Tuesday, September 18, 2018 – 17 miles
I’ve felt colder overnight when camping (Heysen at the cow droppings campsite) but last night was the coldest I’ve felt in my -9.5 degree Celsius/15 degree F sleeping bag. The down is clumped up by now, so there’s a bare spot on the bottom and I could feel the cold seeping up from the ground. I was only warm enough to sleep when wearing both my down jacket and rain jacket, meaning everything except my rain pants and one pair of socks. It’s time to cross the border…
I packed up early in the morning and figured out the actual way to the trailhead, passing a forlorn snowman in the parking lot.
The map showed a shortcut trail up to the beginning of the Holman Fire detour at the Pasayten Wilderness boundary. Heavily torn up by horses, it cut out part of the road walk by angling up to the pass. The scenery was pretty and autumnal with a small amount of lingering snow.
I was low on water, so I stopped at the first stream to collect water, cook potatoes and dry my tent. Three men came down the trail on horses, maybe hunters and a guide, since later I met the leader again heading in the opposite direction without the other men. There’s been confusion about the detour route, with people ending up bushwhacking, but when I arrived at the first detour signs they had been adjusted appropriately. Their text contradicted the wooden signs, so one had to follow the arrows without thinking about the words – always a great idea.
The trail descended into the forest and remained in the forest.
The trail was so torn up by horses that I started wondering whether it was a dedicated horse trail. Nice place names in this area, like ‘Point Defiance’ and ‘Hellrock Pass’. I began running into PCT hikers who had already reached the border but didn’t have permission to/chose not to enter Canada so were heading back to Hart’s Pass. It was nice to congratulate and be congratulated. I corrected the first few people by saying that I was a halfian, then got lazy and didn’t bother.
There were some proper bridges, including one that was under construction and had no railings.
I wasn’t daring enough to use it (look at how high up it is!) and completed an easy rock hop instead.
Well-used yet clean-looking campsites were located at lower points by streams, but I thought that camping at a slightly higher elevation might be warmer, and found a decent site when the sun was setting. The site was almost too small for my tent, but I managed to squeeze in.
I had just gotten into my bag and was fiddling with the doors when a woman came up and asked whether I knew how to get to the creek where her friends were waiting. No, my detour map is small and useless?!?! I asked whether she needed help, but she said no. Hopefully she found the meeting place.
Today’s distance is again an estimate.