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

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