Day 117: Stehekin

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Fire reroute section: 9.5 miles to Holden

Ferry from Holden to Stehekin, shuttle to Highbridge

PCT mile 2571.9 to mile 2577.0 (5.1 miles)

Total walked: 14.6 miles, 23.5 km

I was out like a light switched off last night. It was a freezing cold night. Waking to a wet quilt and saturated everything it was great to hear the pitter patter of the rain on the tent fly had stopped some time in the early morning.

Getting out of the tent to retrieve my food bag blue skies shone over the surrounding mountains. The sun wasn’t up yet but I could tell it was going to be a gorgeous sunny day.

They were quick miles along the reroute to Holden although the same super thick encroaching vegetation lining the trail and my bottom half was saturated again in minutes. Lucky I opted for the same rung out wet socks instead of fresh dry ones.

I was moving fast towards Holden. Sleeping through my alarm because it was so nice and warm I had 3 hours to walk the 9.5 miles to get there in time for the shuttle down to Lucerne to meet the ferry to Stehekin. I made it with half an hour to spare, enough time for a cup of coffee and to spread my wet gear on the lawn in the sun to dry.

From Holden it was a 10 mile bus ride to the boat landing at Lucerne on Chelan Lake and onto the ferry towards Stehekin. Just about all hikers at Holden have chosen this option today instead of the taking the alternate route, another 17 miles over dubious terrain. Everyone keen to dry gear call the PCT done. I’m with around 10 others all calling it quits at Rainy Pass.

Lake Chelan’s waters were calm and the ferry side smooth. Awesome views of the steep mountains falling down into the lake.

Stehekin is remote. Located on Lake Chelan it is only accessible by boat, sea plane or walking in, no road access. There is a shuttle that runs between the PCT trail head at Highbridge to Stehekin to ferry hikers in and out four times a day.

Popping in to the ranger station I secured a camping permit for tonight, electing to hike 5 more miles of the open trail and making tomorrow’s last day hike just that little bit shorter – I get to sleep in as well.

From the ranger station it was onto the tiny ‘restaurant’ for a beer and while there talking with some other hikers a day visitor passed on her half eaten plates of chips to us. Then it was onto a shuttle that would take me up the open section of trail at Highbridge with a 10 minute stop at the world famous Stehekin bakery. I couldn’t resist the bakery and bought up with two slices of pizza and a Dr Peppers for lunch, peach pie for desert tonight and a large ham and cheese croissant for breakfast tomorrow – I don’t think I can eat another pop tart for a very long while.

The shuttle had 10 tired hikers to the Highbridge trail head just before three pm, all keen to get a few miles in today. The talk is all about how it doesn’t seem real yet – Mexico to Canada – it hasn’t quite sunk in that tomorrow we will all be finished. 2591.1 miles. Wow!

I ended my day at the Bridge Creek camping area and had the place to myself. Time for an early night, some reading and quiet reflection.

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