3 October 2013:
Today was my most enjoyable day on trail for the entire journey! I have never witnessed beauty like I did heading up and over Cut Throat Pass. We headed to the trail fully equipped with new gear and snow shoes thanks to Hercules’ parents who drove us to Winthrop, waited for us to purchase boots, gaiters and new gloves, then drove us back up to Rainy Pass. We are eternally grateful and couldn’t have done it without them!
As we were resorting our gear at the pass a car pulled up with another thru hiker called Green Tea, who we had met back at the Devil’s Slide Trail in Idyllwild. He told us his journey was over because of the weather and conditions, but he was so proud that we were prepared and willing to push on. It was a real motivator as we headed up the steep climb to Cut Throat Pass.
We left the trail head at 12:30pm, but because the trail had been so well cut by the teams ahead of us we made excellent time getting to the top. It was hard not to stop every few feet to take pictures of the stunning scenery that surrounded us!
From this point we needed to wear snow shoes! It was both of our first time ever to snow shoe and after falling over on my first step, I soon got the hang of it and was addicted immediately!
I honestly felt like we were on a snow shoeing vacation in the Himalayas. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face the entire day and had to keep reminding myself I was still hiking the PCT. I never ever thought I’d be finishing the trail in snow, let alone snow shoeing for the first time. I also never thought I’d see the sun again on trail, and simply wished more hikers could see Washington in all its rugged beauty!
We reached Methow Pass close to 4:30pm and decided we still had enough fuel in the tanks to head down to Golden Creek at a much lower elevation to camp. I was sad when the snow thinned out and the snow shoes had to come off, but I also realised what a beating my ankles had taken from the steep side-stepping down some switchbacks and the new higher boots which we had no chance at all to wear in. We reached Golden Creek just as it got dark, set up camp, and cooked dinner sitting outside with no rain for the first night in many. What a difference clear skies can make!