Crossing Cutthroat Pass (Part 3 of 6) (Posted 6 November 2012, 12:32am)

Scallywag concerntrating on every footstep.

I slept solidly but woke feeling nauseous with a headache and a sore stomach. I went back to sleep. I could hear the others getting ready so eventually I forced myself up. I packed up my things but couldn't stomach breakfast. Heehaw wasn't feeling well either. Perhaps it was the lake water from beside the road that we had been forced to drink a few days before. Or maybe it was eating a couple of meals in a public toilet. Whatever the cause it was terrible timing.

We walked to the center of town to hitch back to where we had left the trail. ED made a sign reading "PCT hikers to Rainy Pass". We got a ride for two right away. ED and I jumped in and Scallywag and Heehaw took over the sign, arranging to meet us at Rainy Pass. Our driver was a nice guy but aggressive on the road and it was a relief to arrive in one piece. We returned to the trailhead and the toilets that we had slept in two nights earlier. Wolverine had not added to our note so we figured that he had not turned back. There was, however, a message there from DoeEyes, ScrubRat, DancingFeet, NotsoBad and CityFood, who wrote that they gone further along the trail but were forced to turn back by the snow. We had just missed them. I was feeling nauseous again so spread a couple of black rubbish bags on the ground and lay down to wait for the other two.

I wondered what Heehaw would make of the news that the others had turned back from where we were about to go. I didn't have to wait long to find out because he soon arrived with Scallywag. They were being driven by another hiker, Waldo from the Czech Republic, who we knew of. Waldo had been 30 miles ahead of us on the trail and gotten off at a place called Harts Pass to obtain better gear after hitting thick snow. He was waiting for the new gear in Winthrop and had spotted Heehaw and Scallywag so given them a ride. They had seen the other group of hikers arriving in Winthrop and gotten the low down on the conditions from them. I was relieved to discover that Heehaw - the only one of us with experience in these conditions - was still willing to give it a go.

We said goodbye to Waldo and set off. It felt good to be back on the trail. We soon passed the 2600 mile marker so were now only 60 miles from Canada. There was less snow on the ground than we had expected. We raced along, steadily climbing up towards Cutthroat Pass. I soon crashed - having not eaten anything all day - but I was revived by a couple of bananas and some chocolate. As we climbed higher there was more snow on the ground but it wasn't yet enough to slow us down. We could see the footprints of the other group of hikers, going both ways, and we benefited from the path they had cut. The weather was still holding and we made it up to Cutthroat Pass where we stopped to rest and appreciate the stunning view of snowy mountains all around. I was feeling a bit better. Heehaw stood up, retched and then vomited but felt he felt able to carry on.

We continued along the ridge. In some places there were thick drifts of snow that we waded through, taking turns leading to break the trail. There was now only one set of footprints ahead of us - Wolverine's no doubt. Scallywag was starting to have trouble with his rain pants - part of an outfit he had bought for $11 at the hardware store in Winthrop. He taped them up as best he could. ED had a pair too and they were also starting to tear. This was cause for some concern as there were menacing clouds swirling about overhead and the forecast was grim.

Just on dark it began to rain and we came upon a campsite. We discussed our options then decided to continue to make a few more miles before the weather deteriorated. We walked on through increasingly heavy rain, down towards a campsite at a lower elevation. We arrived there around 9 pm and hastily made camp in what had become a real downpour. I got inside my tent, put on dry clothes on and dried everything else as best I could. I had a cold dinner of tortillas, cheese and salami and then settled in for the night. I was keeping my eyes on the growing puddles outside and realized that I had pitched my tent in a depression that was rapidly filling with water. I forced myself out and dashed around ripping out the pegs. I then dragged the tent to higher ground, roughly got the pegs back in and dived inside. These were trying conditions and everything that I had so carefully dried out in Winthrop was already damp. We had managed to knock off 15 miles, were camped 45 miles from Canada and one day into our planned four-day sprint to the finish.

Cutthroat Pass.


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21 I made it.
15 About to catch the last bus for the season out of Stehekin and planning to walk out of America in four days time on the last day of my visa...
09 It looks like some bad weather is finally on the way. My rain gear might actually get some use! Tough climbs ahead but getting closer to Canada each day and with great group of fellow stragglers.

22 Quick stop in Cascade Locks to shower, do laundry, resupply, eat and 'rest'. Across the Bridge of the Gods, over the mighty Columbia river, into Washington today - the first day of autumn.
13 Resupply for Washington all sorted with some help from Mum, who is visiting on her way home from Europe. Now it is time to escape Bend and resume the race to Canada.

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Blog Archive

30 True to the thru (Part 4 of 4)
30 The waiting game (Part 3 of 4)
30 Something was wrong (Part 2 of 4)
30 A story that needs to be told (Part 1 of 4)
21 "I knew Typo would make it" (Part 6 of 6)
19 Throwing the Hail Mary (Part 5 of 6)
10 Up and down, but not out (Part 4 of 6)
06 Crossing Cutthroat Pass (Part 3 of 6)
03 Warming up in Winthrop (Part 2 of 6)

30 We're sleeping in a toilet (Part 1 of 6)
25 Another radio interview (Audio)
21 I made it
04 Nearly there

29 Trail Magic
19 Walking with Mum

28 Cold food
28 Hello Oregon!
20 40 miles in one day
08 Official trail name: Typo
06 (Humbolt) Summit Fever
06 Road walking around a wildfire

30 Two trail birthdays
18 A picture is worth...
10 Pain and gain in the Sierra

28 Hiker hunger
27 The inquisitive marmot
19 Stage one survived
05 Live from the Mojave (Updated)
04 I just walked 500 miles...

31 Current nemesis: Poodle dog bush
23 Mexico to McDonald's
23 Gear review: Sleeping pad
18 Hot and getting even hotter
12 Videos
12 Wildlife
10 People on the trail: Sunset
05 Eagle Rock
03 Hiker discount: 100%

30 The beginning
25 Final preparation
17 Blogging along the way
16 No publicity is bad publicity
08 Walking before the walk
08 Maps for the trail