Last days in Washington
On Saturday, Alina and I teamed up again for my last section in Washington (she has one more stretch to do after this), leaving from Stevens Pass and heading towards Stehekin, where we planned to take a zero day and then we would be separating as she rode on to Rainy Pass and I would "connect the dots" to the trail I took along Ross Lake to the Canadian border. I had wonderful help with my truck in this section, as a friend of my mom's named Paul Larson--someone she grew up with in Topanga and who now lives in Seattle and who along with his wife went to Cal Poly like me!--moved my truck from Stevens Pass to Ross Lake. He had the help of the Kiels, who are the people who first told me about Alina and her thru-ride the previous year, so it really seemed like a very fitting "full circle" kind of thing! They were so efficient that I think the truck engine didn't even cool off from the time I left to the time they arrived, and I was so grateful for the peace of mind I had, knowing the trailer would be waiting for me at the other end, and very appreciative of all the effort they made on my behalf.
This section turned out to be the very hardest of all, both for the terrain and for the weather. The first day or so were alright, but the last two days into Stehekin we faced a forest of downed trees, sometimes literally one right after the other, stretching as far as we could see. And then the skies opened up and poured on us also, so that we were camping in the rain and pulling on our wet clothes from the day before in the morning. The thing that made it all worthwhile was Stehekin itself. We arrived at the High Bridge campground about 2 am, but by 8:00 we were up and headed for the bus stop to catch a ride into town to visit the famous bakery there. The rain had caused a mudslide that blocked the road so the bus couldn't get through, but a ranger from "our side" of the slide gave us a ride as far as the blockage, and we scrambled over the mud and rocks to where the bus could pick us up on the other side. And boy, was it worth it! I don't know if if was just the fact that we had worked so hard to get there, but that was the best food I think I ever had, sitting in the warm and cozy bakery and stuffing our faces with deliciousness.