Its hard to get going when its raining out, but it helps when its also raining in the mega-mid when people move. Our bug shield was effective, but the buried flaps caused the sides to sag...needless to say it wasn't a beautiful morning.
After much debate due to high water and lots of rain we decided not to go down Hayes creek to the East fork river and instead cut across a bench and dropped into Whistler creek which took us to the East fork. From there it was a nice change to walk on rocks, gravel and cross the creek.
The channels on the East fork river varied but some of them were deep, others swift, and some swift and deep. We spent a fair amount of time in the water.
There was lots of debate the whole way up river about whether we could cross the main channel on foot, but it never looked quite good enough. Eventually the river hugged the side of the mountain and we had to cross. There was a little debate, but in the end we all blew up our boats and crossed, it would have been gnarly to try and cross by foot.
Near the toe of the Gillam glacier we cut over to the base of the unnamed valley that would take us to Buchanon creek. It was a little bit of a bushwhack, and when we stopped to get some water Lynn noticed her poles for the paddles were missing from her pack. In the rain, surrounded by bugs and bushes, I think we all wanted to cry. Instead we left our packs and tried to follow the GPS track back. It was quite difficult to stay on route, but we found one pole, went all the way back to the river, and on the way back to our packs found the other pole. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Losing the paddles could have significantly altered our trip.
From there we schwacked hard uphill in the pouring rain for about an hour until we reached the ridge where an amazing game trail was. I love game trails, its amazing how much easier they make traveling. We made it to a bowl above the Gillam glacier, found a reasonably flat place and set up the mega mid.