ZERO IN STEHEKIN
PCT Day 22. Thursday August 4, 2022
Mile 2573_The End
Total Distance Hiked: 377 miles /603 kilometres
The day dawned cool, grey and a very windy. We are camped at Lakeview Campground, same campsite spot I was in when I stayed in 2017. A better spot then where Hammer stayed in a group site allocated to hikers and located higher up on the grounds. From the tent we can see the lake through the tall swaying pines.
The Bakery opens at 7.30 and we walked the two miles for breakfast. A quiche Lorraine, a latte and a blueberry scone, the size of my palm for me and for Hammer a ham and cheese croissant, followed by a cinammon scroll the size of his head. I know the detailed descriptions of what we ate are not really necessary, but the food was so delicious I don’t want to forget the simple joy of eating great tasting food.
On the way to the Bakery we reflected on the past three weeks hiking. This morning it felt unreal, did it really happen? With a big smile on his face Hammer said ‘yes indeed, we did it’. From couch to trail with no training or conditioning.
In a way to me these 377 miles feel more satisfying today then finishing 2,653 miles did 5 years ago. Not that I’ve ever taken my health and fitness for granted, I’ve been through too much to do that, it’s just that this last insult – breaking my knee in the midst of the pandemic – felt particularly cruel. The pain, the long rehab and recovery and the many setbacks have affected my confidence and belief that I would recover. Hammer is grateful to have had the opportunity to return and see the Northern Cascades in all their glory. While the extreme heat was a challenge, the landscape more then made up for it.
We stayed at the Bakery charging our devices and watched outbound hikers arrive and load up on pastries to take out on trail. We farewelled hikers, we’ve met and shared the trail with over the past week, as they continue their journey to the border.
We walked back to the Rangers Station, near our campsite, hoping to continue working on the blog and charging our devices. Disappointed to find that it didn’t open till 12. We spent a couple of hours on the windy deck outside, charging our devices before we returned to the Bakery for lunch.
By lunchtime we felt that we transitioned out of the hiker bubble and realised that our bodies can’t afford to continue to consume calories like a hiker. A delicious salad back at the Bakery did not disappoint. We returned to the Ranger Station and Hammer looked at the interesting displays and read a book about the geology of the Northern Cascades while I continued working on the blog. We did not have an internet connection so could not upload anything until we leave here. We were a little disappointed that we couldn’t go for a another swim. The strong, cold wind made the cold lake uninviting.
Later in the day we went to a Rangers talk on the Western tanager, a migratory bird which travels from Costa Rica to Stehikin to breed. The difficulties faced by this species, as its environment along the way is encroached by human induced changes, would be shared by other migratory species. Ranger Price was also challenged during his presentation by the strength of the wind which kept blowing the lovely ranger hat off his head and the props out of his hands. It was a very informative session and I now have a resource to hunt down the identity of ‘my happy bird’.