N of Lyall Creek(162.2mi/261km)-1mi N of Etherington Creek (185.1mi/297.9km)
Daily Distance: 23.3mi/37.5km
Campsite Elevation: 6211ft/1893m
It rained another time during the night last night. I was so out of it, it was like a dream. I have no idea when it happened and how long, but it rained pretty good. By morning, the tent was mostly dry…which ended up being a good thing given the day we had to come…It was a bit of a cool and overcast morning. Very peaceful and quiet. We knew there was a high chance of rain this leg. Especially over the next three days. We just hoped it wouldn’t rain all day. The clouds were dark from the get go and looked ready to rain at any moment.
It started to drizzle around 7:30am and then the “fun” started. By probably 8:30am, it was a full on rain. It was cold out (coldest read 35F/1.7C), but tolerable…for the first hour or two…I’m glad to be hiking with someone that has a routine and tolerance for cold rain. Heck, E works as an ice core driller and lives on ice 1/3 of the year. She said today was one of her favorite days so far despite the weather. Once again, her bonus poncho she found the other day was a winner. She really enjoyed using it today.
Much of the day was spent in the woods and that was fortunate because it rained probably 75% of the day. It wasn’t just rain. We got the whole gambit. Rain, sleet, hail, and even snow. All of these happened multiple times too! Our strategy was just to keep moving. We didn’t even want to stop for the regular morning breakfast break and just ate bars as we hiked. The uphills kept us warm, but sometimes we’d jog on the level or downhills just to stay warm. We tried to keep that balance of warmth without sweating. I LOVE my Chrome Dome Umbrella and it saved the day for me today. E’s small umbrella (no hiking specific) broke in the strong winds, which she expected. She’ll probably get another one in town. I got a heavier rain jacket just for this trip and man am I glad I did! It’s a Montbell Torrent Flier. It’s totally recommended to have a heavy duty rain jacket up here as it could snow at any time. When the clouds did start to lift around noon, we could see snow on the mountains in the distance.
We didn’t expect it to be so cold and last all morning, so we both had our gloves stowed away and that was our coldest part. It was pouring too hard to put them on anyway. All fine motor actives were gone until after the sun came out at lunch. Opening a bar or even unzipping the snack pocket to get it out was quite the challenge without working fingers. I couldn’t even get my hands to function to pull my pants up and down when I went to the bathroom! Surprisingly, the feet weren’t too bad. They were soaked the whole day and did better when it warmed a bit in the afternoon. It was either rain, sleet, hail, or rain until 11:30am and we were sooo thankful for the respite. Timing was perfect as we ended up right by a steam on some dry rocks when the sun finally came out around 12:30pm. In the sun, it warmed to 50F/10C, but it came in brief moments. We soaked it up while we could and were very thankful to get that brief time to eat lunch and warm up a bit.
After lunch, it looked like it might clear enough for us to get the view up on Cataract Ridge. As we did the uphill hike up, we finally took off our rain gear at 2pm. It was glorious and lasted maybe 45mins before darkness returned and the rain started up again, and quickly became snow. We got super lucky and it cleared just as we hiked the ridge. It was grand!
We saw the dark clouds coming in the distance for the next round, but took the moment of sun to sit on the ridge and take in both the view and the warmth.
As we hiked down into the woods to Cataract Creek, the rain hit again and then calmed to a drizzle. We hiked up onto another ridge and the sun magically came out and things finally dried out.
We dropped one more time down to Etherington Creek and thought about camping there. It was drizzling a bit again and we decided to go on a bit further to set us up better for a possible alternate in two days that adds 8mi/13km to the leg, but would be awesome if weather clears. Also, it tomorrow sucks with cold rain, we’d rather do the mile in a light drizzle tonight than cold downpour tomorrow. We hiked on another mile to a very marshy and cowy area until we hit a clear cut. Not many options, so we hiked into the spongy wooded area and found some spots that seemed to be protected of it rained overnight.
It rained a little while we ate dinner and it was still very cold and damp out. E was chilled, but not as bad as me. We decided not to hang our food for the first time this trip. It’s just terribly wet and cold and we are in a cow covered area next to a clear cut. There hasn’t been hardly any sign of bears much of the day and all our scented things are in odor proof bags. We are both comfortable with this and I am especially happy not to have to retrieve it early in the morning. I was quite chilled from the day. I just have problems being cold and wet and seem to have little insulation to rebound from a day like today. I’m shivering as I type this. Thankfully, my rain jacket is dry and I am wearing it over my pjs and my down jacket. I’d be wearing my rain pants over my wool pjs if they weren’t wet right now too. I have my down hood, beanie, and buff over my head and hope it can all warm me up enough to sleep. Somehow I’m going to wake up tomorrow and put those cold wet shoes and socks back on too…
On another note, we didn’t see another person all day today and yesterday the only people we saw were from a distance at a horse camp. Pretty cool to have this all to ourselves!