PCT WA Section K

Revenge of the Wildfires: Rainy Pass to Steven’s Pass

Be sure to read the important note about the future of this blog at the end of this post.

Let’s talk about food for a moment because it seems to be something that people want to know about. But I’m not going to get into how many Calories I eat per day because sometimes I eat things that I don’t even know the caloric content and I never really count calories anyway.

My daily diet on the trail is very consistent:

  • Breakfast (either before leaving camp or while hiking)
    • 3 scoops of breakfast shake mix in about 10 oz water, comprising ever varying ratios of
      • Carnation Essentials (Rich Milk Chocolate)
      • Slim Fast Protein Smoothie or Shake (preferably vanilla)
      • Instant coffee, preferably powdered (very sparing)
  • Midmorning snack (usually taken between 9 and 10)
    • 3 Quaker Chewy bars
    • 2 packets Emergen-C Immune+ in 17oz water
    • Perhaps some Starburst if I want them
  • Lunch (usually taken at noon, and never later than 2)
    • Two packets Starkist Creations (or similar product from Bumblebee) on
    • Two soft taco size flour tortillas
    • One lime
    • 2 Nuun Sport hydration tablets (plus other flavoring) in 17oz water
    • Perhaps more Starburst? Maybe some Clif Bloks if I have any?
  • Afternoon snack (usually taken around 3pm)
    • A couple of handfuls of Starburst
    • 12-17oz of water, flavored
  • Dinner (first order of business upon arrival at camp, usually between 5 and 7)
    • One package of Knorr Rice Sides with
    • One package protein, usually tuna, possibly spam singles if available
  • Dessert (immediately following dinner)
    • Christmas in a Cup
      • One bag Bigelow vanilla chai steeped in
      • One cup hot water, to be mixed with
      • 1 packet Alpine Spiced Cider mix

If you want to know how many Calories per day that is, look up those products and add it up. In a future post I’ll talk about what foods I want most when I get to town.

Day 1

I woke up with the sun despite being inside the tipi, but I stayed there in bed watching videos until I heard sounds outside because I didn’t want to disturb the residents.

When I knocked on the door, the woman I’d spoken to previously showed me to the shower and laundry room, pointed out the shampoo and told me just to make sure I cleaned up after myself. The shower was clearly made for hikers, with mosaic walls featuring the flags of Mexico and Canada on the front and back and a huge PCT logo on the long wall. The shower was excellent, as I had managed to collect several layers of dust in just five days of hiking.

I got my laundry in the washer and then walked to town to get a breakfast sandwich, a scone, a latte, and stone orange from the store/cafe. I meant to be back in half an hour, but I forgot to factor in the fifteen minute walk each way and the lines at the cafe. It was probably like an hour.

Back at the house, I came in to shift my laundry to the dryer and then went back outside with my phone to finish and pay that blog post. I kept moving my chair across the yard chasing the shade because it was getting up to mid-90s in the valley that day.

I let my battery completely charge in the house’s mud room (and left the pair of booty shorts that had been forced on me the previous night in the hiker box there) before I went back to town to grab some lunch before hitching back to the trail.

It was well into the afternoon by the time I was ready to go and the traffic out of town was not particularly heavy (though it was still surely much heavier than the average Mazama day). It was not the easiest hitch, especially with the wind whipping my sign around. I eventually figured out a scheme to keep it straight when the wind blew, and managed to grab a hitch in less than a hour at least (after only one change of venue).

The guys who stopped for me made me ride in the bed of their truck. I battened down everything I was wearing against the wind and rode as low as I could. I actually felt the temperature slowly dropping over the course of the thirty minute trip, and it was welcome given how hot it had been in the valley.

I wandered around the Rainy Pass south parking lot for several minutes after they dropped me off, and eventually found the PCT trailhead squeezed up against the highway. It followed along and just below the highway for a mile and a half before turning back into the woods. I was hiking ahead of and then behind a couple of other hikers/climbers, but stopped as soon as I saw the nice campsite with the tables and benches everywhere just above the creek. I knew I had to stop soon anyway for legal reasons, so it was good enough for me.

