Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Days 184-185: Winthrop, WA is *amazing*!!! <3

Friday 10/19/12
Miles 0
Elevation same

Saturday 10/20/12
Miles 2,630-2,638 (8 miles)
Elevation 5,500'

Oh my gosh, the town of Winthrop is AMAZING.  It is quickly becoming my favorite trail town.  Even more than Idyllwild.  This town has shown all of us so much aloha it is overwhelming.  <3  We were trying to figure out how to get snowshoes.  I posted on the town online bulletin board and found 6 pairs of snowshoes within HOURS!  It was incredible how I just put out the bat signal and within hours, it was like the entire town came together to help us out.  It is a very beautiful thing.  Special thanks to the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce for loaning us most of the snowshoes.  They host a snowshoe softball tournament every year.  Lol!  That must be interesting.

CJ, my resupply person drove up with her husband Marty to deliver some warm weather gear to us.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!  We pretty much would not have been able to do this last section without her.  I got some snow pants, gloves, more baselayers, actual shoes, and warm socks.  Kyle got some gloves and some layers.  And more food.  It felt like we were gearing up for war.  Lol!
If you guys ever go to Winthrop, I highly recommend visiting.  Their brewery makes a killer coffee porter. YUM.  The Virginian Hotel is so awesome, and they really showed us amazing hospitality.  It is also one of the more affordable places in town to stay, and right next to the supermarket.

Needless to say, my experience in Winthrop was nothing short of amazing.  2013 hikers, if you are planning your resupply, go to Winthrop, not Stehekin.  Stehekin is EXPEN

SIVE, and there is nothing there other than the bakery.  Winthrop is a full service town, and has a bakery as well and it is delicious.  And they are sooooo hiker friendly.  Loved it!

Anyhow, after CJ, the most epic trail angel in the world, helped us out with gear, they drove all 6 of us up to Hart's Pass, which was 30 miles to the terminus of the trail, and 38 miles into Manning Park.  I don't particularly feel bad about skipping out on the 30 miles between Rainy Pass and Hart's Pass.  we're running short on time.  We have a small window right now where we're not gonna get snow dumped on us, so we gotta just mow.

So the 6 of us: me, Kyle, Doe Eyes, Scrub Rat, Cityfood, and Scallywag, headed out of Harts pass with snowshoes and trekking poles with snow baskets  lent to us by the amazing people of Winthrop.    We made 8 miles, it was beautiful.  Snowshoeing is quite exhausting, when compared to normal hiking.

kyle fixing his snowshoe and Scrub Rat behind him

winter wonderland?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 183: retreat to Winthrop! and regear

Thursday 10/18/12
Miles 4.5
Elevation 1,760'

We woke up and it wasn't snowING.  So that was good.  It was interesting, we got here at dark so we couldn't see anything.  When we woke up it looked like a winter wonderland.  Quite pretty.  But not so fun when you gotta hike through it unprepared.  Heres what we walked through:

the view from inside the tent

snow actually wasn't too bad on top of cutthroat pass (love the name! lol), but coming up to it and going down from it, the trail was covered in a lot of fresh powder

first time ever in my life i stepped out of a tent and into snow

the trail going back down

first time in my life hiking in snow

i don't think i'm in the right kind of shoes for this... holy crap it was COLD
Looking around, it was quite obvious that we were under-geared, and breaking trail in knee deep snow would totally suck.   So we decided to turn around, head back to the highway at Rainy Pass, and look for Hee Haw and crew and maybe figure out another plan.  On the way down, we found Cityfood, Doe Eyes, and Scrub Rat.  They camped about a mile away from us.  We all decided to hitch into Winthrop.

When we got there, we found Hee Haw and Scallywag on the side of the road, hitching out.  They were planning on going for it.  We thought they were crazy but they seemed pretty positive.  Anyhow, Winthrop is a really cool town. 

kyle and cityfood.  we thought kyle should take the one with the mohawk.

this was outside Schoolhouse Brewery

most epic sign ever

that chandelier is so badass.  its made from a bicycle wheel, all the gears and cogs, and a bike chains.  the thing in the background is made from silverware and gears

the gas station in Winthrop

donwtown Winthrop

i should have had this on my pack since Campo, CA. lol!

this should be Team K Squared's motto. :D

this should also be Team K Squared's motto

2 YouTube Videos: All things Kyle

Here is Kyle demonstrating his "Tai Chi" exercises.  Hee hee :)

Kyle going for a swim at Deception Lakes

More Kyle quotes:

"When you grow up with two brothers you gotta be sneaky about your farts.  You gotta hit em when they're not expecting it."
-Kyle has a twin brother and another brother 3 years older than him.  I know, poor mom, right? Lol :).  He says hes very good at drywall repair

"Funny how you suffer the consequences of my poor planning."
-This was the morning after it rained.  Kyle was already in his sleeping bag, so I was trying to situate all our gear so stuff wouldn't get wet.  I put his shoes under his pack, right outside the tent, so they were dry in the morning.  I forgot to do the same to mine, so they were sopping wet in the morning.

