I’m only conscious 30 seconds before I’ve convinced myself I’m leaving town today. I have to walk. Have to. I don’t want to walk in the rain, but I do want to walk these last 200 miles before winter sets in. I guess that just means walking in the rain, if that’s what it means. So it’s just a matter of taking care of postal business and getting a hitch up.
Postal business, however, can’t be taken care of until 11:30, so I luxuriate in bed a while, eventually take a shower for the first time since Snoqualmie1. I chat with Spesh on the phone about the ominous weather reports, about the trail up this way, about… the end of things. The beginning of reentry. It’s a short conversation, one I’m not ready to have just yet. There are 200 more miles to go.
I have to leave the hotel room about an hour before the post office opens, so my first stop is the gas station for spot batteries, hand warmers, and an orange bandanna – my pack is already hunter orange, but I’m told the more orange, the better, especially as elk season wears on. Then I walk over to the post office to sit until it opens.
The post office lady arrives while I’m sitting; tells me she’ll open up soon. No worries. It’s nice out, for now at least. A couple of women pull up while I’m sitting there, ask if I’m a hiker, if I need a ride back up to the trail. Yes and yes, but the post office doesn’t open until 11:30. They’re gonna drive around for a bit and come back for me when the time is right. Rad.
The post office opens up and a gent volunteering at the Dinsmores walks in with a couple of hikers. We talk about his hike last year and about how he lives in Baring now while the worker searches for my package. There’s a harrowing moment where I think that my package is somewhere larger rather than at this small-town P.O., but she’s got a system and manages to find it. The two ladies come into the post office for me, and they stick my stuff in the car and whisk me up towards Stevens Pass.
The driver is Pack Witch, who’s done many miles on the PCT, and the passenger is her sister, come to visit her in this lovely part of Washington. They’re going to be stopping by Deception Falls along the way up the hill; I say I’ll use that time to repackage my resupply. So while they wander off a little ways into the woods, I sit on the parking median with a load of food spread about me, repackaging things and trying to make sure I have just enough food to make it to Stehekin, a little more than 100 miles from here. I get some weird looks from people pulling in to look at the falls, but no one asks me any questions. They get back just as I’m finishing up, and we pile into the car for the rest of the trip up.
In the parking lot, while I’m making sure I have everything out of the car and I’m getting pictures with Pack Witch and her sister, I come across Eddie2, who I haven’t seen since Hiker Heaven. His wife, Whiskey Woman, had to get off trail, but he’s going south now. He tells me all about the glory that is Stehekin and that I should 100% not miss the Bakery. Good thing I have
an excuse a package going there. We wish each other luck, and I head inside the building to take care of some trashing and hikerboxing “really quickly”.
I’m in that building for far too long trying to write eat last-minute-charge – and having talked about Stehekin, I’m now keenly aware that I’m not likely to arrive to their post office before late Saturday/early Sunday – which means a setback for package pick-up until Monday. I call it since it’s open now, but it seems like, despite what I’m hearing from other hikers, the lodge will not grab my package for me so I can roll into and out of town. Ugh. I mean, I get it, but ugh. Nothing to be done about it now.
Nothing but hike fast, I guess, so I set out into the afternoon sunshine.
I get a tiny down warm-up, then it’s up uppity-up, as the clouds menace the sunshine. It doesn’t look like rain, though, and I’m hoping it holds off.
I don’t want to camp on Grizzly Peak, which is where, at this pace, it looks like I’ll be sleeping, so I decide to stop early.
I’m listening to a podcast and I manage to miss the last water before my site, so I have to turn around for it. I drop my pack and can’t find the water – oh wait, there it is, down a super-steep slope in a ravine. Great. I tell myself to be careful, it would be really easy to slip and fal–OH FUCK SHIT GRAB SOMETHING STOP OW OW OW. I am really glad I didn’t have my pack on – it’s hard enough to stand up – but I seem to be less injured than I could be, just a bit scraped up, even if the hole in the ass of my leggings is now pretty much the size of my asscheek. Still, that could’ve been bad – why is this even listed as a source? I gripe all the way back up to my backpack, at which point I’m more worried about making miles than about dwelling in the past. At least, until I run across some bonus water. That earns me an extra grumble or two, I think.
I pass a nice hiker headed to the last marked site before the peak, as I am, and while he passes me again before I get there, the three-pad site is empty. Nice, but empty. Boo.
I set up and start to cook, in that order, before I realize I should’ve been boiling water before I set up. I forwarded myself a bunch of Backpacker’s Pantry meals for this leg, and it takes time for those to rehydrate. Well. I listen to podcasts as I rehydrate and eat in a cloud, before retreating into my tent.
Looking at the maps, I decide I’m going to try to do 28 miles tomorrow to try to get into Stehekin by Saturday morning. It might be impossible – I only did 12 miles this afternoon/evening – but I’m going to try. Emphasis on try. I’m not going to murder myself over it. Then it’s writing in an attempt to catch up on the blog in the mutedness of the cloud, and only the planes overhead for noise as I fall asleep.
Date: September 20 Start: 2461.6 • End: 2474.4 • Day: 12.8
Notable Accomplishments: Got out of town • Didn’t die when slipped down the hill • Alone again
 Yep, showering still isn’t a priority. Felt nice, though.
 Whose trail name I forget. I’m really just impressed I remembered his name and his wife’s trail name.