Miles 2462 to 2569 – Bus/Ferry/Bus fire reroute
Miles 2569 to 2574
We stop at the front desk at 6:00am hoping to grab a quick breakfast on our way to the bus stop. Unfortunately breakfast is not put out until 6:30, the same time our bus departs for Chelan. I plead for at least a muffin and learn that words do matter. I assume he will begrudgingly provide a muffin for each of us, but no I said a muffin and he begrudgingly provides a muffin. We laugh and split it as we walk toward the bus station.
The bus ride to the Lady of Our Lake dock is 1 hour long and costs a whopping $2.50. Kevin is pretty sure that does not cover the actual operating expense. We are joined by a blind man with a white cane. Although not politically correct I find myself chuckling when we drop him off at the security guard shack where he works. What a country.
At the ferry we are joined by several other thru-hikers making their way to the final leg of our journey. It is a strange feeling. This will be the last time we leave a resupply for the wilderness. For most of us it will be 4 more days of walking and it’s all over. I imagine it will end with the same fanfare Forest Gump ends the jogging craze: “I am pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.”
On the ferry we feel strangely like normal tourists. It is a 4 hour ride with occasional commentary on the history and environment of the third deepest lake in the country. On the boat we can see smoke from the still burning fire, which is not expected to be out until significant winter snow falls. We selfishly hope that does not happen in the next 4 days.
We stop for a brief visit at the Stehekin visitor center to get our Northern Cascade National Park Complex Backcountry Permit, which appears to live up to its complex name. In this next 17 mile section we can only camp in designated sites and we must decide now. Not sure when we will reach the trail or if it will be raining we select Bridge Creek, a site 5 miles out. That will at least knock our remaining 4 day average to Manning Park down to a reasonable 21.25 miles.
We ride the red bus towards the PCT, but have one mandatory stop, the Stehekin Pastry shop. We purchase massive cinnamon rolls and sticky buns to carry on the trail. I am not exactly sure, but I think they are close to a million calories each.
Back on the trail we find our legs a little lethargic, probably from the double zero. We warm them up by dodging the crazy number of tiny tree frogs on the trail and the one huge seriously rattling rattlesnake now striking a striking pose.
At camp we set up our tents and consume sticky buns, hoping the calories will stick to ours. We are soon joined by 2 other thru-hikers. Tomorrow we will climb over 6,000 feet in about 20 miles. It won’t be the steepest climb, but it will just seem to keep going all day long and get colder with every step.