Archive for the ‘Washington – I’ Category

Monday, Sept. 20 Manning Park–we made it! 2,663.5 miles!

Monday, September 20th, 2010


It rained off and on all night, and the little bit of trench we made managed to do a good job of keeping  the rainwater from running under the tarp.  I didn’t sleep much–actually that has become “normal” for me, since we have no functioning alarm clock to wake us up in the dark at 5:00 or so. 

It was very cold as we ate up our breakfast granola–I could see my breath under the tarp!  Huddled under the tarp as the rain continued, we packed up our stuff and cheered at the thought, “Who cares if we get wet and cold today?  We’re almost done!”  Once we are all done stowing gear, and have put on our packs and picked up our trek poles, we always pray and give the day to God.  Today we were able to say, “Thankyou, Lord, that we are almost to Canada!  Help us finish well.” 

The PCT was basically headed down toward the Canada border, which was nice–no more big hills to climb!  There was one confusing junction where we temporarily went off on the wrong trail, because the trail SIGN was mounted way up on a tree, and there was a branch hanging down over it so we didn’t see it at first.  It didn’t take long for us to figure out we were no longer on the PCT–when we turned around and went back, we spotted the sign.  Oh well. 

But there were an awful lot of plants hanging over the PCT, and they were soaking wet from the rain.  Pushing through them was like taking a shower with all your clothes on.  Early on, the clouds were very low, so we could see very little, but gradually they lifted (plus we got lower!) and we began to see the mountains up ahead.  Of course that meant we were straining to make out the border!   The trail wandered gradually down, but finally we came to the last 4 switchbacks that take you down to Monument 78.  Once the trail started switchbacking, I was cheering, “Yes!  We are almost there!” 

We arrived at the US-Canada border, still  in the rain, and found somebody had camped right at the monument. He/she had managed to squeeze a tent onto the little bit of flat ground available.  “Hi, there!” I sang out, and it turned out to be The Graduate, who was contentedly reading a book, still in the warmth of his sleeping bag!   “Could you take our picture?”  I asked, thinking he could do it easily without even getting up, but it turned out he was waiting for us to show up so that WE could take pictures of  HIM!  So he put on his shoes and we had a mutual photo session.  It turned out The Graduate had not yet signed the register, because he couldn’t figure out how to get at it.  We were happy to show him how, and we all signed it.  

 Then we headed out for Manning Park. The first part of the PCT right after the monument is not a trail. It is an obstacle course. I’d been warned about it by some of the SOBOs, and they were right.  It was so bad that for a joke, I started a mental check list to see if I’d yet met every conceivable trail obstacle.  Let’s see–there was a broken bridge that had me standing there staring and saying to myself, “How in the world am I supposed to get across THIS?” (I did get across, very gingerly!).  There were large holes that I had to negotiate around, plus stretches of trail that were basically a soaking wet mess of tangled plants to get through.  There were rocks to climb over, and most of all, there was mud, mud, mud, while the rain continued to come down.  Fun!  Bill is very good at zipping through all of the above, and he was soon far ahead of me.

Finally the obstacle course was done.  Hooray!  The PCT went back to being just a nice trail climbing up the side of a mountain canyon.  The fall foliage was gorgeous.  There is one kind of  low-growing bush that turns a brilliant bright yellow color–it looks like sunshine on the ground and a couple of times as I looked up ahead, I’d see it and think for a second, “Look!  A sunpatch!  The sun must be trying to come out!”  But one look at the dense gray sky and continuing rain would give me a reality check–“Oh bother!  It’s that pretty yellow bush again!”  I started calling it “The Sunshine Bush.”




I caught up with Bill at the top of Windy Joe Mountain, where he was waiting for me and exploring the campsites that are located up there.  (His conclusion was, “I’m glad we are not camping here tonight!  Everything is soaking wet and there are no genuinely FLAT places!”), then we started the long roadwalk downhill to Manning Park. I remembered this from 2005, and I’d been looking forward to it, thinking, “Oh, won’t it be nice to stroll down the road, enjoying all the lovely fall colors?” Well, make that hurry along, dodging the evergrowing puddles, in the pouring rain, wet and cold.  The Graduate passed us–he was meeting his parents at the trailhead.  He was rejoicing– “I get to sleep in my own bed tonight!”  I wondered where WE would be sleeping tonight??  Abbotsford, perhaps, as we did in 2005?

