To Stehekin! Finally!

Day 8
Miles: 6

Today began with a breakfast bagel in Mazama, Atrition, Walkie-Talkie, Dr. Dab, Travis and I walked from Ravensong’s Roost to the store in town. I had a breakfast bagel with sausage and a pomegranate green tea. We sat and talked for hours – it was like we were all old friends.

After purchasing my new contact solution, (this one twists closed) Travis and I packed our stuff and headed out to hitch a ride to Winthrop. This wonderful woman stopped for us and recounted how the valley had changed but it still held her quiet little towns. We walked to the post office, I was finally going to mail my heavy stuff home. I sent home my ice axe, long sleeve, leggings, camera, Nook, and rain coat (rookie mistake). We then resupplied at the Thriftway. I bought Reiner cherries to take along the next few days!

Travis and I hitched a ride back to Mazama by a 2016 NOBO hiker – Going Home. After he finished the trail he brought stoves and soup up to Hart’s Pass for the other NOBO’s finishing in the snow. I love this community, and I’m so excited to be apart of it.

The last hitch of the day was from the Mazama gas station all the way up to Hart’s Pass. It was about 20 degrees cooler at the top than in Mazama, I’m so ready for this heat wave to be over. The family that brought us to the top needed to stop 10 miles before, but were so kind to drive us all the way up. They seemed excited to walk around and show their daughter around as well. I’m so grateful to meet all of these wonderful people out here. One small act of kindness really does make a difference in someone’s day.

Since we were starting at 4pm, we hiked 6 miles from Hart’s Pass to the first campground we came to. We also saw Tina and Jim, a couple we met before we reapplied in town. Each day they have been crushing more and more miles and it’s been so exciting to hear about their progress.

The views were phenomenal as we walked along a saddle between two mountains. Agh, it’s amazing I get to keep writing that I’m walking on mountains!! The wind was so powerful, even walking through on the sides of the mountains. Whomever made this trail, and the upkeep on it, seriously thank you. I can not even IMAGINE the work it takes to cut a flat walking path through the side of a mountain!! I felt so small, small but cozy.

At camp we set up our tents. Then guess what!?! I had to put on my puffy, hat and gloves!!! It was so nice that I wasn’t soaked through with sweat and overheating like the previous week. I have never been happier to be cold! But my little hand was not too pleased, I double gloved it quickly to try and keep it warm. We ate dinner, which included more cherries, blueberry pop tarts (I know you’re sensing a theme here), Cheetos, and Ramen with freeze dried veggies.

We also saw a deer! My first real wildlife sighting besides chipmunks and bird songs. A couple we met two miles up the trail saw what they thought was a grizzly bear and to be honest I was happy not to see one of those tonight.

After hanging our bear bags, Travis and I went to our tents to write. And by we – I mean after Travis hung the bear bags. I was in my tent trying to warm my little hand with layers of sleeping bag. I have really appreciated everything Travis has done for me thus far. He is really the reason I am still hiking after that heat wave.

After getting all cozy and preparing my brain to write, I fell asleep instantly. I stayed asleep until I had a tent pole fall on me because the wind was so powerful. I’m glad all of you couldn’t see me struggle to put the rainfly rope back on the stake. All I could do was hold up the tent pole as I searched for my headlamp and fought the wind. I need to learn how to pitch my tent better.

Anyway, I’m ready for 15 miles up hill tomorrow! Onto Mexico!!

Day 9
Miles: 18

Today was hard. Travis and I just crawled out from our tents as Salty walked up. He ate his breakfast and talked to us as we packed our gear up. Salty is a Triple Crown and this is his third time doing the PCT. I was blown away by how much he knew about backpacking. What really amazed me was that he has a 9lb base weight! He uses a bivy and only takes the necessities of which I’m slowly learning. It looks so comfortable to have such a small backpack.

After Salty left we saw Tina and Jim again!! It’s been such a joy seeing them so frequently. Shane also came up and after we all feasted on the cherries I packed out, I asked if Shane wanted to hike with us. So off we went into the fog and down the switchbacks. We soon caught up to Salty and we all decided to walk together. Is amazing how fast the miles go when you’re in a pleasant conversation.

