the penultimate leg: days 142-147

Day 142: Stevens Pass to Janus Lake, 10 miles
Day 143: Janus Lake to Dishpan Gap, 21.3 miles
Day 144: Dishpan Gap to Fire Creek, 22.6 miles
Day 145: Fire Creek to PCT mile 2536.7, 21.3 miles
Day 146: PCT mile 2536.7 to Cedar Camp, 23.1 miles
Day 147: Cedar Camp to Stehekin Ranger Station, 9.6 miles

We woke-up warm and to the sound of coffee being prepared in Legend’s RV; we soon all rose and had pancakes. While Dirty Gil and we had intended to get on the trail by 730am, before anyone of us realized it was already 9am. Dirty Gil hit the trail, but we hung back and headed up to the now open ski lodge with Legend for some espresso from the coffee bar. This led to more talking, and by the time it was 11am I was hungry again. The restaurant had just opened, so we said farewell to Legend as more hikers started to filter in, and had a hot lunch before finally making it to the trail a bit afternoon. We had meant to get back to hiking the night before, but are glad that we stayed. Ah, the town vacuum! We had a nice 10 mile hike in, and decided to stop early at Janus Lake. All and all, it was a very relaxing day!

We started the next day climbing to the top of Grizzly Peak, where we got our first good view of Glacier Peak. We continued to see the peak throughout the day, as we had long climbs up and down several times, before ending our day at Dishpan Gap.

We woke up the next morning to the sound of rain. Fortunately, the rain was light throughout the morning, and we walked through the clouds towards the pass. The clouds cleared, and we dried out out our tent during lunch. We had another big climb to end the day, and made camp by Fire Creek.

silty water melting off from Glacier Peak

The next two days were bright and sunny, which we appreciated! We had great views of Glacier Peak, passed by beautiful Mica Lake, saw huge old growth trees, and then set our sights on the North Cascades.

We made it to North Cascades National Park the next day, and caught the shuttle bus 11 miles down a dirt road to the small town of Stehekin. On the way the bus stops by the bakery, which is well prepared for the onslaught of hungry thru-hikers. We all purchased over $50 worth of bakery goods, including pizza slices, sandwiches, sticky rolls, and assorted desserts, then filed back onto the shuttle to town. Stehekin sits on the shore of Lake Chelan, the largest natural lake in Washington. It is only accessible by boat ferry, float plane, foot, or a very, very, long ride down a dirt road.

There isn’t much there, but hikers don’t need much to entertain themselves. We got out maildrop, called home, and ordered take-out from the only restaurant before hopping on the shuttle back to the ranger station. There we devoured our dinners with seven other hikers, and had a great time. It felt very celebratory, as most of us will be finishing up the trail in the next four days. Afterwards, we all fit into a shelter and slept very well. Only 80.7 miles to be border!

(Next blog post coming tomorrow, as spoiler alert- we just finished the trail!)