We had laid out our plan for the day’s hike the night before; shooting for ten miles with about 1000ft of elevation gain. We would pass through snowfields and I was excited to try out our new micro spike foot wear. Our sun gloves offered no protection in the balmy 37 degree temperatures, so I pulled my sleeping socks from my bag and used them as gloves.

We broke camp and hit the trail. I immediately bumped into another hiker that had just finished Apache Ridge (the section we skipped). He looked shattered. I causally inquired as to how bad it was. “Oh my Gawd man, it was an absolute bitch!” With this comment hanging in the air he stumbled onward. Literally stumbled.

We hiked for about 30 minutes and then put on the micro spikes.

Noelle in microspikes
Noelle in microspikes

Soon we couldn’t see the actual trail and were following dirty footprints from other PCT hikers through the snow.

lots of snow!
lots of snow!

The snow pack kept getting deeper…I was swallowing curses like after dinner mints. We were above the trail, we were below the trail, crawling through bushes, sometimes pausing to check out GPS to insure we were moving in the correct direction.

Steve enjoying the snow
Steve enjoying the snow

At some point I slipped and went sliding down a hill on my back. I self arrested when I hit a rock but watched two water bottles go skittering down the hill. I assured Noelle that I was ok, dropped my backpack, and went another 30 feet down the hill to recover them. On a fun scale I give it a five. I saw the rock coming and knew I could stop myself with my feet and legs. I was primarily concerned with assuring Noelle that it was ok, not a big deal.

Steve's snow slide
Steve’s snow slide

I don’t think we have too many pictures after this slide. The conditions continued to worsen and we continued to move forward. Gone was the idea of 10 miles today, replaced by the goal of 7.1 miles.

We bumped into our friend Michael around 3pm. Michael moved on ahead on the trail but stopped to wait for us about a half mile down the trail due to deteriorating conditions. I’ll leave the rest of the day for Noelle to describe.