a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 2459.8 to 2473.8. Lake Susan Jane camp to Lake Janus camp.
What a restless night! Dario kept hearing mice and even saw a mouse who had climber up our inner tent on our tent stakes! We start hiking at 6.30am, Benjamin Button is already ahead of us. Only one small mountain to climb, should be easy! The sun is just rising as we make our way up, immersing the mountain tops and colorful meadows in a golden light. The pictures just don’t to the colors justice! The autumnal colors are incredibly beautiful, what a stunning Indian Summer we get to experience here.
There is a ski lift on top of the mountain as Stevens Pass is a popular skiing place in winter and once we reach the top we can see the little settlement down below, and get cell reception for the first time in days! Stevens Pass is still about 2.5 miles away and Dario uses that time to call Andri, a close friend of his. It was his birthday the day before, when we were unable to contact him due to service absence.
We reach the pass at 8.15am and contact BigBro who slept here last night. This is the time to say goodbye to him. He will be back on trail right after, while we still have to hitch into Skykomish and get our resupply and the laundry done. We also have to say goodbye to Benjamin Button now who is hitching east to Leavenworth from where he hopes to get a ride to Lake Chelan (where Stehekin is situated at the other end of the lake and can be reached by a ferry ride).
I hate goodbyes. But at the same time I am positive we will see these two again. BigBro in Europe, Benjamin Button whenever we will be back in California, as he lives in LA.
We start hitching. It’s brutally cold here because the sun hasn’t reached the valley where Stevens Pass is yet. We are both wearing our extremely bright and well showing down jackets, but still nobody cares to stop for us. Soon Starburst and Poodlebee show up, they spent the night up near the ski lift. We must have passed them this morning but didn’t see their tents. After about 40 minutes a van coming from the direction of Skykomish turns up and slows down. About 10 hikers jump out of the van and the driver asks us if we want a ride to Skykomish. Yaaay, finally! We get in, it’s nice and warm. Our driver is called Billy and he’s awesome, apparently giving free rides to hikers throughout the season. We are so lucky!
Skykomish is very small. Very pretty. We instantly like it. We wish we could spend the night here. But nope, that’s not the plan. Post Office, laundry, shower and organizing, that’s what we’re here for. And the restaurant of course. That’s where Billy drops us off and asks us when we intend to get back on trail. It is now 09.30 am and Dario and I are confident that we can be ready by 1pm. The other two aren’t sure what they’re gonna do yet so he agrees to just pick up the two of us at 1pm. He drops us off at the restaurant and we get a table for the four of us. We have been leapfrogging with Starburst for weeks now, Poodlebee on the other hand we only met at Snoqualmi Pass. Starburst is blogging and vlogging about the PCT on her Youtube channel “The Whimsical Woman” (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIUPDURNSrgUg96rxhlr5rA), and she’s got 10’000 subscribers to her channel. I had been following her on instagram and it’s kind of funny that we met in real life after. They’re both American and lovely people and we enjoy an excellent breakfast together.
After breakfast we do our laundry, collect our boxes and start organizing them outside on a picnic table on the lawn in the town centre. It’s warm and we can easily dry our tent while we “are working”. I also received my new long-sleeve shirt that BigBro ordered with Amazon. Yay, another layer to keep me warm! People keep coming up to our table and asking us about the trail, always reacting very astonished when we tell them that we’ve hiked more than 2000 miles to get here. When we are nearly done we take turns in showering at the hotel and are ready at 12.59pm. Billy is already waiting nearby and therefore we are back at Stevens Pass in no time. Wow, what an efficient resupply stop! We’ve never organized faster. But it was also very stressful and we didn’t have time to relax at all. So let’s go to the restaurant at Stevens Pass and eat a burger.
Dario still has another problem. His shoes. He has only been wearing them since Snoqualmie, where he found them in a hiker box, but they are causing him pain as they are a little bit too small, and already quite battered. He goes looking around Stevens Pass, if there is a store or even just a hiker box. And again, he gets lucky and finds Columbia hiking boots. These might work better in the wet Washington conditions anyway!
And then suddenly we realize we forgot to buy fuel! This is a big disaster! We look all around Stevens Pass but they don’t appear to be selling them here. We check in the hiker box, but no fuel canister there either. What are we gonna do? We need fuel to cook our food! We almost only carry food which needs to be cooked. And the little bit we have left in our fuel canister is just not gonna be enough to hike all the way to Stehekin! Should we go back to Skykomish? But we don’t have the time for that. But well, I guess we will have to. Anyway, we already ordered our burgers and now sit down with another hiker called Jandals (he was the one who offered us his room to shower in at the Timberline Lodge back in Oregon). We mention our fuel problem and he offers without hesitation that we take his. But! No, he…, he needs it for himself! Well, he is going to go into Leavenworth where he can buy another, so he insists we take his, and doesn’t want our money for it. Wow. We are speechless. This is just so selfless and kind. We couldn’t be any more grateful and buy him some beers and share our fries with him. Thank you so much Jandals, you are such a great person! We sit with him a little while longer. He is a Brit but living in New Zealand and trying to convince us that we come to visit us in New Zealand. As if we needed convincing! If we end up going to NZ we will most definitely visit Jandals!
Most of the hiker talk right now is about the finishing date. Everyone asks everyone about what date they’re planning to finish. Some are overly confident, replying with dates coming up very soon. Our planned end date is still around 7th/8th of October which people generally consider to be reasonable. Due to a fire closure there is a gonna be another detour before Stehekin, where hikers can either hike 27 miles (instead of the closed 20 miles) to get back on the PCT, or take a ferry on Lake Chelan from a village called Holden to the town of Stehekin, the last resupply stop on the PCT. Most hikers are opting for the second alternative because the weather is supposed to get worse again soon, it’s still considered an official PCT detour and a ferry ride is, well, kind of fun. But the ferry only runs once a day. Most hikers are now calculating which date they’re gonna catch the ferry. Jandals wants to catch it the day before us, but still needs to get into Leavenworth for his food (and now fuel) resupply. Which means he’s kind of in a hurry and therefore gets up from the table soon and catches a ride to Leavenworth.
And soon after, we are off too, back on trail. One more resupply stop until Canada. UNBELIEVABLE!
But I ate too much and I am feeling oh so sick now. I don’t digest town food very well. It happens almost every time. I am only used to crappy trail food now. Greeeeat! We can only go slow and I can’t really enjoy the sunny weather and beautiful scenery around us.
We reach our designated campsite in the dark, after 10 miles. According to the weather forecast which we checked in Stevens Pass this was the last sunny day for a while. Tomorrow should be overcast and then the rain will likely come back. And it looks like it might be raining, and even snowing, for a while. Fingers crossed that the weatherman is wrong.
The night is still cloudless and starry, our base layers which we use as pyjamas are still warm from the dryer. I am tired and soon fall asleep after dinner.