The Final Stretch

So much easier to ride a bus.

We were all giddy from the last stretch of great weather and reconverging with friends. We stuffed ourselves on breakfast in Holden before the bus to Lake Chelan’s ferry, which would carry us smoothly across the water to Stehekin. There, we ate even more at the bakery, before we finally caught the bus up the one local road to the trailhead. The day was a perfect excuse for transportation, leaving only a few evening miles to walk on bellies full of food, drink, and laughter.

and catch the ferry
Final Portrait

Leaving the last comforts of civilization, a group of us huddled too long at the trailhead. Ian Tuttle was set up to take portraits of all the thruhikers for an article he was doing for Outside magazine. He had a gazebo set up and we crunched in it out of the freezing rain. We didn’t want to walk into the deep cold and wet. We worried how big the storm might get. But unless we were to give up at this last major road crossing, we had better just put the trail underneath us once again. After all, as Salmon would often say, “This trail ain’t gonna hike itself!” So one by one, we left the canopy and entered the tail end of the PCT.

The final ridgeline offered a silent beauty of muted colors.

Then the snow began.

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