Sunday July 10th, 2022, 1000-1530
Northport to Trail Angel house on Cedar Creek rd., WEBO mm 387.5, Segment 3 Selkirk Mountains
13.5 miles, Gain 1680′, Loss 900′, elevation 1355
It was a late night and a little rough waking up in the morning. I had a short day planned, making it only as far as a trail angel’s house that was up the road. In discussion with Wolverine the night before, we’d hatched a plan to stick together for a difficult bushwhack section along a ridge in the Selkirk range. Given the difficulty of the route and possibly presence of grizzly bears in that area, it would be good to have a partner. The bushwhack wasn’t for another 100 miles, so I needed to slow my pace just a little. The range might still have snow, so there was no reason to be in a hurry.
In the morning, I went to the small convenience store (basically the only game in town) for breakfast and a 2 day resupply, which was rough. Thank goodness I wasn’t in need of many days of food because the selection was pretty poor…mostly junk food, of course. I made due and headed out of town with Wolverine. Skunkbear and Sashay were just ahead and Bug had left earlier to try to hitch to Kettle Falls. It was a long road walk almost all the way to the Canadian border, then wrapping back around south into another valley. The trail used to go directly over some hills, but a logging operation had closed the access. The road was quiet and pleasant, so I didn’t mind. We stopped for a break at a defunct gas station, which the owner was trying to fix up into a store. He gave us apples and candy…so nice!
We were excited to find 2 WEBO PNT hikers, Kira and Matthew, at the stop. This made 4 that I’d seen so far. They were a nice couple from Olympia, out for a section hike. They’d started at Priest Lake. We chatted for a bit, while I watched a bald eagle soaring over the mighty Columbia River. Back on the road, we were passed by several border patrol trucks and saw a station situated on the river…I guess they monitor boat traffic. Later we met some more locals that were chopping firewood on their property. They were very excited about our journey. Everyone has been so friendly!
Speaking of which, we came to the trail angel’s place, Jen and Ty, who together have 9 kids (some from previous relationships and only 4 of which still live with them) and 5 dogs. We knew this before arriving but still it was a lot of action (from the dogs) and a lot to take in. Jen showed us around and kindly gave us cold drinks. I opted to pitch my tent out in their woods, away from all the action…or so I thought.
The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out with the family on their porch, enjoying views of Mt Abercrombie, our destination for the next day. All four of us stayed and Ty grilled both burgers and veggie burgers for us…I opted for the latter. Several of the neighbors came over too, so it felt like a real party. Given the late night before, I tried to go to bed earlier this night. Still, it was almost dark by the time I made it back to my tent.
While searching around for something inside my tent, I discovered a puddle at the foot. My curiosity turned to disgust when the tea color and odor quickly gave it away. Roman, the huge alpha male dog of the pack, had tagged my tent as his personal property. There was piss all over….inside, outside, and it had even run down between my polycro ground sheet and tent floor. It’d soaked into a few storage bags and my umbrella. Thank god it didn’t get onto my quilt or spare clothing. Of course, he’d aimed for the front so that it would do maximum damage. I’d actually been worried about this, which is why I’d pitched so far out in the woods. I meant to close my rain flaps but had forgotten. That might have helped but still…
It took awhile to mop up the mess. I was pissed, in every sense of the word, pun intended. I’ve been able to achieve a more stoic way in handling mishaps on the trail but when something with my gear goes wrong, it really bothers me. Especially something this silly. Jen gave me washcloths and disinfecting spray and felt really bad. Then I felt bad that she felt bad, because it was nobody’s fault…just a stupid dog thing that happens all the time. Roman glared at me, not with a look of guilt but rather satisfaction…he was smug about it. What a dick. It was really pretty funny…just not at my bedtime and expense.
Finally I was able to go to sleep but the smell of dog was still there…it would be with me for a few days, in fact. Just as I was drifting off, I heard the sniffing of a dog and got upset all over again. But this time it was Chica, a ginormous 120 lb black lab and mastiff mix. She was not intent on marking but rather just hanging out. She laid down in front of my tent, her back to me, looking out as if she were guarding me. Just like my black lab Barkley used to do around our chickens. It was so cute and reminded me of what dogs are good for….almost as if she sensed that her kind needed some redeeming. Good girl.