A few minutes later, while I was cooking and setting up camp, the two guys came back and joined me. They had walked all the way to the national park boundary and not found any other good campsites. Like me, they had no permit for camping in the national park, so they set up in the same spacious campsite with me. We had some nice chats about all manner of things and I helped the newer hiker of the two inflate his air mat. Then I called it a night because I needed to be up fairly early to achieve my goal.

Total distance: 2 miles

Day 2

The two guys had told me the bus to Stehekin from High Bridge had stopped operating and hiked out in the morning still believing that. I, however, decided to bet on the comments on Guthook that Stehekin Valley Ranch was operating their own donation bus. But if I wanted to catch that bus and go to Stehekin that day, I would need to get to High Bridge before 4pm. That was 16 miles from where I camped in around 9 hours. Not a particularly challenging pace, especially considering the relative ease of the section, but I couldn’t waste too much time either.

I got up so much earlier than the other two guys that I hiked down Bridge Creek to do my business far from camp, came back, and had nearly finished packing before the more experienced guy left his tent. Nonetheless, they passed me during my midmorning snack and I never saw them again.

The section of trail was as uninteresting as it was easy. It just followed Bridge Creek at a safe 200 yard distance for miles downstream until it joined the Stehekin River, then it followed said river to High Bridge. Bridge Creek Campground seemed like it could be an interesting place to stay when North Cascades NP was operating normally, but the rest was so samey I can’t even remember where I ate lunch.

Nonetheless, I made it to High Bridge with ten minutes to spare, and the white bus rolled up just in time. Those other two guys were gonna miss out.

It was just me, bus driver Cliff, and his grandson on the trip downvalley. My plan was to stop at the bakery for a snack and stay in the campground in the town proper. But when the bus pulled into Stehekin Valley Ranch and I saw how stunningly green the grass was, I decided to hop off and see if there was any availability for the night. Bethany said I was in luck; the last tent cabin was available. So I decided to stay.

This place is a great deal and I’d recommend it to anyone. $110 gets you a bed for a night in your own tiny cabin, a shower, laundry (although I didn’t need that particular service after only a day on the trail), three meals, and transportation to anywhere in the valley (on the bus with Cliff). You could also rent bikes or horses or even get a reasonably priced massage while staying there. I was lucky all the Labor Day Weekenders had gone home.

I dropped my things in cabin 5, picked up the towel and washcloth I found there, and spoke to the two men relaxing in front of cabin 4. They were sharing it, though I can’t imagine sharing that queen bed with anyone. Their cabin had a hammock between it and the fields, and they informed me that they had been there a couple of days already. But more about them in a minute, as I dismissed myself to get cleaned up in time for dinner.

A shower feels amazing even when you’ve only been on trail for a day. I believe that for my entire trip, this shower was the one separated from the previous shower by the smallest nonzero number of miles hiked (less than 20). Still worth it.

Anyway, all clean and dressed for dinner, I returned to chat with the two gentlemen of cabin 4, the only other hikers I was aware of. It turned out they had been the other two occupants of the campsite I’d stayed in my first night on the trail in Washington. (See previous post. I told you we’d meet them again!) They had been stuck in Stehekin all weekend waiting on a resupply package that had been held up because of the Labor Day holiday. And they had been to the bakery every single day. And stayed and ate dinner at the ranch every single night. One of them was named Charlie, trail name Poptart, and the other Jude, trail name Nobody. Since they were always together, I’ll call them C+J.

When it was almost time for the dinner bell to ring, we lined up together at the entrance to the main hall and dining area. I spotted a 16oz NY strip steak on the menu board and one of C+J got me excited about it. “I had it last night. It was very good.”

In the last minute before the serving line opened, a girl came out and wiped it off the board. “When we’re serving steak as the special, we don’t offer them cooked to order.” The special was a marinated steak that was not 16oz and was not cooked rare. Boo. I got it anyway. Charlie ordered the steelhead trout. When his order came up, I realized he had made the correct choice. Oh well. Everything else was pretty good, including some Thai noodles and stir fried veggies and peanut sauce. There was also a small fridge full of root beer which you could buy by dropping cash in a tiny barrel. A good supplement to the endless free lemonade.

