Mile 2574 to 2598
We luck out and wake to a dry camp. We pack up quickly after consuming massive cinnamon rolls and making a pit stop at the pit toilet. Even after all these miles a good seat is difficult to leave behind.
We hike along a wide cliff ledge that drops down to Bridge Creek. A brown flash startles us from the cliff side. It is a brown colored black bear not willing to go over the edge, so he jogs forward and takes the trail about 30 feet ahead of us. Once on the trail he seems to lose all fear and slows to a stop, as do we. I pull out my video camera and begin taping. He turns back and faces us, then eventually leaves the trail to our left, apparently now bored with the whole thing.
As we hike on, the gentle rain becomes a bit aggressive and we stop to pull on our rain pants. The pants block the cold wind and rain, but just as importantly keep us from feeling the wet carwash bushes or getting a chafing rash from being in wet garments all day.
Someone ahead of us is leaving messages written in the wet trail. It is a bit like reading the old Berma-Shave advertisement signs along the highway, except since we are walking the time between words is significantly longer. The pouring rain may be washing away some of the words or at least the context, because in about a half hour of walking we have “Your Feet And Mom Put A Fork”. Try as we might we cannot make sense of it.
I suppose it should go without saying that it rains on Rainy Pass, but there I said it, and yes it did. When we stop to enjoy cheese, salami and bagel sandwiches, the rain turns to snow and fills Kevin’s now open pack. It is the pelty little not quite as icy hard as hail white balls. I am sure the Eskimos have a precise term or two for it. We just call it: What The Heck.
We make our way up to and across Cutthroat Pass, where steep jagged peaks and crazy dark clouds loom waiting. The snow starts gentle but then quickly attacks, pounding in all directions. The trail looks as though giants are having a massive beanbag chair fight and the stuffing is pouring over everything.
The sun teases us, but never really comes out. We setup camp during a break in the weather. As we cook some Pad Thai to warm our cold bellies other tired hikers arrive and squeeze in with their tent. The pika continue to make warning cries but we settle into our tents unwilling to leave. We fall asleep hoping for fairer weather tomorrow.