Have you ever gotten up at three am to get to the post office in time? Me neither, but that kind of was my plan until the bursitis thing came up. So instead I chose to sleep in, which is to say that I got up at five and did my laundry before breakfast. However, when I wanted to get my stuff out of the dryer, I realized that it hadn’t run. I had seen the green light over “in use” come on and expected it to start, but, oh well, no biggie. But I think I kind of got off track right there. As for the implications of not making it to the post office, they are that I will have to wait to Monday at ten am to get my package and today is Saturday, which is a bit longer than I wanted to stay in Stehekin. A bombshell that dropped a bit later would, however, change everything.
I went to breakfast, which was very nice,and met the three other hikers from yesterday. MacGyver then dropped aforementioned bombshell: The Holman fire that blocked the Pacific Crest Trail just thirty two miles from the border has been sufficiently contained that the trail now has reopened. I’d like to see an official statement about that before I am convinced, but it certainly sounds encouraging. Neo and MacGyver were sticking to their plan of getting off and driving to the monument from the Canadian side, which kind of surprised me given how MacGyver had come back with a vengeance from being forced off trail last year. But I guess it is hard to change your mind once you think you think are done. Regardlessly, having walked to here from the border is an impressive feat. RedBeard was going to take the ferry to Stehekin.
I got going around nine thirty with a warning that the trail to Stehekin took on a very steep ascent in the beginning. The trail first brought me by a waterfall, but it wasn’t particularly impressive. It then did ascend somewhat steeply, but it was by no means onerous, and it brought me up to the bottom of another valley, which was nice. Oh, and by the way, there was hardly a cloud on the sky, so as I have usually done but probably not stated, I put on sun lotion on my recent scars and that spot on my shoulder where my shirt has ripped. After a longer but still relatively easy ascent I got to the top of the valley and had a view into the next one, which was an okay view, but not nearly as impressive as yesterday. I had my lunch there. Then came a section which I thought was actually quite steep going down the first part and with a sharp and long drop off at the side. I pimp walked very slowly down it and eventually the steepness decreased. The trail then got down to the forest floor and there were no more views today. The trail was a bit rocky and at times overgrown with bushes scratching ones legs. There were also some nettles, but of course they are an order of magnitude less scary than the poison oak. It crossed the creek running in the middle of the valla couple of times while it was still small and then once again much later when it had gotten quite big. I looked to my side and saw that there was a bunch of large logs slightly down stream. Pew! No getting my feet wet. There was a bit of scrambling on the various logs, which was easy enough but at the same time you wouldn’t want to stumble and get stuck between some of them.
Somewhat later the trail somewhat unexpectedly started ascending again after having followed the creek relatively closely for a while. At a glance this didn’t make sense as I was eventually going all the way down the valley, but I assumed it was because the creek was going down a very steep canyon and not me having gone to the wrong trail. That was the case and I was still on track.
I eventually got al the way down the valley, and the ordeal had taken me quite a bit longer than expected. It felt like the milage for these two fire detours were underestimating. Further, I hadn’t paid attention to the fact that once I got down I had to road walk another four miles, which I was in absolutely no mood for. It was already past six pm. I cursed a bit internally. There was a campsite before that, though, but I was out of food. Somewhat fatalistically I gave up on hitching and just started walking. I had a slight hope that the bakery on the way, which is notorious and something I had been looking forward to for a while was still open. Who was I kidding? I normally don’t have any pain from the bursitis while hiking, but it seemed as if it was starting to gear up. Shortly after tons of mosquitoes were appearing, and I didn’t want to stop to put on DEET as I was worried about the pain. Got by bakery. It closed two hours ago. Hiked onwards to Stehekin fearing the restaurant would be closed there and I’d be unable to get a room. This was a new low on the PCT.
Somewhat later I finally made it to the town center of Stehekin the restaurant was actually still open. Here in the US you are golden if you just make it to a restaurant before the kitchen closes. I was there six minutes to eight pm which was the closing time. Nice. Got a burger, an IPA, and a chocolate mousse cake for desert. It was decent, though the mouse was slightly frozen. I sat outside on a spot overlooking the lake and the sun colored the skies magnificently red, but shortly afterwards it was gone. I was super glad that I made it. I of course tipped more than I otherwise would for the inconvenience. The waitress said there was a campsite just east of the village, which was a valuable piece of information as the one I passed seemed full. It was dark, and I was using my headlamp. First I got to something that somewhat looked like a small campsite but it didn’t seem completely right though there was a bear box and I could definitely have pitched my tent there. Went back near the main buildings and saw a map that showed the proper campsite which was a bit further away. Walked towards it and found the site. Ideally, I should have gotten a free permit for there, but the office had closed four hours ago and there were plenty of free spots, so I went ahead. It was a bit painful to set up camp with the bursitis thing, but it went surprisingly quickly. By ten pm I finally got to bed.
This day’s miles: 2552-2552 (only miles on detour. Totaling 21 or more miles)