A group of hikers talks loudly until 1:00AM. Hikers, when you are in Stehekin, or anywhere really, do not stand by a group of 20 tents and talk loudly until 1:00AM. Your fellow hikers will smite you. Everyone will collectively roll their eyes in their tiny shelters, flip noisily on their neoairs, curse the day you were born, think you are a noob.
I am camped on a hill. By the time we made it to Stehekin the campground was packed with hikers. Everyone is set up right beside everyone else, our guylines criss crossing in elaborate braids. My particular site is unfortunate, and as the night goes on, I find myself rolling down the hill. I fall asleep, I roll off my neoair, I get back on. I fall asleep, I roll off my neoair, I get back on. I move around my tent, crinkling my things. The person next to me moves around, crinkling their things too. It is a symphony of small sounds and thus, I am awake most of the night.
I force myself to lay where I am until 7:30. The shuttle leaves at eight and I quickly throw my wallet and my phone into my pack and Bogwitch and I board the bus, taking the last two seats. Everyone on board is either very dirty or very clean and unfortunately, having rolled into camp too late to shower, we are the latter.
The Stehekin bakery is nice with its vegan brownie and muffin, with my two iced coffees and my Thai peanut noodles and my salad. I am not ravenous like a northbounder, not battered by rain or sleet or wind, and so I appreciate the Stehekin bakery but it doesn’t blow me out of the water. I eat pretty good food and pretty good pastries and drink a just fine iced coffee. Neat! But not, you know, spellbinding.
There are a mountain of chores ahead of us, and I am overwhelmed by them. Very slowly, we set up our sites on flatter land, we get our permits for the night, we retrieve our post office boxes, we we do our laundry, we shower, we sort our food. I KT tape my ankle, careful to get things as secure as possible for our next stretch. Stehekin to Skykomish is 108 miles, and it has the most elevation gain and loss of the entire PCT. They say southbounders end up with wings, and I’m pretty sure this is why.
📍This section of the Pacific Crest Trail is on unceded Nlaka’pamux, Syilx/Okanagan, and Columbia-Wenatchi land.