July 24, 2016, Mile 1950: Relaxing at Elk Lake

At Elk Lake, mile 1950

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Got an early start this morning, and knocked off eleven miles in 4.5 hours (which for me is pretty good). The goal was to arrive at Elk Lake Resort, 1950, in time for lunch.

Elk Lake is a state park, but more so. It has the requisite tent and RV sites, but it also has a café, shower, boat rental, and so on.

Saw the Korean group again. Because they didn’t get their resupply, they didn’t have enough fuel. Jose, the opera singer I’d met the night before, has a real knack for cross-cultural communcations; he went around the entire camp with the students. Of course, most folks here are car campers, and use the ubiquitous green Coleman fuel canisters, which don’t work with backpacking stoves. Nevertheless, he was able to rustle up enough fuel to last them until the next resupply.

As soon as I arrived, I ordered a burger, shake, chips, and soda. Because food. That was darned tasty. And then I paid for a tentsite…$10 for hikers. Can’t beat that with a stick!

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Grabbed a shower, which included ten minutes where the lights were out. I got to rinse out a few clothes as well, and then headed up to my tentsite. I hung up my clothes, and headed over to the pump to get some water.

Well, right next to the pump was an RV with an extended family group. Because the pump was slow, I couldn’t help but hearing their conversation. And what kept coming up? Bothell…my home town.

When I had filled up, I stopped by their picnic table and said, “Excuse me…I don’t mean to eavesdrop…but I thought you might be saying Bothell. And that’s where I live.”

They told me about the huge fire that had taken out some 15 businesses in the old section, last Thursday. I immediately texted Brendan, to find out if Zulu’s (his board game café) was okay. It was, but a friend’s business was not. Lord have mercy.

The family invited me to sit down with them for chips and snacks. Didn’t have to ask me twice! When one of the men heard that I was hiking the PCT, he jumped up, ran into the RV, and brought me out several pieces of fresh fruit. Awesome!

I had dinner tonight with Jose, who I’d met the night before, and with Micah, who is doing all of Oregon. We had a most amusing time with a woman of about 40, who was decidedly in her cups. She kept gushing about our hiking, and about Jose’s opera career. But it was all fun, and she loved every minute of it.

When dinner was over, I went back into the store. Suddenly, I looked up, and there was a *very* familiar face. Turns out it was Hallie Swan (aka Sonic), from the Snow Basics class I took in March!

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There’s a reason she’s named for Sonic (the hedgehog). She started at Campo on May 15, about ten weeks ago. That’s an average of about 200 miles per week, including breaks. Today, she knocked off 40 miles just to get to Elk Lake in time for dinner. Yesterday, she did 50. Apparently she’s become a bit of a legend!

I sat with her while she had her dinner. Then the bartender came over to say hi, and we introduced ourselves as a thru and a sectioner, respectively. He said that he always buys the first round for thrus. I changed my story, suddenly becoming a thru myself. Two shots magically appeared, and life was grand.

Hallie was incredibly encouraging. She’s had all these great adventures, but she wanted to hear about my hike. We shared my campsite that night, and talked until well after nine…otherwise known as Hiker Midnight.

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