After days in town, getting moving is difficult. Especially when a pass reported to be difficult to climb and navigate is the first order of business. Far Out and I decided to hike the first few passes together, since he was new to slushy snow and navigating through giant, pointy and snow-covered fields of treacherous doom. From our starting point, there was a thousand foot climb up to the top, then a boulder pile of a trail down. Several paths had been picked out by previous hikers through the snow patches. Some aligned with the original trail; many meandered down steep snow-free zones. I chose some of each, wishing I'd gotten up earlier to avoid postholing in the slush. It took quite some searching for a way to meet back up with the PCT, but I did avoid the rock pile which dead-ended in a cliff; evidently, many other hikers had had to backtrack from there to a workaround.
Then down thousands of feet to catch the base of Pinchot Pass. Mosquitos swarmed. I was grateful to First Class for leaving me with her head net. And I was dead tired. Still, lakes, emerald and deep blue, kept popping up over each boulder pile with tiny, tight groups of fir and spruce. A distant waterfall, watched for miles, turned out to be our ultimate destination. We walked out to the smooth rock to see the origination point of the falls, gaping down at the valley we'd just ascended. On the bare rock, some stealthy PCT hiker had placed a marker for mile 800, setting up a stunning picture.