August 18, 2016 - Looking at the profile map it appeared I was going to have a big day of climbing, right around 10,000ft.
Got on trail just as the sun was making its way over the nearby mountain.
I had a nice little climb over 2 passes, all ridge walk so made for an enjoyable morning hike.
Once I got to Red Pass I made a long descent into the thick forest. Once in the forest I followed a creek downhill, very easy hiking. The guide book talked about how hard the trail was from Reflection Pond to 35 miles down trail. I kept worrying I was on the wrong trail because it seemed very easy compared to what I had been hiking on. However, my app told me I was on the right path.
I got down to Kennedy Creek and crossed it on this broken bridge but think it was designed that way.
Then it was a tough uphill climb out of the valley on rough and steep trail. I was surprised they were able to make this trail on such a narrow crest through thick woods. I did get some nice views of Glacier Peak.
At the top I was tired and sweaty but I got another great view of the mountain across that I would have to climb later, 3,000ft over 4 miles.
Heading down to the valley I came across a very blue looking lake named Mica Lake. Would have been a nice camping spot but I still had lots of miles to put in, it was important to stay on schedule because I had my bus and plane ticket already purchased for my trip home.
The hike down took longer than I thought. The closer I got to the creek, the ticker the brush got until I reached the bottom where I had to cross the creek on a small wooden bridge.
The hike passed the creek was a long, hard, steep climb up. It started off through the thick brush then would head into the woods then switchback out into the hot sun. I ended up doing 45 switchbacks in all over the few miles.
At the top I felt so glad for it to be over but still had 2 more miles to get to camp.
As I’m hiking along a ridge I see what at first looks like a thunderstorm cloud forming. I decide to get to camp quickly because I was not in the best spot if a storm started. I filled up water a mile from camp as I would be doing dry camping for the night. Just as I get to camp I see off to the east those thunderstorm clouds but now makes me think the clouds are from a fire. Hard to tell how long it had been going. I just got sick to my stomach thinking that the trail could be closed as I was a little over 100 miles from the finish. Checking my maps it appeared the trail didn’t go that far east but you never know how big the burn area is.
At camp there is one other guy so we talked about what we think might happening with the fire. He had heard the fire had been going on since early August but that’s hard to believe since this was the first I had seen it. It looked to be dying down since getting to camp so we were both hoping the trail would stay open. The moon did rise right over the fire so saw a nice looking red moon until it passed through the smoke. Going to bed I feel good about the whole fire thing, just hope the winds don’t pick up.