|(Photo: Ross Lake, North Cascades National Park)|
|(Photo: Castle Pass Trail ahead, somewhere)|
What was once Castle Pass Trail, a path that years ago would have lead us from Ross Lake to the Pacific Crest Trail, about three miles from the northern terminus, was now reclaimed by the forest. Mudslides had taken out some sections. Pine trees taller than me grew in the middle of the trail and constantly climbing over and under fallen trees reduced our normal speed of three miles per hour to one.
The switchbacks Red referred to were over three miles long with an elevation gain of 3,000 feet. We hoped the trail would be more visible at higher elevations, but this looked like the end of the line.
“Sh*t! You alright?” I asked.
“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I think so.” He unbuckled his backpack and slid out of it, so he could get back to his feet.
“I think we’re going to have to go back.” I said. Even if we get around this, we still have fifteen miles to go and our slow progress meant we'd run out of food before the next resupply. “I say we cut our losses and find a new route.”
|(Photo: "Oh hold on, let me get a selfie of your selfie.")|
"Look at the map," I said. "Is there another route to the PCT we could take?"
Red pulled out the map. "Yeah," he said with a sigh. "Devil's Ridge."