Finally we reached TRAIL’s END!  Hooray!  But after a few pictures, we headed off down the road to Manning Park, as rain continued.


When we arrived at Manning Park Lodge,  we found out that we’d just missed the only bus by an hour (it left at 11:00 am), and there wouldn’t be another till tomorrow morning. We couldn’t wait that long, not with our Amtrak booking already set up for the morning of Sept. 22.  So we two cold PCT SUCCESSFUL THRUHIKERS!!!! headed into the restaurant for big bowls of hot soup, a sandwich each, and hot coffee. I was worried about Bill–his hands were freezing cold and he just could not get them warm.  The food was VERY good!  There were a lot of people in the restaurant, and I very politely inquired of each group whether they were headed in the direction of Abbotsford, in hopes of finding a ride.  No luck.  Everybody was either heading east, or already had a carful of  folks. So  I headed out into the parking lot to try for a ride there. It was tough. It was still raining, and it seemed as if everybody was going east, not west. Bill and I even tried going out to the highway to stick out our thumbs and hitchhike, but all the cars just went roaring by.  It was pretty discouraging. 

 So back to the parking lot we went, and I stayed outside looking for more “ride possibilities” while Bill went back inside to phone up our Chevron/Techron credit card company, since the card was refused when we tried to pay for lunch.  (The Capital One card DID work)  While I waited for people to come out of either the lodge or the restaurant, I entertained myself by reading a large informational sign, and that’s when I discovered the “wonderful” fact that there are now GRIZZLIES in this area!  Apparently since the “grizz” are now protected, they have been making a comeback.  Man, I am glad I didn’t know that!  I don’t mind black bears, and have no problem with chasing them away or bossing them around, but grizz!!!  Yikes!

Finally a nice older couple offered us a ride, and we were on our way, with our packs perched on our laps (not too bad–we only had basic gear in them–no bulging food bags!), down, down out of the mountains, while rain continued to pour down.  I thought about the 3 mile walk back to the US border from Abbotsford, and the thought of doing it in the rain was NOT very appealing.

But once we were down in the Fraser River Valley, the rain stopped, the clouds began to break up, and by the time the kind couple dropped us off at the park ‘n ride by the highway, the SUN was SHINING!  Oh man, did it feel good!  It was 4:30 pm, so we had to do the walk along Highway 11 with rush hour commute traffic roaring by.  It took an hour to do the 3 miles, because we had to wait at traffic lights.  One of the houses along the way was bedecked with Canadian flags.



Once we arrived at the border station, we had a long wait.  There were hardly any “border guys” on duty, and a lot of folks who wanted to go through. I was worried, because I knew Bill and I were fresh from the trail after days of rain, so we didn’t look very reputable or impressive.  We started talking to another guy who was waiting, too, and that helped pass the time.  When it was finally our turn,  the official guy just looked at our passports and waved us through.  No problem!  Whew!  In 2005, we had to explain ourselves a bit.  Not this time!

We stepped out the door into Sumas, Washington.   We dodged huge puddles (I guess it rained in Sumas, too??) and  lost no time finding a place to stay(right across the street, and only $45 for the two of us–not bad!).  We hung our wet gear up in the bathroom to begin the drying process, and then headed down the street looking for a place to eat.  The only place open was a Mexican restaurant called El Nopal, so that’s where we had dinner, and joked about “this is becoming our PCT tradition–we have to finish up with dinner at a Mexican restaurant!”, because that’s exactly what happened to us in 2005 also!  The food was very good, and then we headed back to the motel for showers, more gear-drying and sorting, plus phoning home to say “We did it!  We are back in the USA!”

Then we were very glad to collapse into a soft, dry, warm bed–our plans for tomorrow include taking several local buses to get to Seattle, and the first bus leaves at 6:35 am.   It almost felt unreal that after so many months, we were finally done,  and pretty much safe, too (other than a few scrapes and bruises).   Thanks be to God!

Sat. Sept. 18 Miles today: 26.2 Actual total: 2,621.7 miles

Saturday, September 18th, 2010



We ate breakfast at 5:30 am, but it was still so dark when we finished that we waited a bit before packing up.  It rained off and on all night, and was still raining as we loaded our packs under the protection of the tarp, and we set off hiking in the rain, too.  But after less than an hour, the rain stopped, and did not return.  Hooray!  (Though we were “up in the clouds” all day, and did have to deal with a lot of “fog drip”).

