I had Dan bring me a new sleeping pad at Ross Lake, a full length inflatable one, and last night I had my best night of sleep on the trail. Indeed, I was sleeping so deeply, heavy rain on the tent but with the door unzipped to help dispel condensation buildup, that I was startled awake by the pitter patter of tiny feet on my head and at one in the morning had to shoe a mouse from my tent that had crept in and managed to chew on a number of my things before it trod on my head and woke me.
The trails in National Parks are usually well-maintained: good wide tread, built soundly, and brushed out. Some of the trails in North Cascades National Park are in decent shape, but the one I was on this morning was certainly not. It climbed a rugged, narrow river valley etched into the heart of the north Cascades, a valley whose sides are so scenicly steep that avalanches tumble into the trail on a regular basis. The brushing was the real problem though, something that would be annoying in any case but was terrible in the rain. Wet brush so thickly obscured the trail, towering even over my head, that I was horribly soaked, even through my rain gear, in minutes. Up and over Whatcom Pass, the wet conditions were sustained, but later in the afternoon the sun came in and out of the clouds and the incredible views of this remote part of the mountains opened up.
Later, I left the park and for the first time in days was off trail and on a road, but still in a beautiful mountain valley. As I was about to arrive where I planned to camp, a car pulled up behind me and offered to drive me down the road, off-route, for 11 miles to get a pizza to go and then bring me back to the trail. Yes! I got a hot pizza for dinner, which I ate under the privy overhang at the picnic area where I was camping, hiding from the rain.