Friday, July 10, 2009
Day 1: Norman Creek-Cataract Pass-Nigel Pass
My buddy, Mike, joined me for the first day to see me off on my merry way. After grunting up the Norman Creek trail, it was a relief to see meadows so that we could start running but with the pack, it was harder than I expected. After enjoying the views from Sunset Pass, we headed down to Pinto Lake, climbing over lots of deadfall on the way where we were rewarded with the sight of a moose and her calf.
After consulting the map, we headed up Cataract Creek where we found a faint trail to follow. I knew this area would be the most remote and difficult to navigate through so I was surprised when we came across a defined trail but this ended very quickly and gave way to either no trail or sometimes a faint trail. Passing lots of grizzly digs and wolf prints, we kept heading in the general direction of where we thought Cataract Pass would be but once the landscape opened up, we realized that we had lots of options in regard to which route to take.
After struggling up to a ridge that we thought might be Cataract Pass, we realized that we needed to be further over in the valley. Oh well, at least we were rewarded with this amazing view!!
By the time we reached the Pass, I knew that Mike had to get out of there as quickly as possible if he was going to reach the Parkway by dark. He then had to head down the road as the car was still at the trailhead. So, as soon as we got ourselves down off the Pass, we split up. Mike zoomed off in the dusk and I sat, exhausted, on a rock trying to find enough energy to get to my first campsite. However, I was done. It'd been a long day and I was wiped out so I decided to do some random camping in the meadows. After finding a spot nestled amongst the trees, I pitched my tent and crashed for the night.