The first project of the day was to finish the climb up to Cutthroat Pass.  The drippy clouds at that point were lifted up high enough that we could see more than just trailside plants.  We could see some mountainsides, and the fall foliage was beautiful.  An added plus was that the trail was wide enough that we were not having to push through soaking wet vegetation,  but just walk happily along–the very wet plants could not touch us.  As we climbed higher and closer to the top of the pass, the terrain became more stark and alpine.  Soon we were actually IN the clouds.  The top of the pass was completely barren (except for a PCT sign), and as we began the descent, the clouds were so thick that we could not see a thing.  The trail switchbacks down, with big dropoffs on one side, which had me really nervous in 2005, but were not a problem this time.  The wind was blowing, and the clouds were moving around, so occasionally we’d get a glimpse of the huge, deep valleys below or of the snow-capped peaks up above.  The PCT heads down to Grant’s Pass, then follows a long, contouring climb up to Methow Pass.

From the top of Methow Pass, we headed down again into the Methow River valley, and it was quite a “down”!  Bill joked, “Are we going back to sea level, do you think?”  The long walk down could have been more enjoyable, but we were in clouds and couldn’t see anything but the forest right by the trail.  There were lots of little rockhop creeks to cross before we finally reached the valley floor.  We stopped for lunch at Willis Camp, by Golden Creek.  When I was rummaging in the food bags, I discovered that a mouse had gotten into the cookies in Bill’s food bag.  We ate them anyway, along with hot (!!yum!!) coffee the Manns had given us, and a backpacker version of tuna casserole (Lipton Side of noodles & sauce, plus a packet of tuna, plus freezedried peas.  Love this stuff!!)  It was very cold down in the valley, but not raining, so while we ate, we hung our very wet tarp between two trees to dry off a bit, and managed to dry the ground cloth a little bit, too.

The long climb out of the valley up to Glacier Pass took most of the afternoon.  Basically it involved a lot of contouring and switchbacking, in and out of avalanche paths and forest.  The “avalanche sections” were very overgrown with floppy wet plants, and the PCT there was rocky and muddy–what a mess!  It’s the sort of situation where you just have to grin and say, “Are we having fun yet?   Wheeeee!”  and keep on walking.  Eventually, as the trail climbed higher, there were no more big floppy plants–just very steep grassy hillsides.  We still couldn’t see anything except for one brief moment when the clouds parted and we could see some views.  The wildflowers along the trail are pretty much just faded and dry, but the fall foliage was very colorful.  The little six inch high huckleberry plants had lots of ripe berries–I ate a few, but it’s hard to bend over that low with a backpack on, while continuing to hike!

We reached Glacier Pass (which had a nice campsite) and mushed on for another hour to the final top of the climb.  From there we watched the trail and map carefully, because there was supposed to be a campsite with water up ahead.  In 2005, we couldn’t find the water, and that was hard, because from that point, there is no more water for 15-20 miles (depending on which guidebook you follow).  Complicating our search was the fact that we were IN the clouds.  It was like being in a dense tule fog back home.   We did locate the campsite, and the serious water search began.  First step is simply to stand still and LISTEN–that’s often the best way to locate a small, hidden water source.  But this time, careful listening didn’t help.  A number of different little paths led downhill from the campsite, so I headed off on one, and Bill on another.  I had no luck, but Bill did.  He found the water, a ways down the hill, coming from a small spring located in a little meadow.   We collected water and sat down to eat some supper, enjoying the fact that we were down out of the wind behind some rocks.  The best part of all was that a totally cute little pika came out of the rocks nearby and sat “meeping” at us.  (I have decided that the best way to describe a pika’s voice is that it “meeps”). 

Then it was back up to the trail, continuing on in a very cold wind and thick clouds. Brrrr!  But we were very glad it was not raining–just cloud mist and no more.  Less than a mile along, we met a SOBO hiker who asked if we’d seen “the campsite with water”.  We assured him that we’d just come from there, and told him how to find the water; he was delighted.  After wishing each other well, we went our separate ways, but now it was MY turn to be worried about finding a campsite.  We could not see more than about 20-30 feet in the thick clouds, and the PCT was endlessly contouring along a very steep hillside in a bitter cold wind.  The map showed a saddle up ahead–hopefully we’d find some flat ground there, and soon, because by 7 pm it starts to get dark.

