Tuesday 16th August
Start & End: Skykomish, off mile 2461.6
So there’s not a great deal going on in Skykomish. In less than a day since arriving here we had exhausted all the local cuisine options. This included a tour of the gas station minimart! I was feeling frustrated by the lack of choice.
This led to our decision (mostly driven by me), to hitch to a larger town to buy food. Following a bagel breakfast at the Liquor and Deli store, a cardboard sign was made and we were on Highway 2 wearing big smiles. It took 10 minutes for a local named Bob to stop in his pickup truck. He was easy to talk to, a university-educated 1960s liberal (how he described himself), who said he will move to Canada if Trump gets voted in! He dropped us off in the Safeway car park in Monroe, 40 miles west. I’ve never been so excited to go to a supermarket!
Monroe is another railway line town along the Skykomish River Valley, but much larger. It is only 30 miles northeast of Seattle. There is a small historical downtown area which still exists, and posters were hanging for the Evergreen State Fair which we will sadly miss by a week. We had brunch at the Main Street Cafe, and posted back to California the results of our most recent kit explosion – lets just hope it doesn’t rain in the next 2 weeks!
Following a long browse and small food shop in Safeway, where I couldn’t buy half of what I wanted due to weight issues, we popped in McDonalds for a cold drink and a McFlurry. I couldn’t believe that this was the first Mucky-Ds visit of the trip, and Conrad didn’t even have a burger! Maybe he is sick? We took the local transit bus as far as we could back, which was a small town called Gold Bar. From there we assumed it would be easy to hitch the rest of the way back. We were wrong. Despite plenty of cars, we stood in the heat on the highway for nearly an hour before anyone stopped! I was beginning to feel panicked. Thank you to Peggy, who in her Prius drove past her home in Index to take us back. She also shared a detailed local history, which was interesting.
My thoughts now turn to the hike ahead. This last section was the shortest, and stunningly beautiful, with alpine lakes and striking jagged mountains. Despite this, the elevation change and extreme heat made it the most challenging. We didn’t break 20 miles once. This makes me apprehensive for the next leg of our adventure – 108 miles to Stehekin. How we can possibly carry enough food, and sustain the physical effort for 6 days straight, I am unsure. But we have less than 200 miles to go now, so the countdown feels on.