Stehekin

Day 28 – 8/3/16
Stehekin
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.

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Leavenworth

Day 21, 22 – 7/27/16
Leavenworth
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!

7/28/16
Leavenworth
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.

Snoqualmie

Day 15 and 16
7/21/16
Snoqualmie
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!

7/22/16
Snoqualmie
Zero
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.

Shelter Cove

Day 123 – 8/12/15
Odell overlook
Miles – 17.5
Total Miles – 1972.2 (PCT 1904.5)

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Overnight the smoke moved in and the morning was hazy.  We packed and headed for the nearest water, a spring about 3 miles away.  All four of us were almost dry. We climbed up one side of Diamond Peak and then contoured over to the spring. The water was cold and clear. After filling up and washing socks, we hiked hard and fast down the mountain trying to get to Shelter Cove as soon as possible. It was afternoon when we walked into the resorts parking lot. Many hikers who were behind us had gotten here before us. They had taken the Oregon Skyline Trail. That cuts many miles of the trail and stays at a lower elevation. We try to stay as true to the PCT as possible. Diamond Peak reminded us of a small dose of the Sierras of California.  After we past the peak, we were rewarded with high alpine lakes and ponds.  It was beautiful scenery. Some of the ponds were low or even empty of water because of the four year drought.  There are many days of hiking the PCT that are extra glorious and today was one of those days. There is no place we would rather be than right were we are. We arrived at Shelter Cove and was greeted by many of our hiking friends: Wall-ee and Snow White, Xactly and Velcro, Cat Water, The Smiths and Teflon. We got our box and a small package, picked up some drinks, hot dogs, and burritos, went over to the shore of the lake and started to work on the next food section. There should have been one more box with a pair of sandals in it, but the store had no record of it arriving. I had ordered the sandals almost 10 days ago and had them shipped two day delivery. They should have gotten here by now. I called REI and had them track down the shoes. Their records showed it was delivered August 6. I went back into the store to talk to them again and they let me search the back room myself since they could not find it. It took awhile but I found it. Now Mama Raven has her new sandals. She says she is done hiking in tennis shoes because they all hurt her feet. There are several hikers that have hiked the whole trail in sandals, Mama Raven has been busy asking them questions about their decision to go with sandals instead of regular hiking shoes.  She has decided to try them.  Mama Raven and I finished packing while the kids took showers, then Mama Raven and I got ours. Just before 6:00, closing time for the store, Little Crow, Bling and I headed over to get a pizza, muffins, and ice cream. They would not make the pizza because it was to close to closing time. Disappointed, we walked back to Mama Raven, with no dinner, only to find Mama Raven sitting there with half a pizza.  A woman sitting near us, could not eat all the pizza she had so she gave the rest to Mama Raven. Her name was Jo and we call her the pizza angel. Trail magic happens when you least expect it. After eating we hiked out. It was late, about 6:30 so we did not get far. We stopped on a overlook of Odell Lake. It is a rocky ledge poking up above the tree tops. We had a beautiful view of the lake. There also was a mystery bouquet of red roses in a vase just sitting on the rocks. As Bling and Mama Raven were in the tents, Little Crow and I made a no bake cheese cake. I put two candles in it and Bling, Little Crow, and I sang happy birthday to Mama Raven. We all stood on the rocky ledge with the amazing view of the lake below and ate cheese cake. Happy birthday Mama Raven.

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Happy Birthday Mama Raven!

Into Town

Day 11 – 4/23/15
Idyllwild
Miles – 20.2
Total Mile – 190.6 (PCT 162.6)
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Last night was our coldest night yet.  Mama Raven and l could not get warm. The chill from the ground was coming up through our sleeping pads. We quickly packed up and started to hike down to the valley floor. Below us was a blanket of clouds, but they started to pull back as we hiked down. Soon we came to Morris Rd. I missed where the trail turns off and we ended up following the road down to Hwy 74. We then turned north and walked 1 mile to where we should have come out. The alternate then followed a dirt road under some power lines and eventually intersected Hwy 74. The next several miles we hiked along the side of the road. We do not like doing that because the cars are so close, especially on the bridges. Finally we got to Herkey Campground and off of the highway. The alternate then went over a ridge and down into Idyllwild, our home for the next few days.
A comment on the mileage: the total miles is how far we have walked. That includes PCT miles plus off trail miles, such as walking into town or waking around a closed area. The PCT number is the PCT mileage marker from Halfmiles maps.

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Barrel Springs

Day 7 – 4/18/15
San Ysidro Creek
Miles – 18.3
Total Miles – 107.5 (PCT 104.9)

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Last night the wind really blew. Our tent rattled all night. It blew so hard that our tent collapsed on us. I had to go outside four times to put tent stakes back in the ground. By the time we got up, several of the other groups had already left. We started hiking just before the sun hit us.

We made good time and with only one stop, came to the third gate water cache. San Felipe Ridge is more than a 23 mile waterless stretch. Some people like to help out the hikers by dropping off water in dry sections, the third gate is one such location. Will and I hiked down to the cache to get 5L of water. The cache is at the end of a dirt road. There was several hundred gallons of water, all in 3L bottles. It was quite a setup.

From the water cache, we hiked to Barrel Springs, about 10 miles away. Barrel Springs is a nice change from what we have been hiking in. It has a lot of large oak trees which shade the whole area. We got there in the mid-afternoon, and filled out water bottles. There were 9 other thru-hikers there. We decide to push on to San Ysidro Creek in the hopes that there will be fewer people.
We live an hour from Warner Springs and this is one of our favorite day hiking areas. It’s like hiking in our own backyard, we know all its twist and turns. It is a mix of grasslands and chaparral, with a few streams thrown in. We hiked it in the evening so the light on the grassy fields was beautiful.  Mama Raven kept stopping to take pictures. As we headed into the fields, we ran into an obstacle, a large herd of cows. They were all about the trail. Joon was a little concerned as we scarred the cows out of our way. We finely got to San Ysidro Creek and setup camp. We will have no problems getting into Warner Springs tomorrow.

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