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Martin "Lei Low" Rolph
City: Cameron Park
Begins: Apr 12, 2008
Entry Visits: 1,224
Journal Visits: 180,684
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Guestbook Entrys: 35
Wow, it was pretty wild and hectic day. I needed to get to Stehekin today to pick up my last resupply box at the post office. Stehekin is a very remote place accessible only by boat in the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. The PCT crosses the Stehekin River about 10 miles upstream from the lake and the main resort. The resort operates a shuttle bus that makes four round trips daily. I had almost 20 miles to do today and I needed to get to the 3:00PM shuttle bus to have any hope of reaching the post office before it closed.
I started off at the usual hour, just before dawn. It was really cold as I started the climb to Suiattle Pass. It wasn’t raining, but the bushes overgrowing the trail were still soaked from yesterday’s storm. My feet were cold from the moment I put on my wet shoes. As I was hiking, I noticed that the water oozing from my shoes was very foamy looking. I assumed it was salt until I reached down and felt it…it was ice! As I climbed higher, all the trees and bushes were covered with snow and ice, and my toes really started to hurt. Near the top of the pass, I debated whether to stop and try to warm my feet or hustle down the trail and hope for warmer temperatures at lower elevations. I opted to keep going and practically ran down the trail. After dropping about a thousand feet, a bit of sun came out and I started to warm up.
The hike down the glacially carved Agnes Creek Valley seemed to take forever. The trail was pretty overgrown in the upper portion and there were many downed trees to negotiate. At about 2:30PM, I finally made it to the road and the bus stop near the High Bridge Ranger Station. This spot is at the border of the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and the North Cascades National Park, the seventh and final national park on the trail.
The bus was on time and had a small load of backpackers (and one stinky PCT hiker) to haul back to civilization. It is only 10 to 15 miles down to the main resort on the lake over a pretty good gravel road. The bus, however, took more than an hour to make the trip. There were many stops on the way. The driver was playing tour guide and stopped to allow passengers take pictures of some of the sights and he stopped at the famous Stehekin Bakery. I bought a huge, gooey cinnamon roll to devour on the way into “town”.
We didn’t get to the resort until 4:15PM. My guide book had the post office hour listed as 10AM to 4PM. I went off to find the post office just in case they might still be open. There was a light on and I went up and knocked on the door hoping for the best. A lady asked who it was. I explained that I was a PCT hiker looking to pick up my resupply box. She said she was definitely closed for the night and that I would have to come back after 10 in the morning, but if I left my name, she would have my box waiting. I gave her my name and the door flew open. She exclaimed “Marty Rolph from Sebastopol [the town I grew up in] California?”
I was a bit shocked and puzzled, then she gave me her name…Adele Bingham. One of my neighbors from elementary school and junior high is the Postmaster in Stehekin! We chatted a bit and Adele graciously got my resupply box out (saving me several hours of waiting around tomorrow). We exchanged contact information and I went off to find the campground (it’s right next to town).
I got the last tent site in the tiny campground and quickly set up my tent then headed off to find the showers and laundry. Just down the street from the post office, I found the coin-operated laundry and showers and the only public phone in town (a satellite phone put in by the Park Service). After a wonderful shower, I started my laundry and gave Boulderbunny a call…only four more days until I see her!
That’s about it for my hectic day. I didn’t even have time to go to the restaurant this evening. Oh well, I had a delicious cinnamon roll and I have plenty of food since I spent an extra 1½ days at Snoqualmie Pass. It’s 90 more miles to the end of the trail and I’ve got 3½ days to get there. Barring any unforeseen disasters, I should make it.
Martin "Lei Low“
Tales From The Crest
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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