I’ve taken five months to walk this far. Something that could be driven in a few days or flown in a few hours and I’m still as impatient as ever. Proof of this comes from the fact that I woke every few minutes from well before dawn, desperate for it to be 6am, the time I judged right to break camp and walk to High Bridge Ranger Station where a bus would take me to Stehekin. It’s the last settlement on the trail and by all accounts the nicest.
On the drive down we stopped at the ranch and picked up hikers who had been there last night including Ricola (last seen leaving the Sierras via Kearsarge Pass), Totally Rachael and A-Train. Together they made a young team and I was very keen to make a quick turn around here and thus finish with them in three days. Rigatoni has been a little sullen for the last few days and it’s been awkward walking with them since he used to be so cheerful. Plus it would give me more time after the hike for socialising in San Francisco.
Monty was in town (another reason to turn and run for the border) and he found a forecast for rain/snow tomorrow night just north of here. But it was Angelhair that tipped the balance. We talked for a while and I began to see I was still rushing everything, even down to the massive pile of fries that made my stomach ache.
“What’s the worst that will happen?” she said. Not much really, I’ll arrive in Auckland later but not too late and I’ll feel a lot stronger taking on the massive climb leaving here. So I’ve stayed, and with bad weather I will probably take a zero tomorrow.
The care packages were amazing. Kathy clearly knows what a thru-hiker needs: dried fruit, candy, little apricot rolls and Blue Sky must have tipped her off about apple sauce. Heavy but the best way to carry apples for 4 days. Anna’s one was wonderful. NZ lollies, a flag and some cool badges (pins) that look like big eyes for freaking out bears/mountain lions that are sneaking up on me.
Stehekin is really nice. At the lake front there’s a small store, restaurant, post office free shower and campground plus a lodge that doesn’t seem to mind hikers wandering in to use internet or air conditioning. A mile or two up the road (towards the ranch) is a bakery. Strangest place for a bakery I think, out there in the woods. It has incredible food and I’ll spend some time and money there tomorrow. The ranch is pricey, about $95 per person, but with three all-you-can-eat meals you get your money’s worth.
The restaurant in ‘town’ is very nice. I highly recommend the beef medallions with “twice baked” potatoes, and I also recommended to Holly the waitress that they call them “stuffed potatoes” because twice baked doesn’t sound good to me.
And I nearly forgot to mention the minor disaster with my passport. My NZ passport and Canadian entry papers should now be waiting in Manning Park. They almost weren’t because NZ post requires a signature on ‘track and trace’ packages and I’m not there to sign for it so Dad spent a while trying to find out just where it got delivered. It seems to all be fine now though I am definitely glad I carried my UK passport with me this whole time.
Distance today: 5.1 miles. Total distance: 2574.1 miles
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