Snowy Lakes or Grasshopper Pass was our dilemma for our final backpacking venture. After consulting with a few locals, we opted for the latter. It turned out to be an excellent choice.
First, the road to Harts Pass and the trailhead had to be navigated in our little Yaris rental car. This 10 mile, mostly one lane, gravel and rock road carved into the side of a cliff takes you to the highest point of any road in Washington State at nearly 6,000 ft. I was driving and Star couldn’t bring herself to take pictures (Plus, she was watching for large rocks scattered along the road), so you will need to search the internet for photos of this engineering feat of the ludicrous. At one place called Dead Horse Point, you are literally suspended on the edge of a vertical rock face for 0.5 miles praying to every god imaginable that another vehicle doesn’t come from the opposite direction. To make matters worse, a huge tree had fallen across the road and the Forest Service literally cut out a section of it just before our arrival. They were directing traffic through a “slot” as we came by.
Anyway, we made it to the trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail before noon and were on our way. Once again, we found ourselves hiking along a stretch of trail with full exposure across scree slopes. In fact, the entire 5 miles of the PCT to Grasshopper Pass traversed the steep sides of high ridges, where you could see the trail laid out almost in its entirety ahead of us.
A nice gentleman had stopped us on the trail, and told us where the nicest camp spot was in the area. In fact, he had it marked with 3 sticks forming an arrow. As we reached the site, a thunderstorm overtook us. We were able to get the tent up as the harder rain started to fall. When it stopped, we had dinner and drinks (vodka and cranberry :-).
I'll shut up and let the pictures do the talking.
Traversing one of many scree slopes
View from our tent. Nice front yard!
Just before breaking camp