August 1, 2017

Miles: 17

PNT mile 322

Camp: Mary’s backyard Metaline Falls, WA

Morning came early and brought with it a veil of smoke from the nearby fires. As far as we knew, our trail was still open so we hiked on at 7am hoping to shorten the distance between us and town. We figure we have just enough food to finish this section, but we are cutting it close.

The morning was all road walking, but soon we joined a trail. The trail took us into a Grove of old cedars, some said to be almost 2000 years old. They were quite impressive and it was humbling to stand among them.

After leaving the trees behind, we followed a valley as it rose up to Helmer Mountain where we would follow a ridge for the afternoon. We had to make it to the other side of the ridge for water and there we planned to have dinner. We also crossed into Washington on our way up! Someone built a little shrine at the border:

The ridge was very smoky, giving me a slight headache, but we were determined to keep moving. 

When we finally reached the end of our ridge walk, we were met with a trail closure. All roads and trails leading from our location to town were closed. We didn’t know what to do.

I contacted another hiker who was already in town and she enlisted the help of a local trail angel. Mary, the angel of Metaline Falls made phone calls and pushed open some doors for us and within 2 hours we were being shuttled off the mountain pass by a fire crew.

We were forced off the trail in our very first fire evacuation. It was an unexpected turn of events for sure, but we are lucky to have found a way out of the fire zone. We were whisked to town and soon were eating burgers instead of our planned refried beans by the side of the road dinner. Life is crazy, but life on trail is crazier.

At least this catches us up to our schedule and we can continue moving forward…and we don’t have to worry about running out of food anymore. We are camped in Mary’s yard tonight and plan to get things done and back to trail tomorrow. Wish us luck!