Monday, December 23, 2013

Lake Josephine to Stevens Pass--In the Sun!--2013

Sun---sun--sun! Finally no more rain as I pack up my sleeping gear to clear skies as I prepare to hike my last 9 miles to Stevens Pass. I wear my rain pants because the underbrush is full of water that brushes off my pants and gets my last pair of dry socks wet within a half hour of hiking.
I knew I was near Stevens Pass as I saw the back country ski lifts in the distance. It seemed like it took forever until I got up to the top of the ski lift. At the top, I saw that Heather, the Swedish thru hiker had spent the night rather than continuing down to Stevens Pass.
At the top of the ski lift, I was able to call Amtrak and change my reservations to mid-day. I then headed down to Stevens Pass while Heather was drying out his tent for a few more minutes.
It was a long hike down. As I got closer I heard lots of music and an announcer because there was a dirt bike festival. For me, this meant that there would be restaurant food at the Inn.

It was hard to believe there were so many fully decked out dirt bikers. Someone told me that the bikes cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 plus the pads, helmets and fancy clothing.
I got a good seat at the restaurant with a view of the bikers, while I ate a juicy hamburger with some Leavenworth local pale ale microbrew. While I was eating, Heather joined me and ordered two hamburgers.

After lunch, I headed across the pedestrian bridge to the other side of Highway 2 to catch the mid day Amtrak bus to Seattle. Within 1/2 hour, I flagged down the bus to home.
Although the weather was not the best, I enjoyed giving back the the Pacific Crest Trail by joining the Washington Trails Association PCT Deep Lake work party where we replaced two puncheons with two turnpikes that should last for years.

When I finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2008, a 2,560 mile trail that runs from the Mexican border to Canada, I wanted to pay back for the great experience I had doing this trek. Until you participate in trail building and rehabilatation, you just have no idea of how much effort goes into making this trail passable for hikers and equestrians. Severe government cutbacks makes it impossible for the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Park Service to maintain this trail. Instead, volunteers have stepped in to help with the guidance of these great government organizations. We just did about 50 feet of trail work plus another 3 miles of trail brush trimming. So can you imagine how many volunteers it is taking to make this trail accessible from people all over the world to travel. When I hiked the PCT, I had no idea of how much work was involved in clearing the tred for me. I now know and it feels good to volunteer.

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