(In an imitation "redneck" accent)
"When your wardrobe consists mostly of shit you found on the ground, you might be a thru-hiker..."
-In the span of 2 days, Kyle found a pair of camouflage pants,  a beanie, and sunglasses.  His shoes that he has worn since Cascade Locks, OR was also found in a hiker box.

Day 182: Stehekin --> Cutthroat Pass

Wednesday 10/17/12
Miles 2580-2604.5 (24.5 miles)
Elevation 6,840'

Ok, new day, there is sun, and its time to make a break for it!  Since the bus no longer runs between the Stehekin Lodge and the trailhead, we managed to get a ride with Debra.  She is the housekeeping manager and shes awesome!  She also grew up in Stehekin, and is a 4th or 5th generation Stehekin local.  So she had a weath of information about the town and area.  It was really cool talking to her.  She really helped us out the whole time we were here, and now shes driving us to the trailhead.  Thanks Debra!

Our hopes today was to do a 30 mile day.  We figured, take advantage of this good weather while its not raining, and bust as many miles as we possibly can.  We did pretty well, actually.  Its amazing what an early start will do.  We got to the trailhead by about 8:30am and promptly started hiking.

We made some pretty good miles.  We crossed Rainy Pass (highway 20) at about 6pm.  After that, we started to gain quite a bit of elevation.  We also ran into some snow today.  Walking in snow in 5 finger shoes is COLD.  Its hard for toes to keep warm in the 5 finger shoes.  Since the toes are separated it just doesn't collectively get as much heat as in a normal sock and shoe.  At the privies at the trailhead parking, we found a sign left by Typo, ED, Hee Haw, and Scallywag.  They hitched into town.  Oh man, I hope they're ok.  We kept going.  The snow got thicker.  On our way up we ran into Chameleon.  He was on his way down.  Whaaaa?  He was done.  Done with the trail.  He said it was absolutely exhausting breaking trail in knee deep snow, and he just didn't have the correct gear for snow.  That was quite a shock to us.  Chameleon is a local to the area and not new to winter backpacking.  It was definitely a blow to our morale, to see Chameleon looking so beat, and quitting the trail, for now. :(

We decided to get to the top of the mountain where Chameleon said there are flat places to camp, at Cutthroat Pass.  Today was the first time in my life i have ever camped on snow.  Its cold.  So stoked we are using the e-blanket as a drop cloth for inside the tent.  It really helped keep us warm.  Its funny, after months and months of complaining how I don't like this tent, it finally comes in handy.  We were trudging through knee deep snow at some points, to get here.  Bleh.  My poor toes are so frozen.  We figured we'd look at the conditions in the morning and decide what to do from there. 

By the way, note our elevation.  We're almost at 7,000'.  This morning we started at a hair over 1500'.  Yeah, it was quite an uphill battle today. LOL!

the colors of fall are upon us

all that snow up there was not there 2 days ago...

lets go hike!


a fork in the river

snowy peaks and crazy looking clouds

Days 180-181: Double zero in Stehekin

Monday 10/15/12
Miles 0
Elevation 1,100

Tuesday 10/15/12
Miles 0
Elevation same

Monday morning, October 15th.  Today is the last day that the bus runs between the trailhead and the town of Stehekin.  WHEW!  Talk about relief that we made it! :D  So to give you a picture of what Stehekin is like, it is a tiny community with a population of about 80-100 full time residents.  It is nestled between the valley and Lake Chelan, a 55 mile lake.  There are no roads that lead into Stehekin.  The only way you can get here is by foot, ferry, or float plane.  There are cars here that the locals drive.  But no roads that connect to the outside world.  Its a trippy place.

So I think what makes this entire place worth stopping at, is the bakery.  Which is closed.  They closed for the season on October 7th.  Damn.  Its all good though, we're just so freaking stoked to get out of the rain, and let all our stuff dry! :)  So, the entire town of Stehekin consists of a Hotel, a public laundry room (one washer, one dryer), one satellite phone (the only means of communication with the outside world) and a post office.  Thats it.  There is no grocery store.  The residents order their groceries online to the Safeway in the town of Chelan (at the other end of the 55 mile long lake), and they deliver it via ferry.  There is no library, they check out books by a mail order system.  Its really trippy.  The postmaster here is so cool.  He is an old dude with a long white ponytail, a patch over one eye, and rocks out to 70s jams all day.  Lol!

