A hard day

Day 19 – 7/25/16
Small camp after Piper Pass
Miles 18.8
Total Miles 306.9 (PCT 2446.4)
It was the warmest night we have had on the trail. We had all the vestibules open and we were still too hot. We got up and packed quickly. We wanted to climb as much of the valley before the sun hit us. We made a good distance. The trail worked its way up a low valley toward a meadow with a lake in it below Cathedral Pass, which was our next goal. We crossed the meadow and headed up the pass. The last of the climb was not long, just a few switch backs that carried us up quickly. We took a break at the top of the pass. We ate and enjoyed the views around us. The next obstacle was a river crossing that has a  dangerous reputation depending on snow melt and the time of the year.  Back in 2011, which was a record snow year up here, Bling was nine and Little Crow was six, we tried to cross it in mid July. It was too dangerous for them so we had to find another way around it. We had to crawl and bushwhack our way through devil’s club to reach the bottom of the valley where the river mellowed out. There is a reason devil’s club is called what it is. The plant as thorns completely covering every micro centimeter of its stem. Also the underside of its leaves are covered with painful thorns. We were all bloody after that adventure. Nonetheless we found a safe way to cross the river with two tiny kids. On last year hike, we were so late in the season that the water was low and not a problem.  Any ways, that was then and today as we approached the river with apprehension, we wondered what the crossing would be like.  The trail traversed in and out of valleys for about 3 miles until it came to the large river crossing. We stopped 100′ above it to take a look. To our relief, there were some logs crossing about half of it, which was the deepest part. If they were not there, we would have a scary time crossing the river. We went down to the river’s edge and Papa Raven dropped his pack and walked up-stream to where a down log was. It took him about 5 minutes to work the log loose from the rocks. He then added it to the other two logs crossing the river. As he was doing this, two south-bounders were working their way across. We watched their path and they made it without a problem. Papa Raven unbuckled his hip belt on his pack and went across first. On river crossings, the hip belt and sternum straps should be left unbuckled. This way, if you should happen to fall in, you will be able to easily and quickly get the pack off. Wet, heavy backpacks have been known to hold people under water and drown them. Papa Raven made it to an island in the middle of the river, dropped his pack and went back to help everyone else across. Bling came next without any problems. Then Little Crow, she did need a helping hand in a few places. As Mama Raven crossed,  Bling had found a way across the rest of the river and he was helping Little Crow through it. Finally, Mama Raven crossed the last part of the river and then we worked our way down to the trail. We had made it across with only a few wet feet. Since we were stopped, we ate and filtered water. The next part of the trail is a long traversing climb over Deception Pass and then on to Piper Pass. This took the rest of the day. We then hiked down below the pass, about. 5 miles, to the first camp we could find and stopped for the night.
Current problems: on the way up to Piper Pass, Bling became very tired and came down with a bad sore throat. Mama Raven has been fighting an infection with her ingrown toe nail since the beginning of the trip. Now it is green with infection.  Papa Raven is still fighting blisters, infact many blisters! The new shoes have helped but the feet need to heal. Little Crow is the only one without any problems!
Way to go Little Crow!!!

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