Washed out Trail Slows me Down
Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 30
It was raining when I woke up, and it rained pretty much all day. I would like Washington a
lot more if it were a little drier. I happened upon a very strange thing today. A lady was
carrying a large backpack. If I had two goats and a llama, I wouldn't be carrying anything.
Today's rains were enough to dampen my spirits, but not enough to extinguish the
wildfires. I walked right by a big fire, then for several miles in its smoke.
It was raining when I got up this morning, and it rained pretty much all day. Aside from
being wet out, it's also cold. My fingers were numb most of the day.
I only walked a few miles before I reached the end of the trail maintenance. From there
on, it was awful. I spent most of my day pushing through cold, wet, chest high brush. It
was slow and miserable. I climbed two high passes where I was above the clouds and
saw that Washington is beautiful when it's not raining. The problem is, it's always raining.
I had to ford several roaring creeks who's bridges had washed out, and I still have more to
go. The good news is that I reach the other end of the recommended detour in ten miles.
The trail should be maintained from there on.
It rained all night last night. I thought I had chosen a good campsite, but there was a low
spot in the middle of my tent. I woke up in a puddle, and most of my stuff got wet. It
continued to rain all day and is still raining now, so I don't hold out much hope for a warm
dry night in the tent.
I set out into probably the worst trail on the entire PCT. I spent more time crawling over
downed trees than walking. I even reached the roaring Suittle River where there used to
be a bridge. The bridge is washed away now, and that's the main reason this section of
trail is closed.
Luckily, a tree had fallen across the river and someone far braver than I had already
shimmied out on it with a saw and removed all the offending branches. This was no log
to stroll across like a man, especially in the pouring rain. One slip would be the end of
me, so I straddled it like a big wet horse. It was a miserable, chaffing scoot to the other
side, bit I made it alive.
I hadn't even made it a mile when I encountered a pile of giant downed trees with trunks
as big around as I am tall. I spent the next 15 minutes climbing in, through, and around
this giant obstacle course. I finally got back on the trail, and in less than a mile I was back
at the raging river with the log crossing. I had gone in a circle! Needless to say, I wasn't
very happy. My second assault on the log jam was successful and I continued in the
correct direction for the remainder of the day.
The trail wasn't too bad after I finally made it to where the detour rejoined it. There was a
big sign warning people not to go where I had come from. I can't say I'd recommend it.
Tomorrow is my last town stop on the PCT. I only have 90 miles left to go. If it would only
At one point, the trail climbed to nearly 7,000 feet and broke through the clouds into the
bright sun. It was beautiful looking down on the sea of clouds below me. Unfortunately, I
had to climb back down into the clouds and their cold rain. It's not raining right now, so I'm
hoping for the best.
On a brighter note o- the section of trail I am just entering was severely damaged by
flooding a few years ago. The guidebook recommends taking a detour around it, but I'd
heard it wasn't that bad, so on I went. Some trail crew has been hard at work. I've
crossed three new bridges, breezed by dozens of fallen trees that have been cut off the
trail, and walked on freshly repaired tread across washed out trail sections. They even cut
back all the awful plants that hang over the trail and get me soaking wet in even the
lightest rain. Hats off to all their hard work!