Pacific Crest Trail Journals

Stevens Pass to Stehekin

September 12 – September 16, 2010

After almost two full days of relaxing at the Dinsmore’s, I headed back up to Stevens Pass with a bunch of other hikers that had been at Hiker Haven with me. Leaving the Dinsmore’s felt surreal. I’d always known that there was an end to the Pacific Crest Trail but it had always been a far off destination that didn’t seem real – out of sight, out of mind. But when I got back on the trail at Stevens Pass I was SO close, in distance and time, to reaching the end that it really began to sink in and the finish line began to become a tangible idea.

I camped at Saddle Gap with terrific views of Glacier Peak looming just north, less than a day’s hike, ahead of me. I quickly reached Indian Pass the next day, where there are still posted signs telling hikers to take the PCT detour around Glacier Peak. I’d heard that the regular PCT was passable and didn’t have maps for the detour – it was easy to choose which way to go. From Indian Pass, I began a roller coaster ride of climbing to ridgelines and dropping down to rivers as I climbed around the west side of Glacier Peak. I pushed on past dark and eventually camped at Fire Creek, where I visited with a section hiker and his dog over dinner. The next day consisted of more steep ascents to passes followed by drops to rivers, including the crossing of Milk Creek. Milk Creek used to have a bridge crossing where the PCT first reaches it but the bridge was washed out several years ago. Rather the rebuild the bridge (where it would undoubtedly just be washed out again) the PCT was rerouted downstream to another, less vulnerable, bridge. However, I was still able to bushwack my way down to the river and make a direct crossing, which saved me several miles of unnecessary hiking. Later that day I reached the crossing of Suiattle River – a glacial runoff that spanned over 15 feet wide and several feet deep. I crossed it on a downed cedar tree and made it across without a problem but it was probably the most uncomfortable river crossing I’ve had. I pushed on to within less than 15 miles of High Bridge (where the shuttle into Stehekin picks up hikers) and camped after dark.

I caught up to Green Tortuga on my way to High Bridge the next morning and hiked in with him. We reached High Bridge well before the noon shuttle arrived and killed the time talking to other hikers.

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