Day 33 – 8/8/16
Miles – 8.6
Total Miles – 519.3 (PCT 2650.1)
It rained over night and the sky was filled with dark clouds when we got up. It is not a long hike to Manning Park and we knew that we would get there this morning. Even though we would have a room tonight, we still packed for rain. It is always better to err on the side of safety. We started hiking in a light rain. The trail to Manning Park is a lot different from the PCT. It is much steeper and less cleared. The PCT has been designed with horses and hikers in mind so it rarely gets very steep. The plants have not been cut back for some time so we got very wet walking through them after the mornings rain.
After several hours hiking, we crested a ridge and had our last view of the U.S. shrouded in rain clouds. We took a short break to eat something. Short because to was just too cold to sit for very long. The trail climbed up through a small gap and then started down toward the resort on dirt roads. The hiking was easy and we made good time. However, Mama Raven slowed us down to take photographs of the mushrooms that lined the path. Down deep, she does not want the trip to end, so by taking time to take photographs, the trip lasted a little bit longer. As we hiked up to the lodge, it started to rain. We had been lucky to hike the whole way to Manning Park under threatening dark clouds with very little rain. It was considerate of them to hold off till we reached the resort. Our task was to get a room. This did not turn out how we had hoped. The resort was full. The receptionist told us that there was camping about a mile back up the road. The thought of walking to a camp site in the rain with our soggy gear, was utterly unappealing. The Ravens had been so looking forward to a warm shower and soft beds with clean dry sheets; the last thing we wanted to do was to head back out into the rain and find a wet campsite. Papa Raven also checked with the receptionist about our box. She could not find it and had no record of it arriving. Lastly, we checked about the outbound buses. We needed to go from here to Osoyoos to cross back into the U.S. The receptionist informed us that 2 months ago the bus service changed its hours and the bus to Osoyoos would leave the lodge at 3:15 am. Definitely not a convenient time, especially having to pack the gear in the rain, and walk a mile in the dark to catch the bus. Postponing the dismal walk to the camp ground, we settled down in the lodge’s lobby while Papa Raven got on-line to buy bus tickets for the morning’s bus. While we were sitting there, another hiker came in and inquired about a room. Mama Raven overheard the receptionist tell him that there were full but there was a hostel he could stay at. Hostel! That was our answer. Mama Raven immediately went and talked to her about it. She had forgotten about it when she first talked with us. A short time later, we had two rooms and we headed across the highway to settle into our cozy, dry rooms! Winning the lottery, could not make us more happy than we were at that moment knowing we did not have to spend another night in the rain. The hostel had showers and a kitchen. We took turns showering and tried to dry our clothes as best as we could. The Olympics started a few days ago and we sat by the TV in the kitchen watching them. Being in Canada, all the coverage was Canadian specific. So we rooted for the Canadians. We consumed a very big dinner at the lodge restaurant. Little Crow and Bling both ordered nachos separately. When they arrived to the table, we were shocked at the mountain of nachos that were set before both of them. Neither of them could finish them. Mama Raven and I had burgers. Finally, we headed back to our rooms and to bed because 3:00 will come very fast tomorrow morning.
Day 28 – 8/3/16
Miles – 9.6
Total Miles – 429.8 (PCT 2569.4)
It was a warm night and we slept soundly after our twenty-five mile day yesterday. With a sigh of relief, we saw blue sky with only a cloud here and there when we poked our heads out of the tents. It looks as if the unexpected storm had passed. We packed up quickly and got hiking. We wanted to catch the 11:00 bus into Stehekin so we had to push ourselves to make it on time. The trail dropped all the way to High Bridge. It is not a steep drop and is easy hiking. High Bridge is where the bus would pick us up. We made only one stop to eat on the way down. Bling and Mama Raven made it to the bridge first at 11:06. We missed the bus! We would have to wait for the next one. Gloomily, we hiked on down to the pickup point. There was a bus schedule posted and we noticed that there was not an 11:00 bus, instead it did not arrive until 12:30. Everyone was a lot happier knowing we were not late after trying so hard to be on time. Also we were eager for food, and a place to get clean and to dry out the gear. Stehekin is a small resort located at the North end of Lake Chelan, which is 41 miles long. No roads go into Stehekin. The only way to get to it is by sea plane or boat. The buses and cars that are in Stehekin came over on barges.
