The rain finally let up today as the weatherman promised, and I made it to the lodge on time to get my package and ran into the trail angel Legend again. I met him in Seiad Valley a month back and never expected to see him again.
I woke up around 5:30 and went through my usual music routine before donning ice cold wet clothes and socks. The temperature was not actually that cold, but it was damp and the dampness makes everything seem colder. I got packed up and on trail just before 7:00 and even though it was not raining, everything as soaking wet so from the waist down, it might as well have been raining.
There were four or five thousand foot climbs for the day, and the first came a few hours into the hike. Another hiker passed me on the way up, and when we got to the pass, the sun was shining, so it was time for a break to dry things out, mainly feet. It was 11:00 when I stopped.
I found a rock to sit on and took my shoes and socks off to let them dry and put my flip flops on to let my feet dry. The bandaids on both feet had come off, so I wanted to dry my feet well and put fresh bandaids on and cover the right one with a layer of duct tape to help keep it in place. I also put dry socks on, knowing they would be wet in less than a minute, but they would help the shoes dry out faster. There was still a little dew on a few bushes, but my main goal was get my feet as dry as possible as soon as possible.
I ate a mini lunch while drying and was off again around 11:30. I didn’t want to take too many breaks since I needed to get to the lodge at Stevens pass by 4:30 if possible in order to get my package before the lodge closed. But I also had to take every opportunity to try and doctor my feet, since they are the most important part of my body to take care of.
Most of the climbs were not too steep, but some of them had some steep sections. We were basically bouncing across canyons like in the Sierras, but the canyons were smaller and shorter. There were all of lakes in this area, and the blueberry and huckleberry bushes are still full of fruit here. I stopped once to pick a handful. I have decided that I like blueberries better than huckleberries.
I stopped by a lake just before 2 PM to eat official lunch. I mixed a black bean soup with a ramen noodle without seasoning to try something new and it was OK. Probably not a future staple. I also took my shoes off to let them dry and check the duct tape. It was still painful, but the tape was still in place at least.
From that point on, I pretty much had to do 3 mph to be able to make the lodge by 4:30. I still had two climbs in there, so that would be hard to do. I still had some coffee left, so I downed it and that perked me up a little.
I ended either passing or getting passed by several hikers the last few miles into town. Everyone had town fever at that point and just wanted to get into town as quickly as possible. I ended up rolling in right at 4:35, and headed straight for the office. I got my package, took my shoes and socks off, donned my flip flops and headed straight upstairs to the restaurant. Two good local beers, a cheeseburger with fries and a salad later and I was satisfied.
It was cold outside and the bartender said it was fine to bring packs inside to divvy up the resupply boxes, so I dragged everything upstairs and started loading. When you look at a box full of food, it seems like so much, but it’s amazing how fast you can actually eat it. Had a bag of Skittles as well as Peanut M&M’s in this box, which is too much candy, so I immediately started in on the M&M’s.
I needed to get rid of some things, so I squeezed a big dollop of honey into the coffee water bottle, out a coffee in it, and asked the bartender if he would put some soda water in there. It fizzed quite a bit, but morning will tell if I have invented something wonderful or horrible. I also ditched the ghee. It makes everything taste so fantastic and at the cold temperatures we have had lately, it’s not messy. but it’s bulky and heavy and I don’t use it every night, so at this point it’s a luxury and did not make the cut. So I now have six days of food which should take me all the way to Mazama, my last stop. I was hoping to stop at Stehekin to load up on one day of food exclusively from the bakery, but it looks like I have plenty and won’t need to stop there at all. Bummer.
As I was almost ready to leave, I ran into Legend, who had fed us spaghetti and pancakes the night before Seiad Valley. He was camped here in an RV and offered an invitation. I had planned on hiking out four miles or so and camping, but an RV is almost like camping, right? I accepted his offer and another couple did as well.
The four of us went to his RV and he made spaghetti and Cocoa and we talked quite a bit about lots of topics. Legend was commenting that several of the facilities available to hikers were trashed this year and may not be available or next year. The same thing has happened on the AT over the years. One of his observations is that the hikers don’t police themselves like they used to, so bad behavior grows faster than it used to. He could be right.
So at least I have a warm.dry.place to sleep tonight. the forecast for the next week is for very little chance of rain. I need a few dry days in a row to heal my feet. I have already heard rain falling on the RV roof three times while blogging, so I’m not sure I trust the Washington weatherman. But I sure could use some dry weather.