That night after reaching Rainy Pass, I camped with many other people (including my new friend, Oli) just a mile before the North Cascades NP boundary -- seems like it was a popular idea! It was a lot of fun to hang out with so many other hikers, and by the end of the night, that lonely feeling I had had the day before was almost gone.
Many hikers camped just before the North Cascades NP boundary!
The next day, we all got up early because we were all looking forward to town day in Stehekin. It was a very long 17-mile descent into a valley, and at the bottom, there would be a shuttle waiting to take us to showers, laundry, and warm food.
Stehekin was a great little town on the shores of Lake Chelan. The shuttle stops by the Stehekin bakery, and since I can't have dairy without feeling like garbage, I was so excited to see they had some vegan snacks! When we got to Stehekin, I grabbed my resupply box from the post office, and snagged a chair on the General Store porch to start charging up my stuff. I spent the rest of the afternoon on the porch with a couple dozen other hikers. There, I also met Blue, who I'd eventually hike many miles with. He was doing a portrait project of thru-hikers, and asked for my portrait. What better time to do it than before I'd showered and done laundry?
One of the hikers I had met on the border tag, DOCK, had asked my partner to ship him something home, since he was headed out from Hart's Pass. In return, DOCK gave me one of the best shoulder massages ever (I literally did nothing, but thanks to my partner for getting me this massage). It hurt like hell, but hurt soooo
One of the reasons I was excited to reach Stehekin was that there was supposed to be WiFi at the General Store, so I would be able to reach my family back home and let them know I was alright. Since I'd reached Hart's Pass, I hadn't gotten a single bar of service anywhere. The North Cascades truly are wilderness. Unfortunately, the WiFi didn't work with certain phones, and of course I just happened to have one of those phones. Oli was nice enough to let me use his phone briefly to send a few messages home.
Hikers hanging out on the Stehekin General Store porch
That night, I camped right next to the water in town. I was feeling reenergized after making friends, taking a shower, and doing my laundry, and I was ready for the huge climb out of Stehekin.