Pacific Northwest Trail; mile 734.9

Wednesday, September 18, 2019; day 59

The rain cleared by the afternoon, and I set off.

I stood at a westbound entrance to Route 20. It was not long before a kind man called Dave, with high energy and a love for adventure, pulled over to give me a lift. I told him that I was not heading to Rainy Pass, but further west to the East Bank trailhead to continue along the Pacific Northwest Trail. To my surprised delight he knew of the trail, and knew exactly where I was headed. He would be passing there on his way home to Concrete. I told him that I intended on going to Concrete to resupply. He gave me his card and told me to contact him when I get there. He said that his wife makes the best vegan quinoa chili, and that they would love to have me over! Oh, how wonderful!

We pulled in to the East Bank trailhead. Dave was curious about the route I was taking, so I pulled out my maps and we reviewed them together. He told me that he had hiked the Swift Creek trail, which would be part of my route. He told me that they had recently done a lot of work on the trail, and that it was in good shape. He mentioned a fording, but I did not pay that much mind…I had plenty of fordings under my belt.

I was hiking again by 1700.

The past three days now felt like a dream.

As I hiked, I could see the distant lights of Ross Lake Resort.

I came to the Ross Lake Dam Service Road. Just off the road was a covered picnic area.

I liked the idea of not having to set up my tent. I decided to sleep beneath the covering, beside the benches.

Soon, I had company. They were the largest, cutest, bushy-tailed little scavengers I had ever seen.

They were also persistent.

I thought that they may not make it up to the picnic bench, so I moved myself and my things, positioning myself precariously on top of the wooden table. This was not a deterrent. They continued to scramble on top of me and amongst my gear, frequently leaving little “presents”.

It was too much to handle. I resigned to a flat spot beside the picnic area, and set up my tent.

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