At Sheep Lake, Mile 2323
When I left camp this morning, I told the Fakarwiis that Brendan was going to be at the trailhead in a few hours, with some bagels. This was very welcome news, and they headed out not long after I did.
It was only three miles to Chinook Pass, over a lovely ridge and back down.
The closer I got to the pass, the more day hikers I saw. Some were out for a full day, and some were just taking a stroll out of the parking lot. For the first time, I noticed a phenomenon that other long distance hikers had mentioned. After several days on the trail, you just get used to the way your body naturally smells after a great deal of exercise. But as the day hikers approached, I could identify them strictly based on their smell: perfumes from deodorant, soap, shampoo, etc. It almost made my eyes water.
I got to the pass in good time, and crossed the beautiful log bridge over the highway.
…and headed down into the parking lot. It’s fairly large, with a Real Privy and everything. I took some time to spread out my gear to dry. The Fakarwiis trickled in after me, and we hung out waiting for B.
Well, he didn’t just show up with bagels. He showed up with Alex and Selena. The three of them had stuffed the car with bagels, cream cheese, hiker tacos (tortillas, fresh cut veggies, shredded cheese, and bacon bits), cold soda, bottled water, extra ibuprofen, and hiker repair gear (duct tape, extra tent stakes, camp suds, etc.). They also brought a table, tablecloth, and lots of wipes for filthy hiker hands. Our eyes bugged out.
The Fakarwiis and I jumped on that food like it was going out of style. Another hiker proclaimed it to be one of the two best pieces of trail magic he’d seen on the entire trail, which was a huge compliment. And Beowulf, a veteran of several long distance trails, actually did a happy dance.
Brendan had thought that the hikers would be pleased…such a nice thing for him to do, etc. He absolutely couldn’t believe how grateful the hikers were. They were beside themselves. Anyway, he wants to do it again sometime. I’m very, very proud of the kiddos!
Hiker check-in: the Fakarwiis , Beowulf, Bogey, Bambi Magnet (from Finland), and one other.
I got my resupply, and it was very nice to be organizing my pack while sitting in a chair with a cold soda and my feet up. After hugs goodbye, the Fakarwiis headed north while I was resupplying. They are planning to do higher mileage than me, so unfortunately I doubt I’ll see them again.
Once I was done, the kiddos took off, and I headed to Sheep Lake, just a few miles north.
This evening I’m in a very big campsite, which could probably hold a small Scout troop. I grabbed a corner of it, in case other people needed a place. Right now the wind is howling, coming through the gap where the trail is; I hope it dies off after sunset.
The lake is delightfully warm, and I took some time to really scrub out my hiking clothes and my socks (no soap, of course). I also got myself thoroughly rinsed off, which felt great.
The only other party at the lake is a woman and her two elementary-age sons. They are out without her husband, for the first time. I met them as they were paddling across the lake on a log raft. We got to chatting, and it turns out that not only are they from Poulsbo, but her husband owns and operates a forge, where he does artisanal metal work. I’m passing on their names to the Ferrenbergs, as she said he’d love to meet Nicho. Their names are Renee and Elijah Burnett.
It’s about 7:00, and I’ll probably call it a night, as I’m planning to get up earlier and do more miles (finally). Tomorrow’s goal is 16 miles.
*Photo credit: nordique
**Photo credit: Eric Aalto
Footnote: The Fakarwiis headed north after the magic, and as I thought, we didn’t see each other again. They finished at Stevens a few days before I arrived. Waypoint messaged me after I got home, and offered to share his pictures…thank you!