Pacific Crest Trail

The beginning of the end (or of some end)

Day 135

I had packed up most of my stuff, so when I woke up I was almost ready to hit the trail. I still had bad pain in the morning, but it was even quicker to subside than yesterday. I went to the hiker box and dropped off the food that I didn’t need, then I bought a ticket for the red bus to High Bridge. I met Hardcore at the Landing. I had briefly seen her as I randomly glanced out of a lodge window yesterday. I had feared that she had gotten off trail, but she had just taken a bunch of zeros in Portland and had to deal with some stomach problems in Snoqualmie Pass. I was glad to hear that. She tried to help me with my pain in my right hip region by manipulating my left under arm possibly after some asian tradition. Of course I didn’t feel anything, but I appreciated the care. She also offered a ride if I got to Canada in five days.

The bus left from Stehekin at quarter past eight and stopped at the bakery just long enough for the passengers and the bus driver as well to get in and buy something. Iwas quite full from breakfast, but still couldn’t resist the temptation of another cinnamon roll. I ate it in the bus and it was so fresh, that it was still warm right out of the oven and every bit as succulent as the first one I had. Shortly after that the bus stopped at High Bridge and I was soon taking the first steps back on the Pacific Crest Trail. The first part was a bit steep and the first couple of steps felt painful and weird. I was quickly questioning if I’d be able to do at least seventeen miles to get out of North Cascade’s National Park, where a special permit was needed and you’d have to decide on a specific campsite ahead of time. A few hundred feet later, though, it seemed like everything got back into its right place, and the pain subsided again. I was soon walking as nothing was wrong albeit intentionally a bit slower and taking more breaks to avoiding over exertion. That was a positive surprise.

I didn’t see any blueberries or marmots, but on the other hand I did see two snakes and four birds. The latter looked somewhat like pheasants, walked on the ground, were not that afraid of me, and said “wub wub wub”.

At one point there was a sign wit one arrow pointing up a pile of rocks saying “bridge” and the other pointing straight ahead saying “ford”. I didn’t know if it was an outdated sign, so I went the way fir fording. Looking up from that place, there was in fact a bridge, but it seemed like you’d have to halfway scramble to get up or down from it. The ford looked like a relatively easy dry crossing, so I just went with that.

Most of the day was spent slowly climbing out of a valley, and aside from the very beginning, nothing was steep or difficult. The sun was still shining, it was warm, and the smoke was there as well. Late in the evening, though, it seemed like it was disappearing or that we were simply leaving the hazy region.

When I reached “Rainy Pass”, which is where Washington’s Highway 20 crosses the trail, someone had made a mini version of the northern terminus monument and put it there. It was about a feet high and surprisingly detailed. Before the new detour, this was where the trail ended, though you could go a somewhat further (to “Hearts Pass”), but would have to backtrack to here since it would be a dead end. There was also a cooler next to it, but alas, it was empty. I seem to have been a bit unlucky with trail magic here in Washington, as I have yet to encounter any (aside from a bottle of orange juice). I went a bit further to a campsite located at a trail head. It certainly wasn’t a particularly attractive spot as on one side there were pit toilet that smelled and on the other side Highway 20. I opted for a spot just far enough away from the toilets to not smell, but unfortunately comparatively closer and visible from the highway.

As for the future, I am cautiously optimistic, because today was so unproblematic and even less painful than yesterday. However, tomorrow will determine a lot, and will show if I overexerted myself today.

This day’s miles: 2572-2591

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