Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 155 Darkness Into Stehekin

From Five Mile Camp at mile 2575 to Stehekin at mile 2580

It was very dark at 4:45 when my watch alarm went off. It was warm in the tent so getting out of my sleeping bag wasn't a hardship.

Portrait and I packed up by headlamp. We couldn't see anyone else up yet. The campsite was quiet and dark when we left at 5:30.

A log bridge took us across the small creek that had been our water source the night before. There was another small creek that we had to rock hopped across--once we were sure the trail continued on the other side. It was a little hard to tell in the night time darkness.

Our chariot to town 
The trail on the other side was nice for hiking by headlamp. It didn't have too many rocks or roots and wasn't badly over grown like the trail from a couple of days ago.

Slowly it started getting lighter. At first it was only lighter than it had been--everything was black shadows instead of inky night surrounding us. Then the lightest colors returned to the world. The light gray rocks were first followed by light yellow Huckleberry leaves and then light green ferns got their colors back. The dark greens and browns of the pine trees returned slowly-the last to show up.

It did not become full daylight. The thick cloud of smoke smothered the sun. The light looked like the dark that precedes a storm. But this storm made my eyes sting a bit and tasted bad.

The trail had been following Anges Creek since yesterday and it started to switchback down to it. The creek had grown a lot since we crossed it near its headwaters around lunch time yesterday. As we had walked along it the waters had slowly carved a canyon into the rocks. Where it wasn't white rapids the water was a light blue and clear. We crossed the creek on an iron and wood bridge fifty feet above the churning water.
Team All Dead on the bus

The trail went up a little after the bridge and Portrait spotted a car and another bridge. Almost there and with plenty of time to spare. We walked down a short section of dirt road and crossed the bridge over the Stehekin River--one of the cleanest rivers in the country.

We were reading the information board when Bone Lady walked up. The others trickled into the waiting area within a half hour. No one else showed up except the seven of us before the bus roared into sight.

The flowers at an organic farm near town
The bus wasn't a school bus like I had expected, but a red bus with class. The front end looked like it could plow through anything. The best part of the bus: it was full of hikers. Frost got off followed by a dozen other hikers that I had met--most of them recently. Portrait and I wished Frost luck on the rest of his hike. There is no more catching up with people after Stehekin  last town, last zero and nero chances. Everybody on the bus waved goodbye to the hikers milling around as the bus lurched onto the road.

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