On the way into the resort, the bus stopped at the famous Stehekin bakery. Martha Stewart visited it many years ago and claimed it as one of the best bakeries she had ever been to. Long before Martha Stewart’s discovery of the bakery, long distance hikers on the PCT knew how good it is. Up and down the trail, it is well-known as one of the best places to eat. For hikers, it is a legend. We got pizza, two big ham and cheese croissant, a blueberry Danish, and fruit kuchen.
When we got into Stehekin, we started to look for a room. We disappointedly found out that the lodge was full. Next we tried the ranch, it too was full. We needed showers and clean laundry!! What to do? The boat from Chelan came up and we went to see how much the fair to the other end of the lake to the town of Chelan. The only problem was that they boat was working on only one out of the two motors and will take twice as long to get there. That would between 8:00-9:00 tonight. So that would not work. We really wanted to clean up. It has been six days of sweat, dirt, mud, bugs and plants in hair. We stink! We were feeling very sub-human. Mama Raven said how about look into a sea plane to Chelan. That would be a treat for every one. The sea plane was $120 per person one way. Too expensive! Somebody told us about the public laundry and shower and off we went. There was only one shower and one laundry machine, and of course there was a line of people waiting. Luckily, we were the only ones needing laundry. We cycled each of us through the shower, one dollar for 5 minutes. As this was going on, we sorted our box. After several hours, we finished and decide to stay at the campground. We walked over and found a spot. At least we had somewhere to stay and we were now clean! We were human again! We went over to the lodge for dinner around 6:30 and found that Lord Vader was there. We sat and ate with him. We all had a wonderful time sitting and talking about trail life and life after long distance hiking, especially trying to “melt back into the world of muggles.” (what thru-hikers affectionately call non thru-hikers). It is more often than not a difficult transition. Nonetheless, we thoroughly enjoyed our evening with Lord Vader.
We will be back to the trail tomorrow morning. Rain is forecasted for Sunday, we will be nearing the boarder that day. I hope it waits a bit and let us get to Manning Park before it rains.
Day 21, 22 – 7/27/16
Miles – 0
Total Miles – 322.3 (PCT 2461.8)
Even through we are not hiking today, we still got up at our normal time. It is a town day and excitement is high!!! Nonetheless, we leisurely packed up and headed over to Stevens Pass Ski Resort before 8:00. This year and last year, the PCT passed through many ski resorts causing Bling and Little Crow to want to try the sport. Papa and Mama Raven use to ski and both love it. However that was many years ago, before owning a house with a mortgage, bills, years of private school tuition, kids and now unemployment. Our response to the kids has always been “one day, it sure would be fun to ski!” Anyways, we cleaned out our packs of all trash and waited for the store to open at 9:00. When it did open, we ordered four smoothies, ice cream, and our box. We sorted out the box and got the packs ready to go.
At about 8:00 this morning, we started to tried to get bus reservations. Stevens Pass is not a regular stop, so Papa Raven had to line it up ahead of time so the bus driver would stop for us. Everyone he called could not figure out how much it was and they kept having him call a different company. It took four different companies before
he was able to buy the tickets. Next, we just had to wait until 11:30 for the bus to come. By 11:50, the bus had not arrived so we called the bus company to see if we missed the bus or was it late. Come to find out, the Seattle traffic had held it up. We were relieved we had not missed it. Finally, the bus arrived a little after noon. Once we were in Leavenworth, we quickly found a room in our price range and Mama and Papa Raven took showers so we would not stink when we went to the medical clinic. We had no time to wash clothes, so hopefully most of the smell was on our bodies and not the clothes. It was the best we could do under the circumstances. We left the kids in the room, as we walked over to the clinic. We walked in to the clinic at 3:00 and right away we got to see a nurse practitioner. She said what needed to be done was to remove a quarter of the nail on the side that is causing the problem. However, she was hesitant to recommend this because we would be hiking with an exposed nail bed and that will be uncomfortable; also would be hard to keep it clean. Mama Raven said let’s have the procedure done anyways because hiking with it the way it is has become unbearable. Thus, the job was done in 15 minutes. Mama Raven said the worst part of the procedure was all the nerve block shots to numb her toe. After that, it was easy! At the end, the nurse put a big, fat bandage on Mama Ravens toe. It was so large it would not fit into her shoe. They gave her a hospital sock to put on. And that is how we left the hospital: one shoe on one foot and a sock on the other, hobbling down the road. Good thing we only had to walk a mile back to the room!
