Suiattle Soak

My adventurous birthday “novice backcountry” hike got a little hairy when someone took a dunk in the Suiattle River. This is sopping wet Cherub after her successful log crossing of that ferocious glacial river, on the old (disused due to a bridge washout) PCT. Happy birthday to me!

Long story short, we couldn’t find the log crossing when we arrived at the River. Cherub decided to give a crossing a go. I wanted to let her do her thing, but also a nagging voice in my head made me hand her a stick with a length of Dyneema cord tied to it. She took a few steps in and quickly hit hip-depth. Cherub is not very tall. At that point she gave me an alarmed glance and abruptly slipped and fell all the way into the water. Luckily she had the dexterity to unwrap the stick and cord from around her neck and just hold onto that stick while I pulled and pulled. She and I are both convinced that without that cord, there was a good chance she would have died that day. The currents were extremely strong and cold.

Cherub was stunned and shivering badly, so I had her cross the log then I ferried both our packs across one-by-one to meet her. While doing so, I commanded her to take her clothes off and look through her pack for alternates, but she declined. Maybe she was just too stunned, maybe she was aware all her belongings had gone underwater. So instead, I pushed her to just hike up the several thousand foot incline ahead of us quickly without stopping, to build body heat. At the top we found cover from the rain and had some hot cocoa and sorted ourselves out. It was quite a traumatic experience for both of us. She astounded me with her resilience.