PCT Day 146: Mile 2551.4- Mile 2569.2
Tuesday September 6, 2016: 17.8 miles (28.5 km)
I found it hard to stay asleep last night as the slope of the tent site made it feel as though you need to dig in parts of your body or you would slide down the slope. If this is an established campsite than no more for me. The rain started at about midnight and continued on and off till about 5am but thankfully allowed me to pack up the tent without further rain. “Windy” explained a neat trick the other day about using a platypus water container as a tool to remove excess water from the tent fly. It works pretty well but regardless you are still packing up a wet tent.
There was an initial climb out of the rockfall valley before following a number of river valleys which were pretty flat. Powered by 2 dozen wild raspberries, peanuts and energy bars I made quick time to the rangers station arriving at 2.30 which gave me time to dry the tent before the bus to town arrived. On the way onto town we came across a bear with 2 cubs grazing on some of the fresh berries on the side of the road. They were not in a hurry to move off and I did get my question answered regards using paws or snout. This momma bear definitely was a snout feeder. It was then onto the bakery for some lunch, two slices of pizza and a sticky bun about the size of half a loaf of bread and the hunger pains were satisfied.
I picked up my last resupply package and the tiny post office is crammed with hikers boxes. I enquired about a room for the night but they were fully booked and so was directed to the National Parks Office to obtain a free camping permit. Tent up and sleeping bag dry and on the way to do laundry and a shower. While at the laundry room I met Paul a bloke who had worked in education and had quit and was living on a boat on the lake. He was a very interesting character and as chance would have it he came in to have dinner not long after I had been served and so we continued our free flowing conversation over dinner.
Stehekin is a lovely little town on the shores of Lake Chelan and there a nice friendly feel to the town. It survives mainly on tourism and has a permanent population of about 80. It has a National Parks Campground, a Lodge, Post Office, small General Store, Bakery and a Ranch you can stay at which apparently has great food. The bus that brought me in is the main means of transport, although there are other cars and pick up trucks on the road. It has a bit of an alternative feel to it. There was a number of houses under construction on the trip into town. A yurt or two amongst them as well as traditional log cabins. There is no phone service but the lodge has internet for guests only. The only way in is via the lake or walking.
It is so nice to have dry feet and clean clothes and there are stars in the sky again so hopefully some of the beauty of the North Cascades may reveal itself from beneath the cloud.
There are now 80 miles left to the Canadian border.