[pct-l] Rainy Pass to Manning--trail notes for northbounders
griffin at u.washington.edu
Mon Sep 4 09:30:52 CDT 2006
Just got back from a week-long hike on Section L from Rainy Pass to
Manning. Here are some brief notes for thru hikers coming north and
anyone else considering that stretch of the PCT.
The trail is in great shape but water is going to be a problem. Get
water during the first three miles after Rainy Pass. There isn't any
for about 5-6 miles till you approach Methow Pass. The next waterless
section comes when the trail leaves Brush Creek on the way to Glacier
Pass. There is water in Brush Creek but it is running mostly underneath
the river rocks. While the guidebook says there is no late-season water
at Glacier Pass, we found some. At the pass campsite, walk west. You
will find another campground but keep walking west. Follow a boot track
downhill to a meadow and a slow-moving stream. Be sure to water up here,
because it is a hot and heavy 4-mile hike to the next water, about a
mile after Grasshopper Pass. After this mountain creek on the side of
Tatie Peak, there is no water until the Meadows Campground near Harts
Pass--another 4 to 5 miles. You need to take the cutoff from the trail
to get to that campground.
There is no water at Harts Pass, but the forest service rangers have a
water station at the closed ranger station. There may also be some trail
magic at the station, so be sure to check it out. If that water is
gone, there is a creek flowing about 1/4 mile after Harts Pass on the
trail. The next water is at the Benson Creek campsite about three
miles after Harts Pass. You have to walk down from the trail to get this
water. The next reliable water is about six miles later when the PCT
crosses Shaw Creek after the Devil's Backbone. We found water on the
trail but if it is dry at the crossing, go down 100 feet and the creek
will come out of the rocks.
After Shaw Creek you are on another waterless stretch from about 5 miles
until you cross the outlet for the Goat Lakes. There is also a spring
about a mile after that outlet crossing. Get water here. There is NO
reliable water until Hopkins Lake, about 8 miles after this spot. The
spring by Woody Pass mentioned in the guidebook was dry on Aug. 29.
After Hopkins Lake, water is not a problem until you cross the border.
Get water at one of the streams coming off the ridge on the way up to
Windy Joe Mountain, two or three miles after the border. There is no
more water on the trail after that point.
Other notes: There are NO campgrounds along Brush Creek after the PCT
leaves the Methow River (the guidebook says there are two along the
trail). There is a lot of deadfall between Hopkins Lake and the
border--this stretch is not possible for stock. There is also a lot of
bear scat on this section, but we didn't see any bears. Smoke from the
Tatoosh Buttes fires was bothersome some days and cut down on the views.
It seems to get worse as you hike north. The last miles of the trail in
Canada seemed very, very LONG to me. Don't think it is over when it
turns into gravel.
The folks at the lodge are great--very hiker friendly. The Greyhound to
Vancouver is a LONG ride, but Amtrak to Seattle is amazingly beautiful.
Your ride along the coastline at sunset, looking over the strait and
Puget Sound with islands dotting the landscape.
We ran into 2002 thru hiker Little Ewok at the Harts Pass Ranger
Station. She was excited to see some PCT hikers--even if we were "just"
section hikers--and gave us Gatorade and offered a bottle of wine. It
was great to experience some trail magic.
I will post a URL for a full trip report in a few days. Good luck to the
northbounders as they complete their journey!
Tom Griffin (Bullfrog)
PCT Pages: http://griffinte.home.comcast.net/pct.html
More information about the Pct-L