So I’m not quite yet on my way to the border. I stayed in Stehekin all day and I’m glad I did. There’s no need to end my holiday just yet and I know I can reach the border, it’s just a matter of choosing the right days to be out there.
I took the shuttle (one of those typical American yellow school buses) to the bakery and ate my way through three excellent goodies. Lucky Joe came in from the trail. He’d had quite a different experience over the last section. In rain for a lot of it he lost the trail before Kennedy Creek, bush-whacked up a ridge in the wrong place and slid down a steep bank clawing and grabbing at anything to slow him down. He sure was lucky to come through un-harmed and I’m glad he’ll now be finishing with us.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around the boat landing area and watching the sky. For a while it was actually sunny and I lay on a log by the water trying to doze. Most of the time the brooding clouds and gusty wind kept me indoors. The visitors center was nice, I can now tell the difference between black and grizzly bear paw prints. I learned in there that Lake Chelan is dammed at the southern end. It’s 67 miles long and with no road out. The boat ride (or the cool floating plane) is the only way out for non-PCTers. Somehow the mountains here make me feel much smaller than elsewhere. Their texture, the clarity of the air to see each tree and rock on the steep west wall, the way a cloud only covers part of the hill as if they are bigger than the sky itself. There was even a patch of fresh snow on one peak this morning which made me very glad to be finishing soon and not in a few weeks when it’d be much colder and the bakery will be closed.
The atmosphere is a strange one. This is where real writers would excel. They could quantify and dissect that strangeness but all I can do is experience it. We’re so close and so happy to be almost done, but it’d be premature congratulation if we thought it was a done deal. 89 miles is still a fair bit and though we’ll take only four days it’s more than most do on the Appalachian Trail before giving up and going home.Distance today: 0 miles. Total distance: 2574.1 miles