We spent a quite day in Leavenworth. Mama Ravens toe is feeling much better. She is very happy we had the ingrown nail trimmed back. Around lunch, everyone walked into town. We wondered in and out of the shops and played the tourist. We worked our way to the far end of town so we could stop by a Safeway, for some extra food for the next section, and hardware store for epoxy and duct tape to repair Bling’s and Mama Ravens hiking poles. We all returned to our room and relaxed. All and all, it was a good day of not doing much of anything.
Day 15 and 16
Miles – 5.5
Total Miles 251.2 (PCT 2390.7)
We had sunshine first thing this morning. That has not happened very often this trip. Since it is a short five miles to town, we were a bit slow getting out of camp. That is at least Mama and Papa Raven were. Little Crow and Bling were so excited for town day they were up and ready at record speed! The hike to town started with a simple traverse. The only problem was with the dew. Washington is the only place were you can hike on a clear day and still get totally soaked. The trail is often overgrown and dew collects on the leaves. As we hiked through them we got wet. The vegetation up here is green and beautiful with lush ferns, mosses, clover and grasses. There are wildflowers of every color. One of our favorite has been there Bear Grass. A tall stock grows out from the center of a clump of dark green grass. The stock ends in a explosion of hundreds of tiny white flowers. When we came through here last September, the Bear Grass was long gone. Vast variety of mushrooms are up here too. The local residents know which ones are edible and they come up and gather them. We are clueless about them so we are not about to try any of them. There are also berry bushes galore: huckleberries, blueberries, black berries, salmon berries, thimble berries, and ones we do not even know their names. This is how today’s trail went until we crossed over to the eastern side of the mountain. Once over to the sunny side, our paced picked up and we passed under the Summit Ski lifts. By 10:00 we dropped down the mountain and hiked into Snoqualmie Pass.
First thing we did was to stop by the gas station to pick up some drinks and something to eat. Papa Raven went over to the hotel to see when our room would be ready. It will not be ready at 12:30. He picked up our re-supply box and we sat at a picnic table and sorted through it. This did not take long, so we spent a lot of time just sitting and waiting. Finally 12:30 came, and we got into our room. Showers and laundry were the most urgent tasks completed. Bling and Papa Raven got their new shoes. The old ones were eagerly thrown in the trash. We had dinner at a restaurant across the street called the Commonwealth. It was excellent and we plan on eating there tomorrow night as well. The sunshine we woke up to this morning disappeared to dark gray cloud cover. It did not rain. That comes tomorrow, while we will be dry inside the hotel room!
We did our best to do nothing. We ate. We did some repair on the equipment. We sat and rested the feet. We watched TV. We watched Discovery Channel’s Alone, Deadliest Catch and Alaskan Bush People. Mama Raven worked on photographs for the blog. That’s about it!
We did pick a good day to take a zero. We woke to rain. The clouds stayed very low all day and it rained several more times throughout the day. We were glad that we were not hiking in this wet weather.
Around 1:00, Bling started to feel sick (nauseated). He took a nap and stayed in bed and by 6:00, he felt better and wanted dinner. It was kind of weird, not feeling well for 5 hours. We hope that is the end of that ailment for Bling. We ate at the Commonwealth restaurant again for another awesome dinner. The Raven’s favorite part was the carmel apple crisp with vanilla ice cream.
