Mile: 2569.4 to 2588.9 (19.5)
up/down: 5200/1900 feet
New trip bird: Barred Owl
We grabbed the early shuttle bus out to High Bridge ranger station and were on the trail by 9:30. That's still pretty late to make big miles but we gave it our best. Put a rainy day at elevation four days out in the forecast and you can get Hummingbird fired up for big miles. Saturday looks not so good so we'll put as many miles behind us as possible for three days. At this time of year in the northern Cascades, rain at 6000 feet can turn to snow in the blink of an eye. We are NOT getting snowed out this close.
From the ranger station the trail climbs to Howard Lake then ascends the Stehekin River canyon for a few miles before turning north and following Bridge Creek to its source at Rainy Pass. The lower part of the canyon was quite open with lodgepole and white pines, something we haven't seen in a long time. After a couple hours of hiking my legs and feet started asking what the hell I was doing. Three days off got them thinking perhaps we were done with this foolishness. Not so legs and feet,!so suck it up for a few more days.
We climbed all day and made the pass an hour before sunset. We would have gone a couple more miles if camping options were better. This will do. Rainy Pass was anything but, we had spectacular blue sky all day. We are camped next to the trailhead parking lot far enough from the road so it's not too annoying. It's not a super busy highway, especially this time of day. This is our last paved road crossing so there's that.
As we lay here in the tent after dark an owl goes off nearby. It's not one we know instantly and have to listen to a few from the phone apps. It's a Barred Owl and a new trip bird.