We reached the saddle and were terribly disappointed.  Not only were there no flat places (it was too narrow), but everything was blackened by a relatively recent forest fire.  All we could do was to keep going, and now I was seriously praying for God’s help in spotting something despite all the clouds.  Finally, just before dark, the mountainside widened out a bit, and I saw a slightly sloping, but still reasonably flat little spot just down from the trail. It was all covered with some sort of dwarf heather stuff, but we put down our ground cloth anyway, and got our tarp up just before it became truly dark.  The wind was rushing and roaring all around us, but the heather made a very soft “mattress”.  At around 9 pm came the pitterpatter of rain on the tarp, but we were snug and warm.  I thought about tomorrow–it will be our last “regular hiking day” of this journey.  “Will the sun come out?” I wondered.  Bill commented that the weather forecasts in Washington state shouldn’t ever say “Chance of rain”–they should just be realistic and say “It WILL rain.”  What they should be saying is “Chance of SUN”, because that really IS chancy!  Well, we will see what tomorrow brings!

Fri. Sept. 17 Miles today: 21.4 Actual total: 2,595.5 miles

Saturday, September 18th, 2010



It sure was nice to be in a warm, comfortable bed last night and listen to the rain pouring down OUTSIDE.  It had turned into just a bit of “drip” when I got up very “late”, at 6:15, to sort food and load the packs before breakfast at 7 am.  It was another awesome Stehekin Valley Ranch meal–eggs & potatoes, tomatoes, biscuits, fruit & yogurt, French toast and plenty of cowboy coffee.  I also made us a great “trail lunch” from the fixings laid out–AND Kerry Courtney (wife of the owner) had even set aside a pound of cheese for me, since I’d asked if I could buy some to supplement our trail food.

Mr. Courtney, the owner of the Ranch, was away campaigning for Congress!  He is one awesome guy, and I told his wife that I sincerely wished I could vote for him instead of the lame candidates we have down in California.  I read his campaign literature and was very impressed.  He said he felt he just could not continue to “hole up” in his little heaven-on-earth in Stehekin Valley and watch his beloved USA “go down the tubes.”   I wish him all success!

At 8:30 am, a bunch of us piled onto the bus to head back to the PCT.  One fellow was a “regular” backpacker, and the rest were dayhikers.  We were very surprised to be the only thruhikers.  Since there were several of “us thruhikers” going into town on the bus yesterday, we figured there would be a whole crowd this morning.  Nope.  It was just us.   At the PCT trailhead, there were some PCT hikers waiting for the bus.  They planned to share some rooms at the motel in town.  We gave them the lowdown on where everything was, and where to get food,  then we shook hands and wished each other well on the last push to Canada.

When you leave the trailhead at the bus stop, you have a choice–either walk the PCT (which, true to form, goes up, up, up and down, down) or you can just walk the dirt road till the PCT comes down to it–much easier and quicker.  We decided, though, to stick with the PCT.   The trail immediately climbs right up a rocky hillside and passes very pretty Coon Lake.   The trailside fall foliage was lovely, and overhead it was cloudy, with an occasional sunbeam momentarily breaking through.  We wore our raingear because the bushes along the trail were dripping wet.   I like the “pattern” of the trail here–it goes up, up, up, then flattens for awhile before heading up again.   So we would huff ‘n puff for a bit, then be able to hike easily and enjoy the views before it was huff ‘n puff time again.  Another great thing was that we could actually SEE where we were going, since it wasn’t raining (yet!) and the mountains are so huge.   I like the feeling that I’m actually making progress!

The PCT basically winds its way up a long forested canyon with very steep sides.  What’s really awesome is that every time you reach a side canyon, you get a glimpse of massive, snowclad mountains up at the head of the side canyon.  There are lots of creek crossings to do–some have bridges, and some are rockhops.  One of the creeks had a suspension bridge, but the trail up to the bridge was so unbelievably rough and rocky that we turned off and just rockhopped across the creek.  We stopped for lunch at one of the bridges, and I took off my wet rainpants and hung them on a rock to dry.  Bill did the same. 

