Thursday, August 02, 2018
Took the slow boat out of Stehekin yesterday. The Stehekin Bakery is worth the trip but, maybe not the expense. I got a chunk of grass in the RV Park for the night, and rode 4 different buses back to my friend's place in Seattle. I took my first shower in a week at the RV Park. Note to self: bring a pack towell larger than a bandana next trip and a sliver of soap.
Along the way I kept thinking, searching, and in general wondering did I make the right choice to bail a second time? The PCT Association hasn't posted a route around the fire north of Highway 20/Rainy Pass. A thru-hiker who's familiar with the area plotted a route but, it added 3 days on his pace which made for 5 extra for me. Another hiker I know made it past the area before the closure at Rainy Pass went into effect. The PCT Association reports a fire south of White Pass in the Goat Rocks area. A detour is available for that one. Getting to White Pass to come north to Snoqualmie Pass or vice versa is an intense undertaking for the most part. Grief, Washington is burning this year.
Instead of dropping eight days of food in the hiker box, I've chosen to take it with me. That's a bit of stubbornness in me. I don't mind dropping a day or two but, eight is a bit much. I can use most of this on weekend hikes.
I'm toying with several ideas. One is the idea of driving to California for a short section but, with essentially 3 weeks left that doesn't provide much more than 140 miles of hiking. Another, I could squeeze the TRT in and not worry about getting back to the car, however one needs a permit just to enter the Desolation Wilderness. I did the DW in one day last time. The permits are not available at the trailheads if you have any overnight gear with you. With the shape I'm in the TRT is less than 10 days hiking. Parking at Spooner Summit would give me a strong resupply option in Tahoe City. Or, I could go do a fifty mile loop I've wanted to do in the Uinta's for a while. The loop is part of the Yellowstone creek drainage above Duchesne.
My head is a swirl with conflicting ideas for the rest of this time off. I know, one step at a time, examine one avenue at a time, be logcal and off rocker at the same time. Returning to work a week or so early is a strong, slightly less desirable, possibility.
My off trail perspective definitely has taken a different shape as to how people look at hikers. City folks look at me (hiker trash) like homeless yet, when in places where hikers are the norm we attract a whole different kind of attention, people want to know where, how long (miles/days), and any interesting tidbits. I'm still trying to shake off a comment I heard a passerby made to his friends last night as I sat at the RV Park. As a side note, I was inside the RV Park's fence, paid, and I typically hang my bandana to dry off my tent's peak. In midsentence, not even at a logical departure point, he gave a gruff word implying I was homeless. I barked out, "not homeless, I'm hiker." I've had too many stares in the cities that I might be homeless. Folks please don't pass judgement on the down and out or the unusual traveler. I pack my vacation gear accordingly to the conditions I anticipate. You do the same. Is this our normal day to day's? For a few yes, for others, far from so. I can't be sorry I smell a bit, I try to clean up the best I can. My clothes by virtue of the trail life will become permanently dirty. I look for showers every town stop I get. I am harmless. How many times I've longed for someone, this trip, in the city, to ask me my story. If you do pass judgement, please, check yourself with this, 'do I know their story?'
I need another cup of real coffee.