C+J and I sat together on the covered patio and each of us made a few trips back to the line. The highlight of the meal was dessert, a selection of pies from the bakery, optionally served a la mode. I selected the blackberry pie. With the ice cream of course. I poured a mug of coffee to go with it. Then I went back and made a mug of sweetened lemon ginger tea because it was bedtime soon.

I did spend a few minutes on the front porch of my little cabin as I got ready for bed, watching a herd of deer in the field. There were a number of frisky and frolicsome juveniles among them, and it was fun watching them play. I was disappointed no elk showed up though.

I went to bed before dusk had faded too far to see, so I never had to turn on the small provided lantern. I left the windows open and pulled up the extra blanket so I could be warm and still have a cool breeze all night.

Total distance: 16 miles

Day 3

Breakfast was served at 7, but who can sleep in that long? After all, coffee was already being heated on the hearth in the dining room at least an hour before that. C+J and I were in there well before the line opened up.

It was a pretty standard breakfast as they go, but positively elaborate compared to what I eat on trail, so I was happy with it. I briefly chatted with some of the other hikers I hadn’t seen the night before, but they were nobos, fast, tight, and hard to identify with.

There was enough time after breakfast to make sure I was packed and out of the cabin before the 9 am downvalley run. 9 am was check out time anyway. I stashed my pack in an alcove near the bus pickup area.

Because there were so many people leaving, there were two busses going. Cliff would drive his usual white school bus with the hikers who just wanted to eat at the bakery and then get to town to pick up their packages. Bethany would take the tourists on a smaller bus to visit as many stops as they wanted to see. I wanted to see Rainbow Falls so I took the tourist bus. Bethany’s cat also decided to come and spent the whole trip climbing between seats and briefly cuddling with their occupants to see who was the most cozy. He tried and rejected me and eventually settled into the space between the couple in front of me.

After a brief visit to the falls (disappointing due to the lack of water), we arrived at the bakery before Cliff’s bus had left. I got to the front of the line just barely too late to try one of their savory treats, but I picked out three sweet treats and an iced coffee and root beer to go. Two of the pastries were great.

When we arrived at the lake, the haze in the air from the fires at the other end of the lake became more apparent, making the other side of the lake hard to make out.

The busses went back upvalley and I had two hours to kill until the next one came back. All the tourists went to wait for the ferry and all the hikers went to stand in line at the post office. I had nothing at the post office so I walked the self-guided trail beside the post office and read all the signs. Then I spotted C+J with their packages at a picnic table beside the lake. I went to sit with them and try to fit more baked goods and root beer into my stomach as they went through it. I refused an offer of taco seasoning because it didn’t seem to my taste, but in retrospect, I probably could have done something with it.

With yet more time to kill, we went over to the little snack and gift store to check it out. After waiting in line for another hiker to spend a fortune completely resupplying from the store (his package not having arrived in time), I bought a beer to sip on the patio.

The upvalley bus arrived right on time, but not all of the hikers did. One of the guys had all his stuff in the bus but missed it anyway. I guess he had to kill two more hours in town with no company that day.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I hopped off the bus and pulled my water bag out to refill it from the fountain and then tried to stuff the last of my pastries in the side pocket. Cliff nearly closed the back door of the bus on me because I took so long getting it repacked. But a few minutes later, we hikers were headed back to High Bridge and the trail.

Since it was already afternoon, I had decided on a shorter day. Once I found where the trail continued (following Agnes Creek and its tributaries for the next several miles), it didn’t take long to catch up with C+J, the only other sobos leaving on that bus. I convinced them to join me in my plan to stay at Cedar Camp about 10 miles in. It was a good distance, near the water, and had a toilet.

