Approaching Cutthroat Pass (6,820 ft), we climbed into more open terrain. From there we enjoyed clear views of the steep, rugged northern Cascade mountains. Fall colors were on full display, with golden larch contrasting with evergreens, and a rich undergrowth of grasses and shrubs in all shades of red, green, and gold.
We crossed talus fields and scree slopes as we approached Granite Pass (6,290 ft), slipping a little in the loose rocks and collecting tiny bits of sand and rock in our shoes. We then traversed below Tower Mountain, stopping briefly to talk with two hardy trail workers who were precariously balanced on a steep slope as they worked to repair a washed-out section of trail.
We climbed to Methow Pass (6,600 ft), then dropped back into the forest briefly to cross Brush Creek (4,280 ft) before climbing again to Glacier Pass (5,520 ft). Although it was already late when we left Glacier Pass, we continued on under a deep red, smoky moon. We climbed to a second pass (6,750 ft), then slowly traversed a steep, rocky hillside covered in loose shale.
Running Wolf was already tucked away in his bivvy sack when we finally reached a campsite near a small spring. After gathering water we set up a hasty cowgirl camp, then turned in for the night.