Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mile 2556.8: Suiattle River, Suiattle Pass

From about 7:30 am til 2 pm, I had but one focus: reconstructing the children's rhyme that follows, word by word backwards as the melody played incessantly through my head:

Little bunny FuFu,
Hoppin' through the forest,
Scooping up the field mice,
And boppin' 'em on the heads

Along came (somebody who think's she's somebody), and says:

Little Bunny FuFu
I don't want to see you,
Scoopin' up the field mice,
And boppin' 'em on the heads

I don't remember exactly what follows, but I like to imagine that the plot thickens as little bunny FuFu debates the moral implications of scooping up field mice and bopping them on the heads. Is it a traged or comedy? I'll have to ask my 3 (4?)-yr old littlest sister how it ends. Maybe it's like other old nursery rhymes, sinister, morbid, or hiding sexual entendre.

The reason this song was stuck in my head is that we had mice in our tent last night, and I wouldn't have minded if little bunny FuFu popped in for some head-bopping. The mice ate a hole through my bagel bag and the colorful part off my book. They also left lots of droppings all over the TOP of my sleeping bag, and one got inside Micro's bug bivy net, realized it was trapped, and went berserk. As soon as I put 2-and-2 together with the horrible night's sleep, droppings, food, and mystery noises, I had "hmm hmm hmm hmm, lala la la lala, something something, bop 'em on the heads!" stuck.

We began the day with a 2.5 mile climb up brushy switchbacks to the ridge where Sweet 16 slept, and we missed her by 15 minutes. It snowed a tiny bit on us as we wound our way through some alpine tundra and a glacial bowl, and then we started dropping elevation through forest. We ate lunch one creek crossing early, once again missing 16, and got to the Suiattle River.

We've been hearing all about the Suiattle for weeks now. As advertised, there was a log going clear across the river about 300 feet upstream. Micro and I, both excellent at imagining the worst that could happen, both got a little shaky looking at the churning, milky water rushing past, but we put one foot in front of the other and crossed completely dry and unharmed.

In October 2003, a massive storm caused flooding that took out a whole bunch of bridges along this section of the PCT. Thanks to the stimulus package, all but one of them have been rebuilt. This last one was the Suiattle. It's easy to see why this has been left unbridged the longest. Looking at the channel, it's hard to imagine the scale of the flooding that formed it and littered it with huge tree debris. To build a bridge that would be unscathed by that sort of flooding would have to be HUGE (really high up and long to make the span) or SUPER burly.

Then came the fun part, that nobody told us about: a 7.4 mile, 3130' climb up to Suiattle Pass. It wasn't difficult, the trail was at a really gentle, mellow grade, but goodness me it was long. It was also completely viewless

- Typoed on my iPhone

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