Day 9 – 7/15/16
Miles – 10.4
Total Miles – 152.3 (PCT 2292.4)
We had another dry night. Two dry nights in a row! We can get use to that. Quickly we got out of camp because we were looking forward to getting to town as fast as possible. Town days are exciting for hikers. The main reason is food! The visions of pizza, hamburgers, French fries, sodas, and ice cream were dancing in our heads. The trail led up a ridge past Shoe Lake. After that it crossed a bowl with few snow patches. When we entered the bowl we saw nine mountain goats near the trail. They noticed us right away and ran up the cliffs above. They perched themselves on the craggily knife-edge, watching us as we marched by them far below on the trail. Next, the trail went near several ski lifts. We took one break at an open area where we had views north and east. We noticed that a fire is burning out in the Washington desert. After eating, we set off to town. As we were going toward the White Pass, we saw Joe, who helped with Bling’s rescue last September, riding his horse toward us. He was a bringing gear for a PCTA trail crew. He told us that we could camp with him and Cindy, his wife if we liked. He also said we could come by for dinner. We parted company, hoping to meet later and walked the last few miles to White Pass. Shortly after Joe we ran into some more horseman who greeted us with a big “hello Ravens!” It was Doc and Matt, who also helped in Bling’s rescue. It was good to see them. We talked a few minutes before we continued on. At White Pass is the Kracker Barrel store which has food, groceries, and our re-supply box. Since it was around noon we picked up sandwiches and drinks. We sat at one of the tables inside and ate. There is a lodge just above the store and Little Crow and I went to see if we could get a room. All The Ravens need a bath and we also need a place to spread our gear out. There was one available and we took it. Soon we were all in the room, emptying packs, getting showers, and sorting out the food box. This took longer than it should because we just wanted to sit and get off our sore feet. We hand washed the most important things in the sink and dried them the at the store. If we had done a full load of laundry at the store, it would have been seven dollars. Around 6:00, we walked the short half mile over to Joe’s camp. We stayed for several hours and talked with all the horseman that had come up for the weekend. We had a delicious feast of baked beans, pork chops, salad, and Jello side dishes. The dinner wrapped up with a homemade blackberry pie. It will be a meal we dream about and long for while we are hiking. We all had a great time. Finally we walked back to our room and settled in for the night.
Day 5 – 7/11/16
Miles – 10.1
Total Miles – 82.2 (PCT 2226.4)
With only ten miles to go to get to Road that leads to Trout Lake we did not need to get moving too early. Nonetheless, we did anyways, at least earlier than the last four days. Every morning so far, we have woken up to rain and had to stay in the tent until it stopped. Once again, we had rain over night. A light drizzle. Enough to get the tents all wet. Despite the condensation falling on us, we packed up early and headed for our ride to Trout Lake.
The trail was easy. We had a medium size up and a really big down. The sun was coming out every now and then as we hiked. We took a short break underneath an old growth pine tree whose girth was enormous. There are not too many trees left like him. Last year, we stopped for a break underneath it also. It was good to see him again. We got to the trail head just before 1:00. That gave us a two-hour wait. I did try to get a phone connection but it was not strong enough to make a call. Since our gear was saturated with water, we pulled it out and dried it in the sun. Our back packs even had a chance to dry. The time passed quickly. Gary arrived at 3:00 and we put our packs in his truck, then it was off to Trout Lake. On the way to town we had a good conversation with Gary, the gentleman that picked us up. He had been a forest fire fighter for thirty years, but now he is retired . When the space shuttle Challenger exploded over Texas, he was called in to search for shuttle debris. He also worked in the evacuation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. He has fought forest fires all over the country, including San Diego. He now spends his time during the summer shuttling hikers back and forth. We tried to pay him for the gas, but Gary would not accept any thing. As we walked in the store, Bev, the owner, gave us the same room we had last year, it is at the back of the grocery store. Actually, the room belongs to “Mikey” the cat. He just lets us borrow it from him. The kids loved his company last year, and this year was no difference. We dropped our packs and started to make a laundry pile as everyone cycled through the shower. Just before 7:00 we walked over to the cafe for cheese burgers and huckleberry pie. After dinner we worked on our re-supply box and then it was off to bed. Just what you need for a re-supply stop food, a shower, and a warm dry bed.
