Day 157: Now You’re Just Showing Off, Washington 

157. September 14: Mile 2580.61 Six Mile Campsite to Mile 2603.36 Golden Creek
Another stunning day. All the Sobo’s who told us that the trail became more and more beautiful the further north you went were correct. To back up a bit since I used yesterday’s post to remember and grieve for Snickers, when we took the bus back to the trailhead from Stehekin we again stopped at the bakery. We had a bit more time so I packed out a six inch diameter sticky bun, a cinnamon roll of the same size, and four chocolate chip cookies for my snacks on this section. We then began the longest and biggest elevation gain climb on the entire PCT of 25 miles and 8000 feet. It’s super chill, though, since it only gains 320 feet per mile and you hardly even notice it. We camped about halfway up the climb and resumed this morning. When we arrived at the Rainy Pass Trailhead and parking area, there was a couple that had recently finished their through hike and had rented a car to do trail magic at this parking lot. So cool! They had candy and chips and Cokes and it was so, so good. There was probably about 20 hikers there and we gleaned that they were all headed for the same small campsite we were. 10 of them were all in a single group. I’m all for people traveling with their friends, but at some point large groups out here make life hell for the rest of us when trying to plan where to camp. 
As we neared the top of the climb the scenery was beautiful, but when we reached the top of Cutthroat Pass, the other side was breathtaking. Jagged peaks surrounded our view with green pine valleys and small patches of lingering snow dotted throughout the ridges. It was gorgeous. We remained at this elevation with these views for the rest of the day and it was some of the most stunning hiking we’ve done along the trail. 

We settled upon a campsite just short of our planned one since it was just marked as a creek and not a tent site. But there were still four other tents already set up with only one spot left (which we took) and we hadn’t even made it to the real campsite. We’re now in a bubble of hikers that tend to set up camp early (5:00 PMish) which sucks for us because we hike until 7:00 or so. So when we do get to camp sites, most of the spots are taken. Part of the problem is that the fires in northern Oregon and Southern Washington have pushed all of the hikers south of us further north and we are now all condensed into this one little three to four day caravan. It’s the hand we’ve been dealt, but it’s still irritating. 
For dinner Glowworm and I had one of our best on trail dinners. She had a packet of instant refried beans and I had red beans and rice so we each shared with the other to make delicious burritos! Hopefully the farts will be minimal in the tent…
After today we only have two full days and then three miles on the third to the border followed by an additional eight to Manning Park. Almost done!

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