We end up staying here for 2 nights.  The staff is super cool.  Maybe because it was almost end of season, and there were no other guests at the hotel except for 5 of us hikers.  But its super expenisve.  There is a restaurant there, which has pretty darn good food actually.  But unless  you bring a crapload of extra food, there is nowhere to buy food here, so you have no choice but to eat at the restaurant.  At least the lodge sold wine.  And it was really good wine. :D

We spend 2 full days drying out ALL of our clothes and gear.  We setup the tent in the community room to air it out.  It was kind of funny.  They had in-room floor heaters.  I rigged up an oven to dry out the backpacks using the heaters, my trekking poles, and emergency blankets.  I wish i got a picture

this is how i showed up to and spent all day in Stehekin in.  yes, that is an emergency blanket skirt.  its funny, one of the employees asked Kyle when i was away, if i was ok in the head.  hahaha!!  i'm a thru-hiker, of course i'm not ok in the head!  why the heck would anyone walk 2600 miles for fun?  hahaha :D

the stehekin lodge store.  that didn't sell much of anything.

hiker reunion!  Scallywag, Kyle (Not So Bad), and Easily Distracted



Hee Haw (

drying out the tent.  Kyle is inside, wiping the floor of the tent dry.

this shirt really appealed to my obsession with poop. lol!  too bad i had no need for a shirt.  if this came in poster form, however, i would have mailed one to myself.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 179: a 23 mile Hail Mary into Stehekin

Sunday 10/14/12
Miles 2557.5-2580 (22.5 miles)
Elevation 1,587'

Gosh it was cold this morning.  Heck its been cold every morning.  On the bright side of things, all of today was pretty much downhill, with the exception of a pretty steep uphill in the morning.  I actually prefer climbs in the morning when it is cold, it helps me warm up, which is amazing.  Kyle has been hiking with me since it started raining.  Normally he hikes ahead and then waits for me somewhere and I catch up.  However, its been so cold and we're both wet that if he stops moving and his body isn't generating heat, he'd get hypothermia.  Plus its safer, parts of the trail get pretty gnarly when its wet.  Stoked to have him around though, this would be pretty freaky and not too fun if I was solo.

Thank goodness for trekking poles.  Not only do they help us from slipping on the downhills, but it makes stream crossings a lot safer.  There were several parts of the trail where you couldn't even see the ground because there was so much water rushing down.  So we used our trekking poles much like a visually impaired person would use a cane, to tap out the ground and figure out where to step and where the big rocks were so we wouldn't trip.  Yowza.

We hiked nonstop today.  Literally.  Normally we stop for lunch somewhere.  But we were so cold we would lose too much body heat if we didn't keep walking.  So we did.  For almost 23 miles.  Its pretty amazing actually, that we hiked only til 10pm.  Thank goodness today was almost entirely downhill.  We basically followed the Stehekin river from its headwaters all the way to where it emptied into Lake Chelan.  If you notice the elevation I posted of today vs. yesterday, its quite a difference.  Basically we went up about 1000 feet and then down 3000-4000 feet.

Its interesting, when you have to keep moving and not stop.  For me its so much more of a mental thing than it is physical.  Its like I almost zone out and put my mind in its "happy place" and just walk and walk and walk.  Its quite meditative for me.  I am so grateful that the trail today was not the slippery mud stuff.  It was soft dirt so it absorbed all the rain, so it wasn't slick.  That makes hauling ass a lot easier.

At around 10pm, we finally pull into the High Bridge Ranger Station of North Cascades National Park.  It is 10 miles from the isolated town of Stehekin.  It is also when the bus will stop.  We find Cityfood here as well.  Holy crap what a day.  My feet are tired.  It is time to pass out.  Tomorrow will be a good day.  We will be WARM!  And DRY!  Oh joy!!! :D

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pics Days 177-179: RAIN

rain rain go away, come again some other day...

those low mist clouds hanging over the valleys below looked pretty cool

that is ice over the lake.  we tried to stop for lunch here, it was COLD. 

Kyle in his rain gear

new bridge over the Suiattle River.  it was really nice.  and pretty damn long.

the Suiattle River.  the alternative to taking the bridge in the above photo (which i am standing on to take this shot) was to shimmy across a log that lie over this river.  um....i think i'm glad we took the bridge. :)

i LOVE my chrome dome umbrella.

where'd the blue skies go? :(

this was a particularly cold area.  it was rainy, and we were walking by a glacial area and so the wind was coooold.  brrr.

Pics Days 175-176: Stevens Pass to Stehekin part 1

red leaves, green trees, brown mountains, white snow

more colors of fall

haha, someone scraped this out of moss on a rock.

going the correct way... whew!

someone wrote "2500" in moss.  the picture is just sideways.  yay we hit 2500!

its crazy how every single day it seems as if the leaves are getting redder and redder

up one mountain and down one mountain, lather rinse repeat

passes are cool, usually really windy though.

lookin kinda cold... :(

a lot of the bridges we crossed looked something like this.  in 2003 a storm wrecked the whole area and took out a lot of bridges.  this one was solid enough to still use.  times like this i'm glad i'm traveling on foot and not horseback or something.