Rain was predicted all day long and again we were squeezed on both ends of the day by child care issues. But it was the only day we were both free so we went. At first the rain was not as bad as predicted and the sun almost burned through a couple of times. Still, the rain never did stop and and I had to keep my rain jacket hood on for almost the entire hike.
Even with time limitations we managed to make it to big log camp for lunch. My lunch was three small slices of left over fried eggplant, some stale dried and freezer burned bananas and a Twinkie I also had a hot cup of coffee. My daughter has been eating everything in sight and that was all I could find to pack.
I was very tired in the morning and hiking felt like an ordeal but by about noon I started to feel better and after lunch I felt great. I just am not a morning person. When I hike alone I go really slow for the first hour or so and then I pick up steam for a strong finish. Most other people I hike with seem stronger in the morning and then they lose steam in the afternoon.
For the last two miles of the hike I took off my rain jacket hood because I knew I would stay dry enough to make it to the truck. There is some question about if you actually need to display a pass at Staircase in the winter. I know they don't charge for camping in the car campground in the winter. I suppose they still charge for backpacking in the winter but there are no rangers on the trail to enforce it. I've never seen the rangers enforcing packing passes in the winter. We forgot to hang our pass at the start of the hike but did not have any problems.
I find this trail to be rather boring. The first 3 miles is actually an old road. In my opinion this trail does not get nice until after it crosses the river just past Big Log camp. I'd rather day hike to Camp Pleasant where the trail really starts to get pretty.
11 miles with 800 feet elevation gain.