Archive for September 22nd, 2006

Odor control

Destination: Stehikin “The Ranch”
Starting Location: Stehikin
Today’s Miles: 0.00
Trip Miles: 2511.40
Zero – The Ranch – Stehikin, WA

An absolutely beautiful fall day in the Pacific Northwest. We have been joking that the weather is much too nice to be hiking and so we are spending a second night at The Ranch.
It was somewhat embarrassing but Cliff, the owner of The Ranch, stopped by our cabin to encourage mitigation for our odor. Apparently a guest had commented / complained and Cliff was doing the appropriate thing by responding to his guest. Fortunately, we had taken the bus into Stehikin where we could do our laundry. Because everything had gotten wet we did not have any clean clothes during our 1st night at the Ranch and even after showers our clothes were still pretty rank. We felt pretty bad that something needed to be said as we are all believers in being ambassadors for future hikers. But we blew this & are trying to redeem ourselves during our second evening.
During dinner I realized I was sitting next to the owner of the Stehikin bakery & her husband who is also Cliff’s brother. This family has been in Stehikin their entire lives & I understand why they have stayed. All the cars have been brought in by barge as the valley has no road access. Some people arrive by float plane, you take the once a day ferry, or you walk / ride (horse) in. The town was recently evacuated due to a camp fire turned wild land fire. The talk around the table is mixed with frustration regarding the management of the fire and the appreciation that the town and homes were not lost.
Tomorrow we start our last leg of our journey. The reality of that is staggering. Up to this point every stop has been a step in a process that did not seem to actually have an end point. Now this leg is all that is left – no more miles, no more distant borders and no more dreams of all you can eat buffets. I am ready to be done and yet hiking has become what I do – and in a way, who I am. So not doing it any longer is a very weird and in a way scary proposition.
A group of guests are heading out to Rainy Pass in the morning as well. They are leaving at dark to allow time to reach their car by dark. We were joking with them about leaving after a late breakfast and catching them by lunch. I predict we have a late lunch together at around 3 pm. They are really nice and this 18 mile day hike is a big adventure for them. And it is; they have a big climb & they have not been hiking – we agreed to carry their packs if need be.
Looks like everyone (mom, dad, Liz, Sheri, Cathy) are going to come up to Canada. They will likely arrive the day after us. I am so fortunate to have had & continue to have such a supportive family. Their involvement has brought such joy to my hike and I am forever indebted.
I had a nice visit with Herman who is also a guest here. He is a difficult one for me. He told a guest he likes to hike with others & that he gets along with people but that they do not always get along with him. I found this very introspective and yet odd that he does not see the cause & effect of his actions & how that is the “separating” force in his relationships with others. I can’t help but like this guy & his struggles socially remind me a lot of my early years and often still. Maybe that is why I have been so critical of him. We loathe what we are or what we are scared to be.
I think I am worried about being done – I know this hike changed my life but what does that mean for today & the future. It means today & the future are uncertain just like today was uncertain, or 5 months ago before I ever started this long journey.


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