I got up early and hiked up to the Rainy Pass Trailhead. There were a ton of cars in the parking lot, which is to be expected since it is Labor Day Weekend. I may have some problems finding a campsite tonight…
There were ominous looking clouds in the morning at the aptly named Rainy Pass, but they soon dissipated and a beautiful day emerged.
In this photo you can just barely see how the trail follows a very long traverse along the ridge to the right:
And in this photo you can see a very long traverse on the ridge to the left. These were spectacular hikes! To my Washington-based friends: the section north of Rainy Pass is a fantastic place for a day hike or weekend backpacking trip.
It was great to be out of the trees again!
I had hoped to camp at Bush Creek, which is a good water supply and has a few campsites. I arrived there at about 3pm and all the sites were taken, more hikers were behind me, and there was a group of about eight weekend hikers cooking dinner and planning to hike up to Glacier Pass to camp. I decided that I too needed to camp up at Glacier Pass, but I wanted to get there before the crowds so I quickly filled my water bottles for dry camping. I decided to take an extra liter of water in my collapsable water bag since it would be a warm afternoon climb up to the next pass.
After about a half mile up the trail I noticed that my back and pants were wetter than normal and quickly learned that my water bag was leaking, and worse, I had put it inside my pack so it was leaking on everything. Luckily I always assume my pack will get wet inside, so I put my sleeping bag and clothes in trash compactor bags. I moved the bag to the outside of the pack and oriented it to not leak so much.
I arrived at the campsite at Glacier Pass and found it empty. It was much bigger than I had expected, so I relaxed a bit – no overcrowding tonight! A few other PCT hikers showed up and we set up our little section of camp. There were a few thin trails leading out of camp and downhill that I decided to explore. I found a beautiful meadow with a running stream and multiple empty campsites about 100 meters away. I was surprised to not see it on the map, but it just goes to show you that there are always more and better places than the one you’ve selected.
Liz had informed me that there was the possibility of seeing the Norther Lights tonight, so every time I woke up I looked through the trees to the north. No luck. I guess I’ll have to experience that on some other trip.
I’m making such good time, and the trail is such a nice trail, that I think I will finish yet another day earlier at this point: Arriving at the Northern Terminus on Tues, Sept 3 and exiting to Manning Park the next day. That is so exciting!
Thanks for reading!