We were lucky to get a ride from our wonderful trailangel in Skykomish and hiked out on a stomach filled with bacon, eggs and hashbrowns. We had been woken up of rain in the night and clouds still surrounded the mountains. We heard that this section would be challenging with a lot of ups and downs, but also one of the most beautiful sections of Washington. We were exited.
It felt good to be on trail again and we embraced the cooler temperature. Of course we started climbing, up past the beautiful Lake Valhalla and the view from the top of the climb was just breathtaking. The northern Cascades unfolded it's never-ending mountain magnificence and we were stunned.
We had decided to get up earlier in the morning and push more miles and longer days so we would be able to get a zero in Stehekin and get to the border in time. Good thing we were motivated since it proved to be hard days.
The next day we had our first and last day of rain on trail. The clouds were heavy and temperature dropped to 43 Fahrenheit. We hiked all day in full raingear and were soaked and cold; our shoes like bathtubs. We had our fingers crossed that it would not linger and fortunately it was fairly dry when we put up camp after a long 26 mile day drenched to the bone.
After we left Bites and Radio in Skykomish we hoped to catch them up trail and the next day we saw two well-known faces on the top of Firecreek Pass. Yey! Good to be reunited again and we agree to meet later at our camp destination.
The scenery the trail goes through here is just breathtaking and every moment is just amazing. We enjoy the feeling of being high, but we also know that Washington soon will give us a down and then more up. Thousands of vertical feet every day.
We push hard and long days despite climbing and descending huge amounts of vertical feet every day. Never in my life have I hiked more switchbacks ; 200 down; then 200 up, and again. My legs and lungs are strong and I am sure glad I have earned my hiker legs. Phew!
The days are passing by fast and we decide to get up at 04. in the night and hike the 10 miles to be able to get the first shuttle into Stehekin; a little place on Lake Chelan you can only reach by boat or shuttle.
Stehekin is famous for its bakery and we hiked faster than ever in the dark with headlamps thinking about cinnamon rolls and stickybuns. The bakery did not disappoint! We jumped of the shuttle and ate pastry, quiche, ice-cream and coffee until our stomachs were full and smiles were wide. And we of course all had our packs full of pastry to go and a deal to bicycle back for breakfast in the morning.
On our walk down to camp we passed "The Garden". A little place selling organic homegrown vegetables and goatcheese run by the zen-farmer Carl with hobbit-feet rooted way down in the earth. Heaven to a permaculturist like me and very inspiring!
On our zero the next day we rented bicycles and had a late, delicious lunch at the bakery. A local, Bob, had offered us to come sailing with him and we of course said yes to the offer! We met up at his house, a marvelous strawbalehouse he had built himself, surrounded by a wonderful garden and his woodshop. He showed us around and it was absolutely amazing. My inner longing for the simple life grew even deeper after this visit. His boat; a two mast wooden sailboat, was just beautiful and I was lucky enough to become the skipper and got to sail her the next hours. It felt so good to be on the water! Such a great day! We felt so blessed meeting so many wonderful people and kindness everywhere.
We absolutely loved Stehekin. A magical, magical place. It gave us much needed rest and for me the realization that the trail soon was done. Tears were shed on the pier in the sunset. How could I be able to leave this beauty and serenity. Walking back to camp under the milky way and billions of stars.
Luckily I will push on to the border with my trailfamily and have some more time out there! Thank you Stehekin! I'll be back for sure!
Now, North Cascades ; here we come!