At Stehekin, mile 2569
I got up at five this morning, as did Hoops. She was out before I was, but I hit the trail in short order. I dry camped last night, and picked up water a little ways up the trail this morning.
Today’s plan was 16 miles, with only 1500 gain, and making the 6:15 bus into Stehekin. The bus is at mile 2569. It runs upvalley and downvalley four times a day. High Bridge Ranger Station is at the uphill end, and Stehekin itself is eleven miles downhill. If I caught the final bus, I’d be able to eat at the lodge before pitching my tent at one of the two campsites in town.
Just up the trail from my campsite, I came across this bridge. With careful footing, it was very crossable. I thought it was lovely.
I kept plugging along, with my “go fast” playlist on my phone. All day long I kept doing the math, calculating speed, distance, how much allotted time per break, and so on. It’s math. I do this.
I forded a very wide creek, at mile 2557. I met a couple of girls who told me that there were a pair of water shoes someone had left on the bank, and that I could use them. I smiled, and said I almost always ford. And that’s true: I have non-waterproof trail runners, which dry reasonably quickly. And with the support and tread of my shoes, fording is that much more stable. At any rate, I forded, and got my feet and legs rinsed off in the process. Win!
The last half of the day was spent following the Agnes Creek gorge. It was stunning, with lots of east-of-the-crest flora. I am very partial to the ponderosa pine, and stopped more than a few times to bury my nose in the vanilla-scented bark.
Around four it was clear that I *was* going to make it, and ahead of time. Woohoo! I entered the Lake Chelan Recreation Area, and then the North Cascades National Park. Almost there!
As I pushed my way up the final hill, I heard “I know you!” and stopped. Turns out it was Tim and his son Tyler, whom I met at Big Lake! They had picked up a resupply (sharing beef sticks with me), and spent the night at the cove on my first night there. We had hit it off very well in Oregon, and it was great to see them! They had picked up trail names: Tim was now Meister Trekker, and Tyler was now Tye Bye.
The bus pulled up a little after six, and we climbed aboard. It was me, Tim and Tyler, Peter Pan (a sectioner prepping for next year’s thru), and a few local hikers who were spending the night in Stehekin before catching the boat.
We were dropped off right in front of the Lodge, stopped at the store to get quarters for the shower and laundry, and found our way to the restaurant. Food! Real Food! Cooked and Everything!
But the best part was the long table full of hikers, and a handful of voices calling “Rest Step!” “Rest Step’s here!” I was grinning all over, surrounded by my peeps. Life is good.
In this wonderful picture (with a few odd reflections), we have Papa Razzi, Hobbit, Six Paws, Wildfire, Tye Bye, Rest Step, Meister Trekker, Hot Potato, Matt (newly named Lifesaver), Shower, and Peter Pan.
One ribeye steak, a huge salad, and a mountain of homemade ice cream later, we grabbed our gear and headed up to the overflow campsite. I hit the rack as soon as I could, because I want to grab a shower and do laundry before I catch the 8:15 bus to the bakery. And I canNOT wait.