July 12th, 2018
High Bridge Mm 2572 to Swamp Creek mm 2564
Distance: 8 miles
The town vortex exerted its pull but I was able to escape in the end. I woke early even still because I wanted to hand wash some clothes and give them time to dry. I camped right near the batroom, which had a nice sink. The campsites require a permit but are free. It’s surprising that the campground is free, with such nice facilities and in a resort town, to boot. It there ever was a town to hang out in, this is a pretty good one.
It is a funky little place. Later I walked over to the one pay phone, which doesn’t actually require payment to make calls. There is no cell service and only 1 place with wifi that comes in and out. Most visitors to the town have to arrive by the 2 hr ferry from Chelan. The scenary around the lake reminded me of the lakes in NZ. I would say it’s definitely worth a visit.
I got my resupply box when the post office opened at 10 am. This wasn’t your stock PO but more of a personalized shrine to jazz and blues musicians. The one and only clerk seemed to have a penchant for that style.
The hiker box (a bear-proof container outside) was stuffed with so many discards, several hikers could have done their resupplies out of it. I watched one guy throw out 5 days worth of food that he had just shipped to himself, since he had planned for 10 days for the next section. I had planned for 5.5 days and had a little extra food, but thought I might need it if the snow was bad.
It’s 107 miles to Stevens Pass, through a very rough and isolated wilderness. Hikers fret over the 100 mile wilderness on the Appalachian Trail in Maine but this is as much of a challenge. Of course, I hadn’t given it much thought until now.
While sorting my food and drying my clothes, a local dog-walker struck up a conversation. He commented that I had a lot of stuff compared to most thru-hikers he had seen. I had all my stuff spread out, so it looked like a lot. But the comment raised my hackles. Me….too much stuff? Just what did this guy know? LOL.
The other hikers in my group had decided to wait until the 2 pm bus back to the trailhead, so I decided to do the same. I needed the time to catch up on things, with the limited wifi there was. I did get a lot done and was surprised when the time to depart rolled around.
We made a pit stop at the famous bakery, where I got the odd choice of potato salad, which was really good but not a baked product, yeah, so what. Zeek, Jose, Taylor, and Julia decided to stay at the bakery until the 5 pm bus, but I was antsy to walk.
I started the trail around 3 pm, after soaking my buff in the river. It was so hot but thankfully the trail was mostly in the forest. A magnificent forest of huge cedars and spruce. And also tons of ripe blueberries…YUM! So lovely.
High Bridge, over the roaring Stehekin River, aptly named.
Lucas had set out with me but shortly dropped behind. He doesn’t say much because I don’t think he’s too confident in his English but I like his stoic demeanor.
We were aiming for a campsite 5 miles in but when I got there, I felt more in the tank and went for the next. The mosquitos started running me down and biting the backs of my arms late in the day. With a name like Swamp Creek, I thought the campsite might be miserable but it was actually quite nice.
There were 2 guys from Seattle there, out for a few days. Aaron immediately piped up that he had lots of rum and Derek proudly showed off his lawn chair that he had hauled up. Yep, decidely not thru-hikers but great company nonetheless. I had to laugh at their bear-bag hang, which was about 3 feet off the ground…luckily there were no marauding bears that night. And no, I didn’t partake of the rum. Instead I went to bed early and did not hear a thing all night thanks to the roaring stream that I had purposely pitched as near to as possible.