The new thing is, hiking with other people means changing the plan, which I’m so happy to do! But, I was expecting a 15 mile cruise, and all of the sudden it was BAM let’s do 18 miles to get to Stehekin faster. What convinced me was more miles meant I’d get the chance to eat a cinnamon roll faster. Which, by the way I would not shut up about. When the trail got tough today, because there were so many blow downs, the thought of eating the famous Stehekin Bakery cinnamon rolls really kept me going.

Today was tough, tomorrow will be tough too. 22 miles is the plan. I feel so small compared to all of these beautiful mountains. I’m so happy to be out here hiking.

Day 10
Miles: 23

Today was another hard day. I was with the group but I was frequently falling behind by the end of the day. I cried more than I would like to admit. If my legs are hurting this bad now, how am I supposed to do months of this? There was so much negativity going on in my head earlier but I’m going to get stronger and be able to take more miles. And I’m going to get those cinnamon rolls tomorrow!!!

We began at 5am with everything wet. I didn’t pitch my tent correctly (again – I promise I do learn) and this morning there was so much moisture in the air. I woke up at some point and I just thought I drooled a bunch. It was comforting to see that it wasn’t from me. After discovering that my shirt was also still wet I just put on my sports bra and puffy. But, we began with a switch back climb and then a couple of passes through the snow. I was somehow sweating and freezing. So I took off my puffy, and put on my hat and mittens. It was quite the sight to see.

The rest of the hike was mostly flat but it was HOT. AGAIN. My legs really started to hurt around mile 8, and we had 23 to do today. We stopped for lunch around mile 10 and I stretched everything. The second half of the day was the worst part. It was so hot, humid and there was no tree cover. It seemed like we walked 15 miles through brush. I was falling way behind the group and getting so emotional. I don’t understand how the three of my buddies can just power through like they do!

On our last leg to camp we saw a black bear. It was honestly so cute and it seemed confused. It kept running out and diving back at the tree it was standing at. We were making lots of noise and yelling at it and it wasn’t budging. We just kept at it until it finally ran away. This was my first bear sighting ever!!

Finally getting to camp wasn’t much better. My tent was so soaked I did not know what to do. I was going to take my rainfly off from the bug net and hang each individually but Salty told me to pitch it as tight as I could and roll everything up to let where I sleep air dry. And it worked so well!! I’m sleeping in a dry tent and I learned how to pitch my tent the most correct way! I’m so so grateful for these friends. Travis, Shane and Salty have all helped me so much through this beginning of my hike. This thru-hiking thing is such a different battle than the week long adventures I’ve been on. I’m grateful to have four brains trying to figure everything out rather than just mine. That’s not to say I couldn’t do it, it’s nice to have other perspectives.

Day 11
Miles: 5

Five miles to the bus to take us to Stehekin!! That means five miles until I get to eat cinnamon rolls!

The five mile hike in was very beautiful, everyday I see something new. Today it was a branded piece of wood that had the trail logo and a charming pond that reflected the world around it – I set this image as the post image.

When we arrived at the bus stop Salty shook down my pack and who would have guessed. I had more things to send home. He got rid of a lot of extra things I had to feel comfortable like stuff sacks, matches, rope, and bandaids. My pack was so much lighter after this and I don’t think I’m going to regret sending more stuff home. I’m going to get a hang of this thru-hiking thing, I promise!

After getting our huge cinnamon rolls, in town we saw so many other hikers. Here I got to meet people whose names I’ve heard up trail like Toes and Toodles. I was also so happy to see other friends I had met along the way such as Pancake, Happy Dance and Second. It was also exciting to meet new hikers like Twirl and Pale Ale. They were stuck in town for the holiday weekend because the post office was closed. It was so pleasant spending hours with all of these welcoming hikers. We sat around the water at picnic tables talking and jumping in the water. I also lost a game of checkers to Travis. It was a very memorable experience.

Tonight was my first experience cowboy camping. There were no bugs and the temperature was wonderful. I fell asleep looking at the stars and it was the most perfect way to fall asleep. I’m going to have to do this again.

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Comments 6

  • thetentman : Jul 17th

    Good luck, Noob.

    Remember, these are the good old days.


  • Horseshoe : Jul 19th

    Hey, Juicy. I’m working in Stehekin for the summer in housekeeping at the lodge. I must have just missed you. I ran into Happy Dance and Second and Twirl on trail on my way north on one of my weekend adventures while they were headed south to Stehekin. Glad you got your cinnamon roll – good luck on the rest of the journey.


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