I went ahead of them, but stopped to eat the last pastry at a creek crossing a few miles later and they passed me. I passed them again a little while later when they stopped to take a break on “Charlie’s Log.”

I beat them to Cedar Camp by ten minutes or so. I picked a spot right next to the creek and they set up in an area up the hill. I threw my tent up, grabbed all my food and stove, and went to have dinner with them. While I was doing this, another girl arrived in camp northbound and set up right next to me. She had a wonderful trail dog with her and was very nice, but refused my invitation to come eat with the rest.

An hour later, after a great deal of fun was had over dinner, I came back down to my camp to get ready for bed and the girl was still up and about, so we chatted for a few minutes about her dog, where she had just been, and her plans for the rest of her hike, including catching that noon bus into Stehekin. If I recall correctly, her name was Ashley.

The white noise of the creek put me to sleep with great ease.

Total distance: 10 miles

Day 4

I was the last to leave camp. C+J were gone before I even woke up. They had planned to do a 20. I wouldn’t see them again, though they never got very far ahead. Ashley left just before me, but while she was packing up, she agreed to take the plastic packaging my last pastry had come in back to High Bridge to drop in the trash cans there. It was stupid to pack it in the first place.

Then I got to try out my first Washington-style open air box toilet. They are all over Northern Washington, if you can track them down, and they sure are better than digging a hole myself.

There’s not a lot to say about the day’s hike. The trail followed the creek almost to its source, then climbed in the open up the side of a mountain and over Suiattle Pass. There would have been some amazing views for parts of it if it weren’t for the smoke in the air.

At Ashley’s recommendation, I left the PCT at the Image Lake Trail junction, heading out along Miner’s Ridge instead of descending into the valley where the smoke was thickest. I camped above the ruin of a miner’s cabin with the bits and bobs of pipes and equipment all around. I didn’t go as far as Image Lake because I knew camping was prohibited next to it, and I wasn’t aware of the hiker camp below it.

Total distance: 13 miles (trail progress similar despite leaving the trail)

Day 5

I waited until after daylight to leave camp so that I could see Image Lake clearly when I got there. It was as still and reflective as promised, but wasn’t really situated to have anything worthwhile to reflect. A bit small and disappointing on the whole. I collected some nice water from its inlet stream.

On the other side of the lake, I talked to a lady working for the forest service, staying with her husband in the lookout tower. When I told her my plans, she told me the Suiattle River trail was closed, as the Downy Fire had blocked the road to it. As a result, she was stuck an extra day or more past when her shift was due to end. It didn’t affect my route however. She also invited me to go up in the tower when I got there.

Which is exactly what I did next. I spent a solid hour in the tower because it had a tiny trickle of Verizon LTE, and I really wanted to download the topo maps for Washington. But every time I tried, the download would fail when the connection was briefly interrupted. Once it got as high as 30% downloaded before failing and asking me to start over. You’d really think Guthook would make its download manager capable of piecemeal resumable downloads. I also called home while I waited on the downloads.

Giving up on having access to that map data, I began the long series of switchbacks down the side of the hill to meet up with the PCT again near the river. The smoke smell got stronger with each switchback and the visibility worse. You’ll see how thickly the smoke lay in the valley in the pictures I took from the watchtower. I stopped for lunch halfway down.

The river was a wide, roaring glacial torrent, the water milky with silt. Even though it felt like I was standing ten feet from a bonfire, I stopped for an afternoon snack in the riverside campsites before crossing the long bridge.

From there, it was another five miles to my intended camp, up Vista Creek to the point where the trail diverged to climb the hill. It was dusk by the time I arrived, and I didn’t have the site to myself. A man and a woman, perhaps his daughter, were already there, set up and cooking. I set up and cooked on the opposite side of a fallen tree that divided the area in two. The pair was polite and responsive enough, but not super interested in chatting beyond the smallest of talk. Anyway, it was well after dark by the time we all hit the hay.

