure enough it snowed. It did not last long, but there were several little waves. It was fun to hike through.
I rolled out of bed around d 7:00, showered, dressed, and ran to the restaurant for breakfast. No one was in there but the cook. The one guy had to take orders, serve, cook, clear tables, everything. I was the first one there and ordered the chorizo breakfast scramble which was excellent. Three cups of coffee later and I am set and ready to go. I ran back to the room to finish packing and checked out by 8:30.
I walked through the country store seating area and there weren’t any hikers there. I didn’t bother to go in, because I had just eaten and had a full five days of food already packed. Their coffee was better than the restaurant but I already had enough caffiene for the day.
I started walking out to the road with all sorts of extra food and fuel that I did not need. The Ravensroost hostel was just one block off the main road, so I hiked straight there and went inside. It was a neat little place and there were probably seven or eight hikers there. I saw Butterscotch and gave him the food bag to pick through first. If I make it back to Mazama early enough after I finish, I will stay here.
I headed back out to the road to try my luck at hitch hiking back to Rainey pass. The west side of the Intersection seemed to be my best bet, so I could hit people coming from Mazama or further east on 20. For the first twenty minutes, it wasn’t looking good. Half the cars that came by were Mercedes Benz cars, SUV, or campers. Yep, Mercedes campers. Then finally a 4wd Ford van came by and stopped. That’s my kind of people. They were headed back to Seattle and knew exactly where I wanted to go, so I loaded up. Their van was really cool. It had a pop-up top, was diesel, had three beds, a small sink, and refrigerator. It was part van, part camper. They had just spent ten days hiking and camping in the area.
They dropped me off at the pass and five other hikers were there by the side of the road. Only one was hitching into town, and he got a ride just minutes after I arrived. The other hikers had resupplied in Stehekin and were just taking a break.
I headed up the trail, and it was a large trailhead with many cars, so I knew I was in for traffic on the trail. I was surprised to find that I passed fewer than ten hikers on the trail, though. It seems like there should have been more. There were not alot of side trails, so maybe being a weekend, there were more than I expected that were going farther – like all the way to Hart’s pass.
The weather was brisk and there were lots of clouds, but no rain and not too much wind. By the time I got to the first pass, two hours had passed, but I was still full from breakfast and not ready for lunch yet. I saw two mountain bikers up there. It must have been a long, grueling climb up to the pass. From Rainey pass it was 2000 ft of climb. They came from the other side, by it must have been similar.
I kept on going down the trail and snow flurries began falling. It was way too warm for anything to stick, but it was neat to walk in. I’ll take snow over rain. I stopped for lunch about 1 PM and made tuna wraps. Adding parsley and mayo to tuna is all you need, nothing else.
Within twenty minutes after getting hiking again it began to snow again. But this time it was not little flakes, it was good decent sized flakes. It looks like real snow is actually here. It was thick and obscured the sky. It was still too warm for any of it to stick, but it was fun to walk through and try to catch flakes. Sadly, it only lasted ten or fifteen minutes.
I kept on seeing the four hikers from the road throughout the day as we passed each other. But we all stopped at the 2600 mile marker together and took pictures. Only fifty miles to go… Plus another thirty backtracking to Hart’s pass again.
In the afternoon we had two more good flurry sessions with big flakes, but again it did not last very long and nothing stuck. Oh well, maybe tonight or tomorrow. I spotted a campsite on the map that looked like I should hit it about 6 PM that was at low elevation and just before a big climb. The next one was three miles further and almost 1000 ft higher. The lower one sounded like the better deal.
I got there just after six as expected, and the other four hikers were already there claiming spots. I found a slanted one that was perfect for the hammock, so I set up quickly and started to cook. At least four other hikers rolled in after dark. There was a flat spot that was also good for the hammock, but I left that one knowing that other hikers would likely roll in. Good thing I did.