Day 114, August 16th

Start: Stehekin, mile 2580

End: Camp below Matheow Pass, Mile 1609

Miles Hiked: 29

I get on the morning shuttle out of Stehekin at 8am.  It’s a large red bus, and all of the hikers fit on it with their packs.  The driver stops at the Stehekin Bakery one last time, and I pick up several big, heavy pastries to hike out this morning, following the other hikers lead.

It’s overcast this morning as the group heads out, and I find myself hiking with Homeless Guy and Ed.  They’re both really nice guys that I haven’t hiked with before.  Homeless Guy started in early March, and he was the first hiker through the Sierra’s when it was completely covered in snow.  Ed is a great guy from Seattle, and is enjoying his journey here on the trail. Conversation naturally goes to what we will do when the trail is over (it’s just a few days from now when we will be done), and I get extremely excited about the AT and heading out that way in just over a week.  Eventually Ed and Homeless take a break and I find myself hiking through the dense forest on my own.

Guthrie catches up to me, and he’s hiking fast, so I try to keep up with him.  I’m struggling to make much ground today, as I’m thinking more about my off trail endeavors, and the wonderful pastries on my back.  It’s good to have a motivated Guthrie in front of me getting me moving.  We talk a lot about Seattle, Denver, life after the trail, and how the AT will compare to the PCT.  We pass many day/section hikers headed south on the trail.  They’re all pretty cold, and give us looks as if they wish we weren’t on the same trail as them.  Maybe its the number of thru-hikers in front of us, but they act like they really don’t want us around.  It’s a bummer, as I usually like talking to hiker we pass by.

Guthrie and I make it to Rainy Pass around 3:30 PM.  Colonel, Tiny, and Sheriff woody are already there, and they’ve gotten trail magic of Soda and Gatorade already.  They got enough to share with the group, so I take a Coke.  The rest of the gang catches up in the next half of an hour as we all sit and relax and plan where to hike to.  We all decide on a camp site a mile from Matheow Pass where there is running water.  We head out as a giant group up a 2,000 foot climb to Cutthroat Pass, where we are greeted with amazing views of the Picket Range in the Northern Cascades.  Mountains stretch as far as I can see, rising sharply from their adjourning valleys. All I can think about is climbing them! So many of the peaks look jagged and rough. I need to climb, I miss climbing.  I miss being on the edge, being exposed. Someday, I’ll come back and climb these mountains.

The most notable mountain in front of us is Tower peak.  It rises so high above everything else as we hike to Granite Peak.  It’s just Beautiful! Brainstorm, Guthrie and I hike above tree line to camp, meeting Woody, Tiny, and Colonel already there.  There’s a large Trail Maintenance crew there, and we all mingle for dinner as the other hikers trickle in.  As we all talk, the clouds on the peaks above begin to disappear, showing the upper slopes of the high peaks.  It’s a beautiful night, finally.  Krispie’s and I will be cowboy camping, that’s for sure! 

backpacks on the bus ride out of Stehekin

backpacks on the bus ride out of Stehekin

The gang walk by Rainy Pass

The gang walk by Rainy Pass

Sunlight on the way up to Cuthroat Pass

Sunlight on the way up to Cuthroat Pass

View from Cuthroat Pass

View from Cuthroat Pass

The pickets.  I must climb.

The pickets. I must climb.

Brainstorm and Guthrie hike down to Granite Pass as Tower Peak literally towers above.  It's even creating it's own cloud system.

Brainstorm and Guthrie hike down to Granite Pass as Tower Peak literally towers above. It’s even creating it’s own cloud system.