One of the first "fall" overnight hikes I ever did was back in 1998, after I had returned from Japan. Kevin, myself, and two others from the outdoor club at the University of Washington, spent a night at Horseshoe Lake. (This is me on pretty much the same trip eight years later.) I recall Kevin taking my picture, with me posing in from of the golden larches, wearing my orange, factory-outlet bought Land's End fleece jacket with one pocket sewn on backwards. Last year I had a orange Salomon ski jacket that was paired in Kevin's fall color photography. I've since progressed to a proper down jacket — green this time.
Hitomi did not go. She had the (lame) excuse of having a hair cut appointment on Saturday. The weekend forecast was excellent: A break in the cloudy, rainy weather of the past month and a half, with sun on both days. Like last year, and the year before, Kevin, Chris Cass, Cinnamon (real name), and Jessica (?) were in attendance. Along this year was a couple, John and Becky, driving in from Spokane. The plan was to hike 10 miles out, over Cutthroat Pass, to Snowy Lakes on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I did this hike with Hitomi (and about 10 others) August, 2003 and we got rained on, while my cook stove malfunctioned in the wind. The hike is easy, only on a few thousand elevation gain. But this year, there was a lot of snow already. And for those people who hiked in tennis shoes and untreated boots were soon hiking with wet feet. (I lacked gators but only ended up slightly damp socks.) With a large group and slow progress as well, it was also clear we wouldn't arrive at camp before 6PM, dusk. At the pass (Cutthroat Pass), the group decided to end the hike early and make camp.
The view was fine, but we were camping in snow. It seems most were unprepared for the early snow, and John and Becky in particular lacked a change of socks or warm enough clothes for the night. On a couple of bare rocks we set up our multiple stoves, making hot food, melting snow for water, soup, tea, etc., passing around bottles of wine, whiskey, or gin in lightweight plastic bottles. When we finished with dinner it was dark. The sky was full of stars, the Milky Way a glowing stripe over the sky, the moon somewhere on the other side of the planet. What a rare sight! But it was around 9PM and time for bed.
We brought three tents for seven. It was thought Jessica's two-person tent might actually fit yet another person and if so we might as well share space to stay warm. Though three inside was overly optimistic: When I put my ground pad inside, the pad itself took up more than half the space, and there were two more pads to lay. Still, Kevin, Jessica (in the middle) and I all managed to wedge ourselves inside the structure, with Kevin's feet stuck out the door. I'm not sure who was sleeping on who's pad. We kept warm, however.
Breakfast another meal where everyone trying to keep warm, though the clothes began to come off, rather than the opposite during the night. I brought a variety of food: donuts, fresh fruit, freeze dried soup, teas, cheese, etc. The sun was out, then it grew cloudy, then it was sunny again. We walked around the pass for pictures.
The hike down went quickly. I pealed off layers of clothing as the elevation dropped. We met at the car for beers, donuts, and farewells.