Having camped at Bridge Creek, we were 8 miles into a 20+ mile climb. Not a gruelling one but certainly a time consumer. We woke up and set off with the plan of achieving 24 miles which would take us up and over Rainy Pass and beyond. The morning walk was gradual to the pass and took us through forested valleys and along meadowed flanks to the pass trail head.
The weather was holding up well with the sun peaking through cloud the whole way. Rainy Pass trailhead was the last paved road before Canada, we were now stepping into the last few days of Wilderness. We came across a small sculpture of the North Terminus which marked where hikers of years before were forced to end their journey due to forest fire closures. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have a true and complete northbound hike and that sculpture really rang this home.
At the trailhead and man named Young Heart was handing out sodas and spare food and, shortly after our arrival, more magic came in the form of Otter who allowed us to make grilled cheese sandwiches. It was however a sobering lunch. Among the hikers gathered around the magic were Raider and Flash, two hikers who had been at the scene of the terrible loss of Colours outside Trout Lake. In an incredibly unfortunate turn of events, Colours had been struck by a falling tree on the PCT and sadly lost his life. Raider and Flash were carrying his hat to Canada to allow him to finish his hike. Heroes.
Full of food we continued the climb which became steep as it approached the pass itself. At the summit we had 360 degree views of gnarled mountain ranges which took our breaths away. The silence in the air was awe inspiring. We marvelled at each new sight as we rounded corner after corner along the ridgeline and dipped into a perfect valley bowl. Along our last traverse of the day, dark clouds moved in forcing us to make hast down the last small pass and into the dark forests where we would camp that night.