I woke up with a very stiff neck. My pillow had unraveled during the chili night. But no matter, we’re in the backcountry. And there’s no one else here. We saw only two people (day hikers) yesterday and probably won’t see many people today either.
Sunrise was absolutely spectacular. The few clouds that lingered turning orange and pink before the sun greeted us.
We lounged about in our tents until 8am, finally deciding to brave the cold and take care of business.
Around 9 am we were finally hiking. We predicted to be up and over Koip Pass by 11. Boy were we wrong.
There was so much more snow on Koip mountain than we expected. It was slow going as we kicked steps into snow to make progress. We must have been the first group to hike this trail after the last snow fell.
As the sun made its way over Koip mountain, it softened the snow enough to make kicking steps easier.
We decided to skip the switchbacks and go straight up the mountain. It was slow going and hard work, but we kept at it. I’m not very comfortable on snow and this was Erin’s first time traversing snow.
We both did very well. The dropoffs were massive and there were a few stretchy, rocky sections to manouver around, but we did it – following our fearless, sure footed leader Laurie most of the way.
By noon, we had finally made it across the pass.
We were beat.
We dropped our packs and devoured most of the food in our sacks. After consuming too much guyere cheese, an entire tray of smoked salmon, gorp, powerberries, and ginger chews, we were ready to set off once again. Except we didn’t want to put on our wet socks and shoes.
Nature always has a way of getting you moving though. In this case, the wind began howling and we were moving in no time.
On the long downhill to Alger Lakes, we took off most of our layers and couldn’t believe how different the landscape was on the south side of Koip Peak.
At 5pm we made our way down to Gem Lake, where we made the decision to hike to Thousand Island Lake.
We climbed up to Gem Pass, then gradually down to the Waugh Lake/Agnew Pass junction. After a refill of water and snacks, we hiked the 2 miles to Agnew Pass.
It was 6:30pm and the light was fading, but we kept walking. No turning back now.
At 8pm we finally made it to Thousand Island Lake with our headlamps lighting the way.
We ate dinner and went to bed. Erin and Laurie again shared the Tarptent while I chose to sleep under the stars.
I don’t like critters, and I saw a few spiders and mice, but the night sky won me over.