Back in March, you George, gave me some sound advice: Don't miss Stehekin.
I didn't really gather the full weight of your kind counsel, until I reached Washington State. The town is the last resupply stop on the PCT. It's quite a remarkable place--road-inaccessible, on the edge of Lake Chelan, and home to less than 100 people who voted against the installation of towers that might provide cell and television reception. It's truly removed, and pristine in many ways. And for what they do there, they do it well.
We woke up early and ran to High Bridge. The bus was set pick up folks at 9 o'clock and take them 10 miles, about an hour ride, to the town of Stehekin. We were completely thrilled! Stehekin held the promise of fresh baked goods to fill our bags and bellies, a surprise resupply box from Mama Bean, and all of the other wonderful cleanly and gorging pleasures that go along with a hiker's town visit.
Goal: Devour more than 10,000 calories without throwing up, shower, launder, call home, eat some more, and take some for later. And we were going to fit it ALL in today. In on the 9 AM bus, out on the 6 PM bus, and 10 miles of hiking too. We ought to audition for the show "Amazing Race."
We made it to the bus stop with time to spare and met up with at least a dozen other hikers (including Panama, Giltch, Minus, Keegel, Busted, Quest, Rapunzel, & Sprinkles), all ready to catch the same ride. I hope this bus is big. And it was!
We hopped on and road into town, stopping first at the bakery. The Stehekin Pastry Company is a dream come true. Their goods are absolutely DELECTABLE, and after two head-sized cinnamon buns, meat and cheese stuffed croissants the size of your forearm, quiche, coffee, and cookies, and we were well on our way. If that wasn't enough, we then stopped at organic garden with a produce stand, home to the creamiest goat cheese you've ever tasted. Jack-y, Gut and I were in a big food coma fog.
But Jack-y-Bean and I were worried. It would take a stop at the post office for us to be truly satisfied. And what we found there, or perhaps, didn't find there, would determine how our hike was going to end. And for the first time in months we craved something other than food, or a neighboring tables leftovers, (yep, that'll do).
A few days ago, Jacky and I made a desperate phone call to Mama Bean. We had done the worst thing a thru-hiker can do to their hike--we strapped ourselves for time. Then, we miscalculated our mileage, and purchased some non-refundable plane tickets. If Mama Bean heard us over the shoddy reception, and overnighted something to this small mountain town where the mail comes in by boat once a day, we might make it.
We arrived to the P.O. and picked up three packages. Our resupply box, Mama Bean's surprise box, and a beautiful envelope--I swear it was glowing--with our passports. SWEET WONDERFUL MAMA BEAN! We were so happy I almost cried. Now, we could hike into Canada and finish the trail all the way to Manning Park, and we wouldn't have to back track 30 miles, missing our plane flight, and the wedding we'd been pushing to get to this whole hike. Team Perfect Timing strikes again.
Mama Bean's Surprise was great too: complete with three glasses of pinot, cheese-it banana-grams, and a whole bag of tobolorone. It even had a block of cheese (which we forgot to pack ourselves).
We played and ate banana grams, made it to the bakery again with a hitch from the owner herself, and back to the trail on the last bus.
We feel well prepared for our finish, and every day has been a success. Thank you for your advice, and here's my advice to other hikers: Make it before the snow, but enjoy it as you go.