PNT day 38 – Cathedral Pass


Old Tungsten Mine Camp (637.4) to Barker Brown Trail Camp (657.5)

20.1 miles

I woke up around 6:30, still tired. It took me a while to leave my cozy sleeping bag. The morning was a bit chilly and the mosquitos which had bothered me the night before were still sleeping while I packed my stuff. Nevertheless I had breakfast in my tent still sitting in my sleeping bag.

When I was finally ready to go I made my way up from my campsite to the old mine building and turned west onto the trail. On today’s program was Cathedral Pass – with more than 7500 ft the highest point on the PNT route. Only Tuchuck mountain which was on an alternate I haven’t done was higher. The trail went through forest and once I hit a saddle and could see a bit ahead it turned quite scenic.

The trail was more open now and I could see big stone mountains in the distance. But my mind was occupied. My foot was bothering me again and I was frustrated. Now that the trail finally was nice and scenic I had this pain that took away the fun of the hike. It took me a while until I gave in and took some Ibuprofen to take the edge of the pain. It made the second half of the climb much more pleasant and I could finally enjoy the views.

The climb up the pass went along the opposite mountainside of cathedral peak and as I hiked in the morning the sun was shining on the mountains which made for great illumination.

Climbing up and finally arriving at the pass Yosemite-like rocky mountains were towering left and right. Up on the pass I enjoyed the view and took some photos.

Hundreds of mosquitos (why are they so high??) convinced me to skip my usual pass break and hike down straight away. What a landscape!

I descended and turned towards Upper Cathedral Lake which was very scenic too. It would have been a nice place to stop for a while but I was on a tight schedule. I had to make some miles!

The trail was still nice and pleasant for a while until it reached a burned area and descended towards Ashnola River. The descent was a pain for me and Ibuprofen had stopped working long ago. I tried not to stumble and twist my right foot too much but I wasn’t always successful. I was already thinking about where I could spend the night. It didn’t seem appealing to me (and it isn’t safe) to camp amongst some burned trees. The campsite I had initially picked was too far away. Should I camp at the river?

I arrived at Ashnola past 4 pm. There was an ok campsite on the eastern side of it but checking my maps and schedule I knew I had to go further. There was supposed to be a trail camp with water after a couple of miles. I took my shoes off and forded the river which was up to my shins. After the river ford the trail climbed up again through a burned forest. At the low elevation the trail was overgrown and getting through was not so nice. I didn’t like that level of side vegetation.

When I got to the trail camp mentioned on the map there was none. Just burned trees. There was also no good water access and so I decided to head on. Short on water as I was I needed to hike another 3 miles to get to the next creek. It was already late and I was getting tired.

Surprisingly the trail left the burned forest and went through meadows with occasional trees.

If I could only find water! It took a while until a small stream crossed the trail. It was hard to fill my bottle there but I took enough to be able to camp. Another mile and I would be at a place where a cabin should be (which I knew wasn’t there) as well as a trail camp. There was neither a cabin nor a trail camp but I found a nice mountain meadow and made it my home for the night. After pitching my tent I sat down on some rocks to have dinner and bathed in the evening sun.

In my tent I took care of my foot, put some tiger balm on and massaged it for a while. Hopefully my body can manage this injury and repair it on the go. Today’s hike had been very nice – most of it – and I definitely wanted to see the Olympics and the coast. Let’s hope for the best!

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