Total distance: 15 miles, maybe a bit more

Trail progress: 14 miles

Day 6

I left camp just ahead of the other two, even though we all got up about the same time and I still had to collect water from a nearby stream flowing over the trail. I was mercifully climbing a hill and therefore thinning the smoke. Unfortunately, it was a two and a half mile climb with at least ten enormous deadfalls over the trail. Every few minutes I had to stop to puzzle out the easiest way to climb over or limbo under trees some three to five feet in diameter.

The other side of the hill was mostly free of deadfalls, but not much nicer. I was headed back down into a thick layer of smoke again and the trail was overgrown with wet stalks and bushes up to four feet high. And full of roots and rocks. And not particularly level.

There were two people on the Milk Creek Bridge when I arrived, one of whom was the old man from the night before–he’d passed me on the hilltop earlier. The other was a woman going northbound. Everyone was stopped here for lunch, so I decided to do the same, talking to the woman until she hiked on.

I was glad I didn’t need any water because getting down to the creek from the bridge looked like a small nightmare.

I hiked out well after the other, but I caught up with the man within a couple of miles. In fact, he had stopped to wait for me on purpose, wanting to know if I had seen his camera by the bridge. I was pretty sure it wasn’t there. I figured it must have fallen off his pack somewhere else. Anyway, I passed him here and stayed just ahead of him for the rest of his hike for the day.

Which was all uphill thankfully. By mid-afternoon, I was well above the thickest layer of smoke. By early evening, I was at Mica Lake, the furthest north true alpine lake on the PCT. Even with the haze, it was beautiful. It was like being back in the Sierras again.

After chatting with some other folks camping near the lake, I found the woman and asked if I could cook and eat with them again, though I had decided not to camp there that night. She agreed and pointed out the nearest way to get to the lake to collect water–down an extremely steep hill. I went for it. When I returned, the old man had gotten his things in order enough to hike down to collect water himself. She went with him. So I ended up cooking and eating alone in the middle of their site. They returned while I was making dessert and wet chatted briefly before I hiked on again. The talk did not get any bigger or less standoffish. Oh well.

I continued climbing over Fire Creek Pass, and made it up just as the sun was setting. An amazing scene. See the photos.

I hiked down to Fire Creek in the dark, and had a time finding a good site near it to set up my tent. Fortunately, as I had already eaten and brushed my teeth, I could go right to bed as soon as it was set up.

Total distance: 18 miles

Day 7

A week in and there’s still so much hiking to do!

Within a few miles of my starting point, the trail descended into a wet but thankfully less smoky valley. Soon after I crossed Kennedy Creek on a long since broken but still functional bridge, the trail became overgrown with wet stalks t that hid by their height the fact that the ground dropped away rapidly just off the trail. A single misstep there made me much more careful.

Soon after that, the trail itself turned into a creek. I was not wearing waterproof boots, so I spent that mile dancing along the edges or wandering into the woods away from the trail to avoid soaking my feet.

After rock-hopping across the glacial talus pile that was Sitkum Creek, I stopped to talk to a man who had set up a tent and said he was done hiking for the day. It turned out he was the brother-in-law who had hiked over White Pass to bring the couple I had been talking to a resupply. I told him the woman would probably arrive in an hour or so given how far behind me they were and left because I wanted to get over White Pass myself that day.

I stopped for lunch at the tentsite near Large Creek which failed to be large on account of being split into two separate channels at this point.

I stopped briefly at White Chuck River three miles away just to consume some last minute snacks before the long climb up to Red Pass. It was getting late in the day on my way up, but it seemed later than it was. It was out in the open the whole way up, but the sun had to filter through the haze. I met another pair of thru-hikers coming down the same way at speed but didn’t have very many words with them.

I was at the top of Red Pass only an hour later and the views were incredible in spite of the haze. It was just a mile and a half from there along the ridge down to White Pass along which ridge I found an unoccupied campsite, stopping briefly along the way to fill up on water from a stream tumbling down White Mountain. The stock camp just a bit further down the ridge was occupied by a man and his very curious donkey. It followed him around like a good dog and very much wanted to meet me. I gave him some nose pats in exchange for his not stepping on my Garmin.