But after lunch, when we were packing up our gear,  I picked up my rainpants and stowed them in my pack, but Bill did not remember to get his pants.  They were gray, and almost perfectly matched the color of the rock they were lying on, so I did not notice them, either, and we took off.  By the time Bill realized he’d forgotten his rainpants, we’d covered a lot of miles, so going back to retrieve them was out of the question.  Major bummer, given the weather (rain immanent) and temperatures (cold).  I was very worried and upset when I realized what had happened. 

We reached the highway near Rainy Pass, and followed the trail as it paralleled the road for quite a ways.  We could hear the cars going by, just out of sight.   The forest was quite a color contrast–very green evergreens with brilliant fall foliage on the deciduous trees.  When we finally reached the highway crossing, there were two backpacker guys who’d just finished a 70 mile hike and were waiting for their wives to come pick them up.  They were very tired!  But they were thrilled to meet two “real thruhikers” and plied us with questions for a little while before we headed on to the trailhead parking area.

In the parking area, a young couple were just taking off their packs and getting ready to stow them in their car.  Unfortunately, they had a dog with them, and he rushed at us, fangs bared, barking fiercely.  We brandished our trek poles and shouted to the couple to get their dog under control.  Their reaction was typical–they became very huffy because we had “threatened their dog!”  Unbelievable!  I will never understand such people!    They finally collared the dog and put him in the car, and left.  We lowered our trek poles and growled to ourselves!   Grrrrr! 

After eating some supper, we put in a couple more miles before looking for a place to camp.  It is getting dark earlier and earlier–our hiking day is a lot shorter than it used to be!  Finding a campsite wasn’t easy, though–the PCT was doing its usual side-of-the-mountain route, and there were no flat places.  Plus, it’s Washington, and there are lots of plants covering the forest floor.  I finally spotted a possibility a bit after Porcupine Creek,  but it looked like rain was immanent, so we did trench the “uphill side” of the tarp.  Then we unpacked, and that’s when Bill discovered he’d left his rainpants far behind, drying on the rock.   He was quite disgusted, and I was very worried and upset.  We are heading into a lot of very exposed,  above-timberline situations, and the forecast was for cold rain all day tomorrow. 

Just as we finished cleaning ourselves up and crawled into our sleeping bags, the rain began.  As I write this, it’s not a heavy rain, just steady.  Maybe it will finish by morning??  At any rate, I am very grateful for a whole day of hiking today with NO rain!   And there are only 3 more days to Manning Park!   But I am very, very worried about Bill, with no rainpants.  I depend heavily on mine, not only in rain, but in any very cold weather.  And that’s what we are heading into.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 Miles Today: 5.2 Actual Total: 2,401.7

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

It absolutely poured deluges and buckets of rain last night. The tarp held up under it just fine, but the rain fell so hard that some of it actually splashed up around the edges, so a few of our things got splashed on. No matter— we were headed for Snoqualmie Pass. We reached Summit Lodge at 9:00am, and megabummer!!   The restaurant we’ve been looking forward to was closed for remodeling.  But it didn’t take us long to spot  a wonderful espresso place next door where we stuffed ourselves quite nicely.  It was wonderful to be out of the rain, clouds and cold for awhile, and we weren’t the only PCT hikers there–it was fun to “talk trail” with everybody.  The general consensus was cheerful and determined in spite of the weather.  We also heard the sad story of a PCT hiker couple who came in yesterday and QUIT.  After hiking all the way up from Mexico, they’d been very discouraged by all the rain, and then the night before they got to Snoqualmie Pass, they woke up in the middle of the night to discover that they were in the middle of a large puddle and all their stuff was soaking wet.  That was the last straw, and they decided to give up the hike.  When they arrived at Snoqualmie, the other hikers begged them not to quit, but they were absolutely determined and would listen to no hopeful ideas.  So they have headed home.  Bummer.  Bill and I (and the others) plan to head for Canada tomorrow.

A little stroll over to the Summit Inn and we  got a room to stay in.  But I was really concerned about how seriously wet and dirty we and our packs & gear are.  I hated the thought of messing up a nice motel room.  So I asked the front desk for some big black plastic garbage bags we could put down on the floor in the room so when we set down our stuff we would not mess up the carpet.  We also took off our muddy, wet shoes and socks before going to our room, and carried them carefully (no dripping!)  We also called Water Boy and Early Girl to let them know we have arrived (they have our resupply box)

We were enjoying our warm room, clean dry clothes, and dry gear when WB and EG arrived with our box.  They wanted to actually meet us and find out how we managed to hike at our age (they are about the same age we are).  So we showed them all our gear (they were amazed at how lightweight we travel–they carry more stuff and have heavier packs).  They had just finished hiking the last part of the PCT, and Early Girl warned me “That last bit from the border monument to Manning Park isn’t a trail–it’s an obstacle course!”  They also had a lot of rain to deal with and said as a result they had a couple of hairy river crossings, but that overall they had a great time!

