We wake up and everything is still wet, wet, wet. But Stevens Pass is just four miles away. Backup skips his oats but not his coffee, and then we pack everything up and stuff it more haphazardly than usual into our packs, shoulder them, and set off down the trail.
My knee hurts, but Stevens Pass is less than four miles away!
It’s raining again, but Stevens Pass is less than three miles away!
We took off our rain gear and the trail is overgrown and we’re getting soaked from all the wet plants, but Stevens Pass is less than two miles away!
We cross the highway on a pedestrian bridge, and then we’re there. I order the mocha of my dreams, plus a cinnamon roll, from the very kind and patient barista. We retrieve our resupply boxes and chat with a nobo section hiker, Han Solo. Everything is wonderful! Everyone is beautiful!
When we head back outside and cross back over the bridge to hitch to Skykomish, we spot Cowgirl and Dragonfly, two other sobos we’ve met twice on the trail so far, hanging out at their sweet Airstream trailer with their friend who’s been driving the trailer to meet them at towns. When we mention that we’re headed to Sky, Dragonfly offers to give us a ride to the Dinsmores’ — he’s headed there to do some laundry anyway. We gladly accept, and happily linger in the trailer with Cowgirl’s dogs, one of whom is hiking some of the PCT with them this year and the other of whom hiked the AT with Cowgirl last year.
The Dinsmores welcome us to Hiker Haven, which is a truly remarkable place — it reminds me a little bit of the Cookie Lady’s house in Acton, Virginia on the TransAmerica Trail bike route. Andrea and Jerry are not just collectors of unique trail memorabilia, though; they’ve also anticipated hikers’ needs and desires remarkably well and created a true haven. There’s a washing machine and dryer, clothesline, a whole shelving unit full of clean loaner clothes ranging from practical to bizarre, a shower stocked with soap and shampoo, clean towels, bunks with pillows, comfy armchairs, a fridge and freezer, a huge hiker box (free/swap box), info about weather and fire closures, wifi, and more. I feel welcomed and soon I feel clean.
I put on a flowy maxi dress from the collection of loaner clothes and wear it with my sneakers and puffy jacket to Skykomish where Backup, Dragonfly, and I head next in search of a good meal. We get a little derailed first by the convenience store attached to the gas station, which has a pretty incredible selection of candy and snacks, but we eventually find our way to what is, by early evening, pretty much the only game in town (or at least the only game with vegetarian options — apparently the bar next door has great fried chicken), the Cascadia Inn. The kind and patient (are you sensing a theme here? Everyone has been so wonderful today) proprietor brings us all veggie burgers and then three different desserts, which we all share.
Three more hikers bound for Hiker Haven pile in for the ride back. Dragonfly and I chat about blind spots and not knowing what you don’t know while his laundry finishes up, and then he heads back up to Stevens Pass and the trailer. I hope that he, Cowgirl, and Twinkle Toes (their canine companion) become recurring characters on this blog.
It’s been a lovely, relaxing day.
(photo by Dragonfly)