Stubble Field Canyon was an immediate challenge for us in the morning. We could see that overnight the water level in the three pronged river had dropped, but not enough to warrant an easy crossing. At first, it all went well. The first and second prong where crossed via logs and leaps, but the third was far more of a challenge. It was deep most of the way up and flowing strong making the hunt for a crossing point tough. We found one spot were it would be knee height most of the way, but the far end was strong and on my first attempt I had to turn around and come back.
We then tried another route across a high log, but that too turned out to be far too sketchy. Returning to the original spot we finally crossed but not without a battle against the river which sent me (Ethan) tumbling into the torrent, but safe, and shouting curses at its water. Once a clear and safe way had been paved we were both across and took some time to warm up and rest on the other side. Brilliant, over an hour had passed and we hadn’t made it 0.2 miles. We walked on up a hill and down the snows on the other side, trying to make it to Falls Creek (the big river of the day) ASAP. Thankfully it didn’t take long to close the gap and soon we were skirting the lakes edge were Falls Creek runs.
Falls was a wide and deep river which we had been told not to cross until we reach ice bridges miles up the opposite bank side to where the PCT crossed. We followed this advice not wanting an ice cold swim, but this was yet another waist of time. Between 12 and 5 we had made 3 miles as we navigated the rocky and snow patches creek edge, having to cross several raging tributaries along the way. You can tell at this point we were done with trail but had to make miles if we were to make it to town for Mol’s birthday. Eventually, we gave up on the ice-bridges as a good idea, stripped off, held our bags as high as we could and swam across a wide, deep bar steady section of the river. It was like swimming the Hamble at home. Now on the PCT once more we crushed miles doing as many in an hour as we had in the previous 5….(continues in comments – it was a big day)
Our aim was now to reach mile 1000 and to do so we accepted it would take a night hike. Head torches on we ploughed our way across Dorothy Lake and Pass following the slightest track of footsteps in the pitch black. On the pass we stopped, turned all lights off and gazed at the star filled sky above. It was busy with plane and satellite, and not a single space was free from a glittering light. Revitalised by this we descended down at speed finally reaching a camp spot by yet another creek around midnight. We had made it (almost) and as we ate food and settled down it became Molly’s birthday. A small celebration and we were fast asleep, ready for an early get up and go to march the final 18 miles to town the next day.