Well,  tomorrow we head for Canada. We hope to cross the border on September 20, if all goes well. The weather— well, that’s another story. Unseasonable rain and cold are due to continue. I figure this is a chance to practice, “enjoying the moment no matter what” and also a chance to hear God’s answer to the question, “Lord, what do You want me to learn from this?”

Last, but not least, I’d like to wish a Happy New Year to all our Jewish friends, both Messianic and “non”. May this be a blessed year to you all. The next post you’ll have from us will be after we make it to Canada!

Walk with Aragorn to Minas Tirith: Road begins swinging toward the River Anduin.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 Miles Today: 26.7 Actual Total: 2,396.5

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Wow! It rained and rained all night, but the sandy/rocky soil we were camped on soaked it all up just fine.  However, the air itself was so damp that even though we stayed warm and comfortable, our sleeping bags have picked up some moisture.  We really need a sunbreak so we can air and dry things! The rain stopped (hooray!) when it was time to pack up.  So nice to be able to do a normal packup instead of trying to hunker under the tarp.  We said goodbye to our fellow camper (he was not up yet, but was eating breakfast).  The rain resumed when we started hiking. It rained most of the day after that, and since much of the time we were pushing through wet huckleberry bushes, it was a very wet day!  I was very glad to have an umbrella–it makes rainy day hiking much more enjoyable.   Another young hiker couple caught up with us and when they saw my umbrella, the girl said, “Duh, why didn’t I think of that?  I’m going to get an umbrella, too!”

Many of the bushes had ripe huckleberries, but when it is 50 degrees and raining, we didn’t feel very inclined to stop and pick huckleberries! I did notice that the berry bushes on rockier, drier hillsides were starting to turn red, while those in wetter, forested areas are still green.  There were no views today except an occasional glimpse of a nearby mountainside.  As the rain continued, soon the trail itself was one long mud puddle which at times turned into a creek.  Bill and I both now have “dishpan feet” from being in soaking wet socks and shoes all day long.

At our morning Snickers break, along came 3 cheerful young thruhiker guys. “Hey, hikertrash!” they cheered.  “Isn’t the PCT the BEST trail in the world?”  We yelled back, “Yes, it is!”  The young guys waved and on they went, all raingeared up, packcovers on, and moving fast.  Soon we were headed on, too, planning for lunch at Stampede Pass weather station. Big disappointment! The cute little house was boarded up, the water shut off, and it was still raining.  We found a tiny covered entryway that had just enough room to squeeze in with our packs, and I sat outside in the rain under my umbrella (LOVE the umbrella!) to cook dinner, then retreated into the entryway to eat.  (See note below from Alexa!)

But now we were really seriously low on water (we’d counted on the faucet at the weather station) and the next creek was 5 miles away.  Oh well, we kept walking.  But surprise!  At Stampede Pass, there was a water cache!!  That really cheered us up.  The afternoon was a rerun of the morning–lots of long ups and downs, in the rain, pushing through wet huckleberries.  The trail became rockier and rockier, but I remembered this from our 2005 thruhike, so was expecting it.  The forest here is actually very pretty, with lots of mossy rocks, but in the cold and rain, we didn’t stop to enjoy the beauty–just took sideways glances at it.  Our goal was to get as close as we could to Snoqualmie Pass where we can get warm, dry and clean!  We stopped for supper at Mirror Lake, then kept going till 7:00 and camped.  We can just faintly hear the noise of traffic on I-90, so we must be almost there, but we could not see anything in all the clouds and rain and we were really tired, so we decided to call it a day.  All our gear is now a bit damp, so it may be a challenge to stay warm and get a good night’s sleep.  We’ll see!

Note from Alexa: Sounds like the time in Wales where the only dry area Monty could find to write in was in a castle dungeon!

Walk with Aragorn to Minas Tirith: Walking parallel with the River Anduin.