At Stehekin, mile 2569
Even though it was a zero, I got up early, in the name of cleanliness. There was no soap in the shower, but as I made my way back toward the lodge, I saw one of the local hikers from yesterday. He had extra soap and shampoo in his room at the lodge, and so I was able to take a ten minute shower. Woohoo…clean! Well, don’t look at my feet…
I got a load of clothes through the wash and into the dryer, and then ran to catch the bus to the Bakery. Ah, the Bakery. All scratch. A giant cinnamon roll, bigger than my hand and three inches thick (sans frosting, but with melted butter). A huge slice of quiche, with melt-in-your-mouth crust. A ginger cookie. A berry scone. Orange juice. Coffee. Nirvana. For the uninitiated, the Stehekin Pastry Company is listed as one of the top ten restaurants along any of the major trails in the country. If you’re in town, do not miss it.
Once we got back, I finished my laundry and hit the post office to grab my resupply. From there, I headed to the ranger station (Stehekin is in the North Cascades National Park). I needed to get reservations for a campsite for tomorrow, as I wouldn’t be able to make it out of the park before dark. Reservation secured, for South Fork (11 miles up), and it was back to camp.
I spent some quality time sorting through my resupply, and ended up with five days of food. I’ll get the sixth day tomorrow at the bakery, and that should be just enough to reach Manning Park on Friday (I normally pack a titch more food per day than I usually eat, so this would give me 6.5 days…plenty for my needs).
Once my pack was ready to go, I gathered up the extras. I had probably ¾ of the priority mail box full of hiker box goodies. I took the box down to the deck (outside of the restaurant), and set it on a table. Within seconds, the locusts descended: there were easily half a dozen hikers vying for space. I got incredulous looks” “You’re giving away M&Ms?” “This is seriously homemade?” and so on. You could almost hear the giant sucking sound as everything was scooped up.
There were several new hikers at the Lodge. Green Bean showed up; he’s the Israeli guy whom I met at Big Lake. Stoic, from Australia, had pitched his tent right behind mine. I also met Ethan, Google and XC. And I met a couple in their 60s who were doing a short section. He had a too-close encounter with one of the larger, nastier blowdowns I dealt with…close enough that it left him with a big gash on his forehead. After confirming that it would be okay, I dubbed him Blowdown. And he loved it.
The story of the afternoon was munchies, hanging out, and (for some) swimming off of the float plane dock. I spent most of the time at a table with Tim and Tyler, which was a blast. I’m really glad we met up again.
Dinner tonight was smoked prime rib, but I couldn’t manage to swallow any more dessert.
I went up to the campsite shortly after dinner, and got everything ready for tomorrow, in the midst of a glorious sunset. It’s been a blessed zero with good friends.