Larch Jaunt at Cutthroat Pass

Updated: Jun 4, 2018

I really wanted to get up to Cutthroat Pass to see the larches, but with travel and weather conditions, I only had one small window. I had camped somewhat nearby the previous night en route to somewhere else and decided to try to venture up the PCT to see what I could see (hehe) before I had to continue on. There had been a fair amount of snowfall recently and the previous weekend had held some fairly stormy weather. I knew from one recent trip report that one pair of individuals had trekked their way through the snow most of the way before having to turn back. Their tracks helped make the trail easy to locate. 

As I walked through the woods, I watched the sun's glow slowly begin to illuminate the surrounding peaks between the trees, warming the area from the grey pre-dawn light.

It was chilly, but not too bad, and the sky above was reassuringly clear (though we all know how quickly the weather can change in the mountains!). It's so cool how each of the peaks in the lineup has its own look and personality of sorts. One peak in particular - Black Peak - was a sight I couldn't get enough of, and I was glad that there were opportunities to catch good looks at it between the vegetation. 


I love how each of us can just be drawn to some things for no clear reason. I feel like it hints at things about us that we might not even be able to clearly identify - something in one person that draws them toward this and something in another person that draws them toward that... It's fun to note and speculate on.

After winding through the woods for a bit and over a few little waterways, the trail began to climb more. I watched the sun's rays continue to progress across the landscape. I was out in the open now, hiking my way around a ridge. I could see scattered larches glowing across the way and loved the sight - a hint of more to come. 

Soon I found myself in the thick of the larches - the bronzed gold standing out gloriously from the surrounding snow. 

A short ways from the top, as I was running out of time, the packed trail set by the intrepid hikers from the previous days stopped abruptly. I surmised this must be where they had made their turnaround. I continued on to the pass, post-holing as I went and continuing to love the dawn's glow beginning to light up the trees.

All too soon, it was time to head back. I had pushed my timing limits as far as I could. But I'll be back again!

Gear shout-outs: Marmot Teton Sleeping Bag; Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Sleeping Bag; REI first aid kit;

#findyourpark #northcascades #pnwonderland #larches

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