Day 166 – 9/23/15
North Fork Camp
Miles – 19.2
Total Miles – 2656.1 (PCT 2577.2)
Rabbit, Pandora, ?, Salt Lick at the Stehekin Bakery
We wanted to get to High Bridge for the 12:15 bus. We have 11.5 miles to get there. It is dueable, but we have to move quickly. We got up and started hiking by 7:00 am. The trail was easy and we made good time. As we turned into Agnes Gorge, Mama Raven asked what time it was and how far we had to go. The time was 10:00 and we had 5 miles to our destination. That means we had to do two hours at 2.5 miles an hour. We walked into the parking lot where the Stehekin bus would come, it was 11:50. Waiting there also was Rabbit, Limy, Pandora, and Salt Lick. They were two reasons we need to go to Stehekin. First was to pick up one days of food to get us to Rainy Pass. The second and most important reason is to go to the Stehekin bakery. The town of Stehekin is at the end of lake Chelan, which is forty miles long. The only way to reach Stehekin is by airplane, boat, or by foot. It is a tiny community that has an amazing bakery. All the thru-hikers have been dreaming about it ever since they arrived to Washington. For much of the summer, there was doubt by the hikers if any would make it up this far because of the trail closures due to all the fires in Washington. Many hikers gave up on Washington and left the trail at Cascade Locks at the Oregon\Washington border. For those that persevered are rewarded with not only the amazing natural beauty of this state (and its is stunningly beautiful) but also are treated with a trip to the Stehekin Bakery. The bus arrived on time and one by one the hikers boarded. Each hiker paid the bus driver for the ride and asked does the bus stop at the bakery. Each time the driver answered patiently, yes. Not long after we started off down the unpaved road, the bus stopped in the middle of the road. There was a moose clumsily walking along the road heading the same direction as the bus. Nobody on the bus, including the driver had ever seen a moose before so it was exciting for everyone. A little later, the bus pulled up to the bakery and with great excitement everyone got out and walked inside. The hikers looked wide eyed with awe at all the goodies before them: huge cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, raspberry twists, fruit kutchen, cheese rolls, brownies, cookies, chocolate coconut bars, strawberry and rhubarb pie, blackberry and apple pie, breads, quiches and filled croissants! The excitement and joy on all the hikers faces as their eyes moved from one goody to the next was priceless. It was like little kids in a candy store. We wanted everything and we bought far more than we were capable of eating. Each hiker left the bakery with a large bag of priceless bliss to sink their taste buds into! Back on the bus, each listed off what their bags contained. As for The Ravens, we ended up with a cinnamon roll, a sticky buns, kutchen, pizza and a sandwich. We actually got the least because once arriving at Stehekin, we would quickly pick up food at the store and promptly catch the next bus back to the trail head. This means that very soon we will be stopping back by the bakery, on the way out, to pick up some more treats. The other hikers our planning on staying overnight. They will be doing laundry and showers and their re-supply boxes. We will do all those things tomorrow at Winthrop. We had only thirty minutes before the next return bus. We talked a few minutes to Haiku. We quickly emptied our trash from the backpacks and went to the store for a short one day re-supply. We packed what we purchased just in time for the arrival of the bus. We quickly talked to Vulture and told him to say hello to Chef for us. They are spending a night at the lodge. We boarded the bus and off we went. The return bus contained Mt. Parana and Haiku, Chickadee and Stonefly, Honest Abe and Moose-lee, The Ravens and another couple we did not know. On our return trip stop at the bakery we got two slices of quiche, a croissant sandwich, two blackberry kuchen, and three mountain bars filled with coconut, almonds, and chocolate. Once we were back at High Bridge, we put all the food away and started hiking. This area has designated camping only, so we were heading for the first one, only 5 miles out. But when we got there, we found that we still had two hours of day light left and only 3 miles to the next camp. So off we went. The next camp had a number of groups there, but we found a quite place to camp and this became home for the night. Tomorrow we will get to Rainy Pass and then go down to Winthrop and see Bling! We will find out what the outcome of last weekends visit to the ER was. In Stehekin, there was no cell phone service to call Bling, so we have to be patient and wait one more day for the news of his leg. We are counting on it to be nothing more than a soft tissue problem that has been healing during our separation from him. However, at the same time we are wondering if there is some indication to uncle Lew that there is something more wrong since they are taking him in to the ER. (our health care insurance does not cover out of state medical expenses unless it is an emergency room visit). We are looking forward to a family portrait at the Canadian monument. To visualize Will not being there, knowing how hard he worked to get as far as he did and the last ten days of it was in such discomfort, it is a painful jagged pill to swallow.