Day 140, 8/27/18
This morning we went into the ranger station to get the required camping permits due to the fire detour. Our PCT permit only covers being on the PCT. While discussing the detour with the ranger she mentioned that some PCTers were extending the detour route further into the North Cascades National Park. This national park has designated camp sites that you must stay at and identify on your permit. This is far different that on the PCT were you almost just camp where you fall (abiding by LNT principles, to be discussed in another post).
We sat down and estimated how many miles per day we thought of doing. Based on the conditions of past detour trails we need to reduce our mileage per hr a bit. With our permit done it was time for me to head to the post office and get my LAST resupply box……so strange to say. Unfortunately it hasn’t arrived yet and is supposed to come on the next boat at about noon. This throws a wrench into plans of hiking out with the guys, I’ll have to return to the post office around 1:30. In the mean time there is a bakery 2 miles out of town and a bus shuttle does regular routes there and back.
At about 10:00 we all board the bus with our gear and head to the bakery. After the bakery stop Bud Light and Black Hole will be continuing back to the trail. The bus only waits for 10 minutes for passengers to make purchases in the bakery and there are probably 15 people in line! I was in no hurry but the guys were in and out so fast I didn’t get to say goodbye, off the bus went. I know I’ll see them this evening at the designated camp site. I have about an hour to rest at the bakery so I buy a cinnamon roll (to take on trail for breakfast tomorrow, So Excited!), a chicken stuffed calzone, Pepsi, blue berry muffin and I return to get an ice cream cone!
The bus returns and I head to post office, good news the package arrived! The next bus leaves very soon so I quickly repack my bear can, pay for another $8 ticket and get back onto the bus. This time Ferrari and Peanut Feet are on the bus and have decided to join us at the same campsites.
Below: The Stehekin Bakery and goodies within. The cinnamon rolls are about 6″ in diameter heavy. The Lady of the Lake ferry service from Chelan would be a nice summer trip some day.
Below: Map of the North Cascades National Park. The detour trail from Holden village is Company Creek Trail that ends at a road which is where the day hiker gave us a ride yesterday. I wanted to walk as much of a continuous foot path as possible on this trip so I asked the bus driver to drop me off at the bridge by Harlequin(group) which is technically where the Bannock Lake detour ends. The bus dropped me off at 2:30 and now I have 20 miles ahead of me to get to camp, I know I’ll be night hiking on trails without GPS guidance so I’m moving fast. My destination is called Five Mile with the red tent symbol.
Below: Another balance beam but this one is 8ft above the creek.
The last bits of daylight at 8:30pm, soon I’ll be in the darkness, alone and about 1.5 miles ahead of me before the Five Mile campsite. The last campsite with people was 5 miles behind me. During the course of this trip I’ve heard many noises at night and seen many branches or pine cones fall from the trees. I’ll never get used to hearing snapping branches in the blackness of night. My eyes are focused on the steps before me looking up briefly to scan 10-15 ft ahead, a blackened stump standing about 3 ft tall catches my peripheral vision and freaking startles me!!
My mind is getting the better of me, the talk of bears and mountain lions have been persistent over the past months, stay focused on the trail I say to myself… don’t trip. Soon I see a light, it’s difficult to judge the distance but I know if I hear a creek I’ll be close. At 9:00pm I walk into camp and the guys congratulate me on making it, they had been wondering if they would see me tonight or if I had decided to camp before dusk.
Day 141, 8/28/18
Above: The view looking North and a first sighting of Canada in the fading distance. Below: The view looking south from the same position. I was really moved by the views this morning and of sadness for this hike coming to an end.
On the way down Thunder Creek the trail passed by a 12″ riveted steel pipe, the switchbacks crossed it several times on the way down hill. The pipe eventually ended at the site of what I assume would have been a building. The 12″ pipe reduced to 4″ in diameter, an electric motor, an air compressor and other equipment. I was there for 15 minutes reconstructing the pieces in my mind. All of this was disassembled and packed here by horses for miles. I need to call the ranger station and see if they can tell me anything about its history. I’m assuming more ore mining.
Lunchtime, I was the last to arrive.
It was a long day today and we arrived to camp at dusk. This will be the last night I camp with Ferrari and Peanut Feet. Black Hole and I will go with Bud Light to Mazama as he has a package to get and they will continue on to the border. This final detour to the border requires us to hike 30 miles backwards to Highway 20 so I will certainly see Ferrari and Peanut Feet again. A confusion of new feelings, a sadness is boiling inside me.