Day 139: The Rain Breaks (Before I Did)

Started: Vista Creek Tentsite (2535.1)

Ended: Holden Village (~2562.8)

Total Miles: 16.7 + ~11.0 Fire Detour

Achievements: Marathon (7)

I woke to a heavy rain. It was early, and I wanted to get a jump on the beast I needed to climb. It was a ten mile, 5,000 foot climb in the rain and mud. As this part of the trail is so remote, there is plants overrunning the trail. My feet would be soaked all day again. I am constantly climbing over blown down trees.

We had seven tents in a site made for three. I was the first one up. Everyone else was struggling to get out of their warm sleeping bags and face reality.

Let me tell you that I truly earned my thru-hiking stripes when I put on my 35 degree, wet socks and shoes.

I was off by 6:30 a.m. It was terrible the whole way. The rain was cold and hard. The trail was a puddle the whole way. As I stared to climb, the rain turned to snow. Keep in mind that I’m wearing just a medium base layer and an outer shell and shorts.

But something drives me. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t have enough food to stay there and wait out the weather. Maybe it was my deep desire to finish this hike and go home. Maybe I wanted to teach this trail that I will not be broken. I put one foot in front of the other. I did not stop, as moving was the only thing keeping me warm.

As I reached the top, the weather broke. The sun came out.

I stood at the top to a sign that said the trail was closed due to a fire. I had hiked 16 miles nonstop and I was exhausted. However, if I hiked another 11 miles I would get to Holden Village. I thought it was a town, and I could camp outside it.

The first two miles were sketchy. I was climbing from rock-to-rock rather than walk. Once that was done, it was downhill the whole way.

When I reached it, I realized that it wasn’t a town, it was a lodge. When I went to check in, I realized it wasn’t a lodge, it was a ELCA Lutheran retreat. The ELCA and my denomination, the PC(USA) are in full communion. They had a Sunday evening service in 15 minutes. I wasn’t going to go, because I had not showered in eight days and was covered in mud. As I walked to my cabin, I ran into Storyteller and he said that we should go. No one would care. So, I did.

After that I took a shower. I washed my clothes for free. I dried all my gear. I made a change of plans.

The retreat will shuttle me to the ferry to Stehekin. I will pick up my box, visit the bakery, and hit the trail after the fire closure. It keeps me on schedule.

So, this terrible day turned out to be not so bad after all.

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