The only problem for the day was Papa Ravens foot. We think that one of his heel blisters got infected and his ankle has swollen up a bit. We will look at it tomorrow. Mama Raven also noticed she has some Poison Oak from the first day of our hike. Despite all the rain we have had since we began our hiking trip five days ago, we are thankful to be here. The Ravens are happiest, when they are hiking. It is amazing how content we are out here. We simply are walking in peace and beauty. Concerns and problems melt away. I (Mama Raven) dread the day we have to go home.
Day 157 – 9/14/15
Camp above Spectacle Lake
Miles – 16.4
Total Miles – 2484.8 (PCT 2406.7)
We went to breakfast when the restaurant opened at 7:00, the only problem was that the waitress never showed up. The cook was the only one there. He did come out and take out orders and served us. About the time we were finishing, the owner showed up and took over. We felt bad for the cook. He had to be waiter, bus boy, cook and cashier. He did the best he could with always a big smile. Therefore, we did not have a problem with everything being so slow. Little Crow had french toast, as usual. Mama and Papa Ravens had pancakes with bananas, strawberries, and blueberries on top. They were very good. After breakfast we did the last minute packing and closed the packs. We stopped by the gas station store for batteries and headphones because Little Crow’s were broken. They sadly did not have are favorite town snacks of snowballs, ding dongs, or fruit pies, however they did have lots of glazed doughnuts and muffins! Next, it was off to the trail. We started hiking at about 9:30, later than we wanted, but not as bad as it could have been. The trail out of Snoqualmie is not an easy one. The first thing we did was climb over 2,000′. The trail tops off at the cat walk, a narrow ridge between two big drops. Next we traverse for many more miles before dropping down into a deep valley. Tomorrow we will finish the drop into the valley. The mountains have changed since we left Snoqualmie Pass. They have become much more rugged and rocky. At the higher elevations, there is a lot more uneven rocks under foot. This makes for harder walking and sore feet at the end of the day. The weather forecast for the next few days calls for a chance of rain tomorrow and rain on Wednesday, then lessening. Today we had clouds all day, making for some beautiful sky’s. It is lightly raining right now. I can only hope that it will not get hard and let up during the night.
Day 110 – 7/30/15
Miles – 21.4
Total Miles – 1714.3 (PCT 1653.4)
Today was a long down to town. We had over 21 miles to hike and we needed to get to Seiad before the store closes at 7:00 so we can get dinner. We got up early, packed, and started to hike. The trail had been cleared recently and we hiked down it as fast as Little Crow could move. The temperature was at least 100°. We reached the valley floor about noon and stopped by the river to soak our feet. The water was not too cold therefore Little Crow, Mama Raven, and I ended up sitting in the river. Will sat on the bank of the river. We stayed there for over an hour. The walk into town from the river was a hot one. We had about 6.5 miles of road walking, the last 4 was on asphalt which is never pleasant especially when it is so hot. We walked into Seiad about 5:00. We saw a number of hikers (Hole Roll, Cuban B, Dingo and Cosmic Bubble, Flashback, Jenraffe, Bear Lee, and SciFI) sitting in the shade at the RV park. It was 108°. We dropped our packs, said hello, and headed for the store. Drinks were a first thing we got. After that we bought food for dinner. Will, Little Crow, and I got burritos and Mama Raven chose a container of crab salad and bagels which she made a sandwich from. We also got our boxes. We had our normal food box plus a box of new shoes for Will, Little Crow, and I. Our first since Sonora Pass. Our last trip to the store before they closed, was to get a little food for the next section and ice cream for all The Ravens. We picked up our favorite Hostess Snowballs and doughnuts. We spent the night at the RV park. We also took showers and rinsed out our socks. Most of the other hikers here are heading up early tomorrow. Dingo and Cosmic Bubble are leaving tonight. The climb out of Seiad is one of the hardest in northern California on the PCT. It is 4,500′ in 8 miles. With current heat wave it will be even harder. With the lack of food in the last section, Will and Little Crow had pancakes and milkshakes on their mind for breakfast. Mama Raven and I know we should skip breakfast and leave extra early tomorrow. The kids are counting on that breakfast they have been dreaming about for the last few days and Mama Raven and I do not have the heart to disappoint them. Thus, we will be at the restaurant when it opens at 7:00 and then we will head out for the big up out of Seiad.