We got home from Cascade Locks on the 12th, and spent a lot of time doing family things. First up was a trip to our favorite Mexican restaurant, and the next couple of days were spent transcribing my notes and adding to my blog. I spent quality time cleaning and reorganizing gear, and mailed my final resupply, to Stehekin. I sent off my old tent body with the failed zipper, and added the new body instead. But for a variety of reasons, it was a very fatiguing week. Such is life, but it was important that I go slowly at first to regain my energy.
On Friday the 19th, we headed out, via a breakfast stop at the Maltby Café. We drove up the Mountain Loop Highway, to the North Fork of the Sauk trail. Goodbyes were said, and I headed uphill midday.
The North Fork of the Sauk trail is 5.5 miles of relative flat, which makes for a great basic backpacking trip. After that, it gains 3000 feet in 2.8 miles, a lot of which are in the first half.
With the aforementioned fatigue, it became clear that I wasn’t going to reach the trail, nor my desired first campsite. So I began the search for a stealth campsite. This is a spot which isn’t really visible to the trail, and which doesn’t violate Leave No Trace too badly, but is a functional spot. I found a spot maybe 50 feet downhill from the trail, with a mostly clear flat patch just wider than my tent. Score!
That new tent body, and the functional zipper, are proving their worth. The biting flies are out in force; I probably have ten of them smeared inside my tent, from their attempted incursion.
It’s supposed to be smoky hot tomorrow, so I’m planning to be up by 5:30. I used the umbrella today, which helped. I’ve got a clip that helps hold it in position. The jury’s still out, though, as to whether it’s a net win.
The elevation change is far different here than it was in Oregon. So my mileage will definitely drop from 15-20. I’ll have to monitor that, and be realistic about the difficulty of the trail. I’ve heard more than one highly experienced hiker caution about lower mileage.