We wake up to warm dry conditions on the last day. The clouds have completely left, and everything except for the ground cloth is bone dry. Mark discovers that his tent has fallen apart, the plastic window in the rainfly detached from the vestibule’s awning. He sticks his head out like a turtle. It’s time for a new tent.
Like the previous morning, breakfast today is designed for a fast clean-up. We have oatmeal and granola with dried berries, and all it took was some rinsing after the meal. Our goal was to leave by 8:00, but now, it’s quarter till nine, and we’re just heading out. My pack, now only half full because the food is eaten up, now fits Yan’s puffy jackets. We hustle to get out, since Yan has a flight to catch this afternoon; the rest of us still need to get to Coeur d’Alene.
Luckily, there’s only a short stretch of uphill. Brad’s and Grant’s gear have now completely dried, and my shoes are finally dry as well. As we round the ridge, we find beautiful Swiftcurrent Ridge Lake. Just beyond, the valley opens up to Lake Sherburne and Many Glacier. We weave between meadows and forest patches. Before long, we reach our car in the exact spot where we left it days ago. But unlike that first day, the sky is a calm blue, and a few scattered clouds hover over the glaciated mountains.
When we started, we had no idea that these 38 miles through wild terrain and haphazard weather would make this a gear testing trip. For Mark, it’ll be a new tent without a hole in the fly and a new cup. For Grant, it’ll be trekking poles. Brad will be looking into getting new gear that can withstand rain. For Yan, it’ll be a more compressible puffy jacket. As for me, I’ll upgrade my shorts, rain pants, and trekking poles. We both will get pack rain covers too.
Gear testing is over, and next time, we all will be able to laugh at the rain.