Slept wonderfully, woke up, and packed down camp in terrible pain, had pancakes for breakfast at the restaurant where I dined last night, and bought internet access at the store next door. Well, well, well, the rumors about the reopening of the trail were mostly true. The PCT was not just reopened in its entirety. In Denmark we’d say “the trees doesn’t grow into the skies” or “the piano doesn’t play THAT well”. Instead, the closed area surrounding the fire had been shrunk and thus allowing for an alternative route to the monument with a 21.4 detour replacing 17.5 miles of the PCT, so it is only four miles longer, but adds a few elements of uncertainty: where will there be water? Where will there be a suitable place to camp? Is it more or less taxing than the PCT? Still, getting to the monument would be awesome. The internet was luckily fast enough for phoning home, which was very nice, as I felt kind of alone having not seen any other known faces or through hikers at all for that matter. Afterwards I got a permit for camping in Stehekin this night and bought a map showing the region with the fire closure to have just in case my phone died on me and downloaded maps of the region to my phone, which took a while.
There were quite a bit of tourists and day/section hikers at the landing and many of them asked me if I was trough hiking and this and that. I felt and certainly looked like the odd one out.
Around noon I took a free shuttle to the renounced Stehekin Bakery. I had been looking forward to the bakery for a while as it had a very good reputation amongst us hikers. It was kind of the last big thing before the Canadian border. The driver of the bus had through hiked the PCT four years ago. He had broken a tooth in Stehekin and had to finish the trail in a great deal of pain. I didn’t get to ask him if he moved to and or started working in Stehekin because of his hike, but I seemed likely. The bus went the short trip to the bakery, which was a fairly large wooden building with a lot of commotion and people inside. As a start I got today’s special sandwich, which looked nice enough but not like anything special. When I tasted it, however, it was mouth wateringly delicious. It was roast beef, beets, and melted blue cheese. Second best sandwich ever (The best one being a Reuben’s from Katz Delicatessen). Afterwards I had a cinnamon roll. It was large, reheated and so juicy that it took three napkins as well as a napkin for the napkins and a visit to the restroom to wash out my beard. Ha ha.
I then hiked out in a good mood and luckily there weren’t any mosquitoes where I passed yesterday. The sun was still shining from a clear blue sky. After two and a half miles I got back to the actual detour and then road walked an additional six and half miles on the detour. They were boring and the only purpose was to have a continuous through hike. The road walk got me to the High Bridge Ranger Station thus finally concluding the detour and getting me back to the official Pacific Crest Trail. That was forty five miles to get the equivalent of twenty miles on the trail.
I waited for about an hour on a bus that would take me back to Stehekin and talked to a couple of Americans who had been out hiking. They had been hiking a lot in England, as he said that there always would be a pub wherever you’d want to camp or eat. For some reason the subject turned to politics and one of them expressed a concern about a growing division in the US. I also met to through hikers who had realized that they were going too slow to make it to Canada in time so they skipped ahead from Sierra city to the Canadian border and started hiking south. To other hikers had been in Seattle when they heard that the trail was reopened and were now back on trail to do the last stretch.
The bus finally arrived and took us back to Stehekin. I pitched my tent again at the exact same spot, but now with a proper permit, and went to the restaurant for dinner. I had a beer and fettuccine with chicken and went back to my tent. Like yesterday, cicadas or some similar animals were singing, which reminded me of travel I’d done to Southern Europe, but wasn’t something that I’d expect in Washington. Also like yesterday, it took a while before it got cold enough for me to put on my sleeping bag. Before that I was just lying with my sleep clothes.
During the day I had been considering what to do about the bursitis problem. My original plan was to get my resupply package from the post office tomorrow, take the bus back to the trail and stretch out the remaining hike to five days though I would otherwise have been able to do it in three. However, I changed my mind and I will take a complete zero day in Stehekin. There’s a way to real chance that I will have to call it quits here just 85 miles before the end. This sucks.
This day’s miles: 2572-2572 (I walked nine miles completing fire detour)