Total distance: 16 miles

Spot the grouse

Pika nest
A big beautiful berry you do not want to eat

Day 8

Eight days in? How much food did I manage to cram into my bear can anyway? Surely it must be light enough at this point that I can start picking up some speed and putting the miles in, right?

This day I wanted to try to get some distance done, so I got up into the cold, windy pre-dawn air and packed up by headlamp light. The sun was rising by the time I walked out.

Just two miles in, I passed Reflection Pond, which makes you stop and think doesn’t it? I didn’t stop, though, because I didn’t need any water yet.

The trail meandered up and down along ridges for a few hours until it passed Lake Sally Ann, where I stopped for lunch on its shores. While I passed many lakes with female names in the Sierras, this was the first lake I encountered with two female names. It would not be the last.

Later in the afternoon, the trail insisted on tumbling through fields of enormous boulders. Not the easiest walking, but prime territory for spotting pikas. I didn’t see any though.

I went off trail a bit to visit the shores of Pear Lake in the afternoon. It was nice lake for collecting water, but apparently not nice enough to take pictures nor to spend the night. I had time to put in a few more miles.

Climbing up out of Wenatchee Pass, I saw someone I did not expect to see and had not seen in months. I was surprised I recognized Kaleidoscope coming up the trail toward me. You’ll recall I encountered him briefly near Mt. Whitney at the beginning of July. He was somehow, miracle of miracles, still wearing the colorful donut shorts, but he had added a nice digital camera to his loadout.

Finally, after a long strenuous climb out of Pass Creek, I arrived at my intended tentsite… and someone was already there. I spent the evening with northbounder Black Market, so named because he was funding his trip by selling off various bits of equipment he had left with, beginning with an iPad he sold to a stranger from the internet while hiking in the desert. Then he had sold his nice ultralight tent after finding a Walmart special (Ozark Trail) in the hiker box at Kennedy Meadows. Most recently he had sold his digital camera… to Kaleidoscope (who had at some point shortened his name to Scope, so I was told).

We were camped on opposite sides of the trail, so once I had finished eating and the sun had set, I returned to my own side to brush my teeth by headlamp light.

Total distance: 22 miles

Day 9

I was already packed up and headed out of camp by the time Black Market was getting out of his tent. I had thought he would be getting up before me and would have to wake me up, considering he had told me he had a 30 mile day planned. I had good reason to be up early myself, though I had zero intention to be going that far.

The sun was up enough by the time that I reached the top of Grizzly Peak–one of the few actual peaks on the PCT–to see a view–if it weren’t for the haze–but the person who had camped up there was just getting up.

Down a hill and up again brought me to the turnoff for Lake Valhalla, which seemed like a nice scenic place to stop for lunch. Once I left there, I started encountering a lot more people, a lot of them thru-hikers, a lot of them I definitely already had met. That is to say, one after another I ran into each of the Dead Boys, whom I camped with in the desert just 3 months before, except for Zack/Free Dose, now known as Jukebox, who had suddenly hiked ahead of the gang in an effort to finish before his graduate program started and so had passed me somewhere already, and The Flash. They and others I passed each informed me that there was trail magic at the trailhead, and as well that the hitching was relatively easy.

As this befit my plan, I decided to not slow down or stop for any reason until I reached Stevens Pass. I was able to keep to this commitment by virtue of the remainder of the section being relatively flat. Indeed, the entire last mile was a wide, smooth, lightly overgrown gravel road that sloped slightly upward at a consistent grade without turning or otherwise being anything but utterly boring.

The trail spit me out into a gravel parking area next to some kind of fenced industrial enclosure surrounded by those kitted out tool trucks that public utilities always use. But beyond that was the larger parking area in which stood a single EZ-Up over chairs and tables of food. Trail magic found.

I was asked for a story when I arrived, but didn’t really need to deliver because Shenanigans was already there and he is such a talker that I could mostly eat and drink everything these two angels had brought out in relative peace. He was also a bit judgey but otherwise fairly positive and nice. Thing 1 and Thing 2 soon joined us, young teenage brothers brimming with energy. They soon left when a family member drove up with pizza and their resupply.

