Glen, Rae, and Douglas
Beginning Elevation = 10,750
Ending Elevation = 8,550
Elevation Range = 8,550 – 11,950
Weather: Sunny with some clouds, super nice, bit of light rain in evening
“Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!
It’s time to try defying gravity
I think I’ll try defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down”
– Idina Menzel in Wicked
We took off from camp at 7:40 am and started climbing. It was 2 miles and 1,200 feet of elevation gain to reach Glen Pass. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?
Wrong! Never underestimate Glen…
Glen kicked our butts…again. These first 21 mile of PCT would be repeat miles for all of us since we’d trekked through it together in 2019. It was all snow covered then, so quite a different look to it this time around…
It took us about 3 hours to reach the pass. We hung out, taking some photos with some other backpackers for a while, then started switchbacking our way down the other side.
From my understanding, there are three different lake bodies that make up Rae Lakes. In the photo above, they’re the ones right above Cheer’s head. We followed the trail as it wound its way down to them and arrived to the uppermost lake a little after noon. Lunch and a long break were needed. And we went for our very first alpine lake swim of the trek…a very brisk, refreshing, and quick swim!
The rest of the day was pretty much flat or downhill hiking, but even so, this high elevation stuff was getting to us. It helped that our surroundings were stunning! We went wound around the other Rae Lakes, and passed by Arrowhead Lake and Dollar Lake. As we continued, we’d see the South Fork of Woods Creek every now and then, which was heading the same course as us down valley. We also crossed over the infamous Baxter Creek, which had given us quite some grief trying to cross last year during high snow melt season. This time it was a laughably easy rock hop across!
It appeared a storm might be brewing on the horizon…
Around 6 or 7 o’clock in the pm, we traveled through a familiar grove of giant trees before things opened up near the Woods Creek suspension bridge. The clouds seemed to be getting darker and it may have briefly started sprinkling rain a bit too. We had planned to try and go further still, starting our trek up towards the next pass, but the ominous clouds and the realization that our team’s energy was spent, caused us to decide to camp right there. I think Cheer had a headache and so we thought best not to push it too. It was a gorgeous spot and there was even a bear box container for us to use.
After setting up quickly, we gathered on a large flat-ish rock where we ate our dinners and I attempted to lead the group in some yoga stretches. Luckily, the rain never seemed to develop and we witnessed some nice color on the giant rock wall that was our view for the evening.
Calzone apparently got lost at one point too…
I was discovering how very different an experience this was compared to going through solo at the end of last year. It was so much fun having each other to hike and joke around with. And, this time around we were able to skip that phase of being unsure how much to share/reveal with one another and went straight to feeling free being our truest selves! The other backpackers around us were probably frustrated we’d showed up because we were laughing so much and so loud.