I am not sure I have ever taken a girls-only weekend trip, so I was excited to have some of my outdoor lady friends celebrate my impending nuptials on a 22+ mile backpacking weekend. A total of eight girls from different outdoor circles came together to help me celebrate. It could have only gone two ways….and you never know what you are going to get with a bunch of people that haven’t spent time in the outdoors together.

Different backpacking styles were brought into the mix. The fast and light backpackers, the comfortable backpackers, and ones settled in between the two. We have hikers, climbers, backpackers, and runners in the group, so it was fun to see how the mix of athletics came into play.

Golden Horn Bachelorette

Spoiler alert–WE HAD A BLAST!

A plan with gear lists, surprises, emergency contacts, and much more was created by a good friend. I would get little insight to the planning, which would be hard for my type-A personality to handle. Only knowing the trail description, the dates, and who I was sharing a tent with. Everyone was responsible for their own food since different diets and tastes come into play.

Not the typical bachelorette gear:

Our packs ranged between 30 to 40 lbs as some wanted to run up Golden Horn early Sunday morning. Hiking boots replaced high heels while tents and sleeping bags replaced fancy hotel rooms. Trucker hats covered up the oily hair from days without showering, and down jackets and leggings covered any exposed skin from the cool breezes.

Off we go!

The itinerary was to drive after work Friday to a campground near the trailhead. Saturday morning would be spent breakig down the campsite. Before beginning our version of the Golden Horn – Snowy Lakes (PCT) backpacking trip, we dropped one car off at the Cutthroat trailhead, where we would end our hike. After dropping off the car, the rest of the vehicles headed to Rainy Pass trailhead, where we hoisted our backpacks and were on our way but not before adding my Bride to Be to my pack.

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We all kept great pace and took a few breaks to take pictures, snack, and adjust our packs. For a warm, summer hike, we still found patches of snow and were curious to see if our ice axes would be needed for Granite Pass as the rangers had no recent reports on conditions. Part of the PCT trail, the thru-hikers do not usually hike through Washington until early to late fall to avoid any lingering snow at higher elevations from the prior winter.

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The views of the Washington Pass area were stunning as we approached Cutthroat Pass. At the pass, we were able to see 360 degree views of the North Cascades and all took a nice, long lunch break to take in all the views. The climbers of the group pointed out alpine routes in the distance. The first part of the trail was now behind us as we would take another trail down towards Cutthroat Lake for more scenic views.

Golden Horn Bachelorette

From the pass, we could see where the trail wrapped around the mountain side. More patches of snow were in sight. Most were comfortable to keep the ice axes on the packs and continue towards Granite Pass.

Golden Horn Bachelorette

As the front of the group made it to Granite Pass, we decided to put on gaiters and get the ice axes. As we went up and over the snow blocking the trail, we all laughed as we realized the ice axes and microspikes weren’t needed. I kept my gaiters on for the remaining snow patch crossings and the remainder of the hike but put my axe away. Yep, a group of type-A ladies were well prepared for what the trail could throw at us, even if it meant a few extra ounces.

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The final stretch before the last gain of elevation was a breeze. We hugged the mountain-side again and were cruising fast. The last push up to Snowy Lakes was a little exhausting, and I was glad to get my pack off my back and find a place to set up camp. After setting up camp and strapping the tent down as much as possible, it was time to party!!!

A Bachelorette Celebration

Golden Horn Bachelorette

A huge cheese spread was laid out on a flat rock overlooking Lower Snowy Lake as the 4 litres of wine were poured into plastic wine glasses. A backcountry wine and cheese party was a perfect way to celebrate the end of a great day of hiking and new friends. As the winds picked up, we decided to move back up to the tents and start cooking dinner. Being almost full from all the cheese, I dug into all the peanut butter treats my friends brought instead of eating my freeze-dried dinner. I opened a card signed by all the girls. No lingerie would be opened. Instead, a gift card for a weaving class, which I was elated to receive.

Golden Horn Bachelorette

As the sun started to set and our energy replenished, we all headed to Upper Snowy Lake to take pictures and watch the sun set. Most of the girls attempted doing headstands as I took pictures of the shenanigans. The upper lake was gorgeous and a little more protected from the wind. We added layers until we had no layers to add. It was time for bed.

The Final Haul

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Waking up too late to climb Golden Horn, we ate breakfast and packed up our gear. The bachelorette celebration was almost over, but not without a few more surprises. We hiked the familiar traverses back to Cutthroat Pass before taking another long lunch break. Our large group broke into two  as we started onto a different trail to Cutthroat Lake. We passed mountain bikers climbing up the trail that were working hard. We all then regrouped before the final push to the trailhead. The mountain bikers passed us again on their way down, which were some of the only people we would see or interact with the entire trip. We would meet them at the trailhead with their shirts off–a great way to end the bachelorette festivities!

But wait, there’s more!

Homemade piña coladas were waiting for us in the car at the trailhead. We sipped on the chilled beverages as the drivers were taken back to their cars at Rainy Pass. I couldn’t ask for a better way to celebrate my bachelorette weekend with my mountain babes! They thought of everything and tailored to my personality.

Mapped Route

SnowyLakes_CutthroatLakeDay 1 (red) – Rainy Pass to Snowy Lakes & Day 2 (blue) – Snowy Lakes to Cutthroat Trailhead

Trip Dates: June 19-21, 2015

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