Shenanigans and I hung around till 5pm (and he had been there since before 1pm), and then helped the angels pack up their site. They kept chatting even after that as I ran across the highway to avail myself of the toilet there. When I got back, the angels finally left, and Shenanigans said he was going to run to the toilet too, and hoped I would already have flagged down a ride before he got back. He had seen C+J get a ride together to Leavenworth in under 5 minutes earlier that day, so I had high hopes.

I found a spot on the shoulder, but instead of sticking out a thumb, I made a sign for Leavenworth to hold, which I had only just finished by the time Shenanigans came back across the road to head to the trail. But in the time it took him to get himself ready, a car had already stopped for me. He cheered for me as I ran to catch my ride.

My volunteer driver turned out to be a unicorn. The only 20-year-old woman in the state of Washington willing to pick up a strange man off the side of the road while driving alone in the age of COVID, Su was in training to become a chef, which meant occasional trips to the city while living east of Leavenworth. The 30 mile drive to said city, extended by a wait for a one lane stretch due to road work, gave us plenty of time to talk about all those things. I tried to ply her for information about the best food and drink in Leavenworth, but she was new to the area and hadn’t really given it a tourist’s exploration.

She left me at the KOA behind the Safeway, which was already closed when I arrived. I used the night registration system and set up my tent in the tent site directly next to the bathhouse. After 6 long days in the smoke, a shower was finally mine again. There was also coin laundry there for my clothes that hadn’t had a wash in 8 days, but I had no coins or detergent and, as mentioned, the camp store was closed. And why not? It was well after dark by this point.

In other words, it was time to go to the store. I put on my clean clothes out of the shower and walked across the empty field and park and ride separating the campground from the Safeway. I went in and got my full resupply, beer, root beer, and detergent and got some coins from the cashier too.

Then I stood in front of the store looking at Google maps to see what restaurant options were available. They were all closed. Even the pizza joints were closed. The Domino’s in the next town over was open but wouldn’t deliver that far. So I went back in the Safeway and went over to the (closed) deli counter to see what premade stuff was available. I ended up with two boxes of store-made sushi. There were no chop sticks there to eat it with.

Back in camp, I got my laundry started and then had a little sushi-as-finger-food party with the beer and root beer and my phone playing videos at the picnic table. Then it started raining, so I took the whole party inside the tent, all the food I had bought, my bear can, and my pack squeezed into a one-man space. I managed to get all the food packed up and ready to hike in that small bit of shelter anyway.

It kept drizzling until well into the night, though I still had to make several trips into it to finish my laundry and do the last preparations for bed. It was probably getting close to midnight by the time I could finally sleep.

Total distance: 16 miles, not counting the trip to Safeway and back šŸ˜›

Camp robber

That was quite the lengthy read, wasn’t it? If you didn’t just skim through looking for pictures and videos and skip the text, you just consumed a large chunk of time getting through thousands of words. And you had to wait a week since the last post to read it! What a hassle. I’m going to take care of that for you from now on, which is the subject of my


Starting on Friday, October 23, this blog will be changing formats. From that day until further notice, rather than long posts roughly weekly, you will get short dispatches every day at 3PM EST. Nothing about the format of the posts will change except that they will each only describe the events of a single day on the trail rather than several days in a row.

This means slightly more work for me when I get to internet access, but I’ve gotten my writing system worked out to the point that I can make it work. It is possible there will be unannounced interruptions to the daily postings owing to unavailability of internet access in certain places as I continue hiking, but once access is available again, posts will resume according to this new schedule.

Look forward to that then!

2 replies on “Revenge of the Wildfires: Rainy Pass to Steven’s Pass”

You have got a beautiful shot of sunset in one of those photos. The other photo that I really like is the one that shows a tad bit of your finger. The view is gorgeous there.
It was fun to read about Stehekin from your your viewpoint since we got to see it.So glad we did!
Excited about the daily posts!

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