Over the next few weeks I will be posting my diary entries for the final six days that I spent on the trail. They begin with me at Bridge Creek campground at a height of 2108 feet. I had walked 2585 miles, but there were still 75 more to go. I was hiking with four Americans who I had met from time to time along the way. We were all up against deteriorating weather as we approached the final stages to the Canadian border.
It rained heavily during the night. In the morning I was woken by the sounds of Wolverine packing up. There was a break in the rain so I got up too. I rolled up my wet tent and went to have breakfast with ED, who had found her way into a derelict log cabin the night before. Scallywag arrived, followed by Heehaw and Wolverine.
I set off with Wolverine and Heehaw in light drizzle and we made steady progress towards Rainy Pass. After about 5 miles we came to Maple Creek. Heehaw got across but Wolverine was having trouble and decided to take off his shoes and ford it. I moved past him to cross, stepped onto a rock and slipped into the creek.
Wolverine grabbed me and didn't let go. I got back onto my feet, retrieved my hiking poles, thanked Wolverine and more carefully rock-hopped across. Heehaw and I sheltered in some trees while Wolverine forded the water. He waved us on so we kept moving. I had no idea that I wouldn't see him again for five days.
Heehaw and I made fast progress. It started to drizzle again and then the drizzle turned to snow. It was exciting, but Heehaw realized the danger. We were wet and cold, climbing to a higher elevation and the snow was getting thicker. By the time we reached Rainy Pass it was a blizzard and we were in serious need of shelter. A sign indicated a picnic area to the right and a trail head to the left. We made for the picnic area and found a block of four public toilets. We got inside the cleanest one and waited for Wolverine, ED and Scallywag. I dashed out and left a note on an information board, "Party in the bathrooms, appropriate dress required".
We changed into dry clothes and warmed up a bit. We didn't have much water so I put my jacket on and went back to a small lake beside the road. It was shallow and yellow and I had to get my feet wet to get any water. I had planned to take four litres but my hands were numb and useless after getting two and I knew I had to get warm quickly. I stumbled back. I was starting to realize how dangerous the conditions were. Heehaw made some food and we warmed up properly. We took turns sitting on the one seat - the toilet.
The others should have arrived by now, Wolverine at least. We needed to get somewhere to dry out and regroup. I wrote a note to leave and we dressed up again and headed out. When we were nearly at the road we heard voices. It was ED and Scallywag, but where the hell was Wolverine? We crossed the road to the trail head where we found two more toilets and one set of fresh footprints in the snow leading up the trail. Wolverine had presumably checked these toilets and assumed Heehaw and I had continued. He was out there on his own, climbing up to 7000 feet in a blizzard, chasing two people who were behind him.
Scallywag dropped his backpack and prepared to run along the trail after Wolverine. This was a hasty decision, it was getting dark and Scallywag was about to run along a slippery trial without his backpack. He raced off and I regretted it immediately. At least Wolverine had everything with him, Scallywag had nothing. ED, Heehaw and I settled down in the new block to toilets for an anxious wait. About an hour later Scallywag returned, out of breath and without Wolverine.
In case he returned, we left Wolverine a note, and a pen to add to it, and then went back to the road to hitch somewhere. It was almost dark and snow was blowing all around us. Half a dozen cars sped by and then the traffic ceased. We resigned ourselves to a night in the toilets and walked back to the trail head.
We settled in and made dinner. Scallywag and Heehaw took one of the two rooms. A game of paper-rock-scissors decided who would sleep next to the toilet. ED and I bunked down in the other. We cleaned the floor as best we could with toilet paper and spread out our ground sheets. We put on all of our clothes, got out our sleeping bags and went to bed. It was freezing and we were sleeping in a toilet but we made the best of it. My thoughts were with Wolverine, in a wet tent, in a snow storm, on his own at a higher elevation.
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Recent Check-ins (View all)
21 I made it.
15 About to catch the last bus for the season out of Stehekin and planning to walk out of America in four days time on the last day of my visa...
09 It looks like some bad weather is finally on the way. My rain gear might actually get some use! Tough climbs ahead but getting closer to Canada each day and with great group of fellow stragglers.
22 Quick stop in Cascade Locks to shower, do laundry, resupply, eat and 'rest'. Across the Bridge of the Gods, over the mighty Columbia river, into Washington today - the first day of autumn.
13 Resupply for Washington all sorted with some help from Mum, who is visiting on her way home from Europe. Now it is time to escape Bend and resume the race to Canada.
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30 True to the thru (Part 4 of 4)
30 The waiting game (Part 3 of 4)
30 Something was wrong (Part 2 of 4)
30 A story that needs to be told (Part 1 of 4)
21 "I knew Typo would make it" (Part 6 of 6)
19 Throwing the Hail Mary (Part 5 of 6)
10 Up and down, but not out (Part 4 of 6)
06 Crossing Cutthroat Pass (Part 3 of 6)
03 Warming up in Winthrop (Part 2 of 6)
30 We're sleeping in a toilet (Part 1 of 6)
25 Another radio interview (Audio)
21 I made it
04 Nearly there
29 Trail Magic
19 Walking with Mum
28 Cold food
28 Hello Oregon!
20 40 miles in one day
08 Official trail name: Typo
06 (Humbolt) Summit Fever
06 Road walking around a wildfire
30 Two trail birthdays
18 A picture is worth...
10 Pain and gain in the Sierra
28 Hiker hunger
27 The inquisitive marmot
19 Stage one survived
05 Live from the Mojave (Updated)
04 I just walked 500 miles...
31 Current nemesis: Poodle dog bush
23 Mexico to McDonald's
23 Gear review: Sleeping pad
18 Hot and getting even hotter
10 People on the trail: Sunset
05 Eagle Rock
03 Hiker discount: 100%
30 The beginning
25 Final preparation
17 Blogging along the way
16 No publicity is bad publicity
08 Walking before the walk
08 Maps for the trail