September 6-8, 2017

Miles: 10

PNT mile 

Camp: Deception Pass State Park -Whidbey Island

Pano dropped us at the bus stop in Sedro Woolley after lunch. We jumped on the local transportation for $1 and managed to travel all of the way to Anacortes. There was only a short amount of trail we missed that is conveniently sandwiched between long road walks, trail we can easily come back and do at a later date. At this point, the smoke is bad enough that we would miss any views worth seeing and … well, I really feel the need to get into the mountains again.

As we were in Bellingham the news traveled down the line about one of my favorite places on Earth. The Columbia River Gorge was set on fire by a teenager with a firecracker. My heart was immediately ripped from my chest and the righteous indignance I felt was overwhelming. That gorge shaped me into the hiker I am today. That gorge set my soul aflame with the the desire to hike and explore as often as possible…I’ve hiked almost every trail there, saving a few for later, just because finishing the hikes would sadden me like the last page of a good book. I’m not ready. My heart will go with it if it goes away. 

Everyone in Portland who loves nature came there from the Gorge. It is a keyhole and it turns you into a nature lover, you can’t walk from it the same as you entered. The gorge will light you up if you let it, but a teenager lit it on fire instead. Our precious backyard is going up in flames, my friends are being evacuated from their homes and the only city I could ever live in is under a cloud of ash. My heart is broken. I break all over as if someone I love has passed. I feel helpless.

Yet, there is nothing I can do at the moment. I can’t even envision helping until spring, after the rain. I’ll be ready when the gorge is, but for now I hike. I ponder.

Fire has been such a big part of the summer. Everything is burning. We are losing our wilderness…between the fires of the west and the dumpster fire we call the government right now. Everything I care about is burning. My heart is heavy as it becomes so clear to me that I have to get out and see everything I can while it is there…it could all be gone tomorrow. It is extra motivating to know that the next section is in the Olympic Mountains, a long time bucket list item for me. I think there will be some extra cherishing of this section, knowing how fleeting these places and these moments can be.

We spent the next 2 nights in Anacortes, planning for the beginning of the next section. After all of this strange town hopping we will finally be reunited with our beloved trail. First we had some more travel to do.

My friend Diane lives in Anacortes and I hadn’t seen her for about 12 years. We worked at a brewery in Eureka, CA when we were in college and became friends. Years have passed since those carefree days, but we have managed to stay in touch and visit on my way through Anacortes. Diane and her family welcomed us into their home and gave us such a warm place to relax for yet another day. The home cooked food, the company of Diane and her kids, her husband Ben, mother-in-law Jean and the cozy home were a wonderful treat. It felt amazing to be in a home with a family and the kids were super fun to talk with! Thank you Henneberts for a real good time! You made great trail angels ☺

When we woke at Diane’s house I had a terrible pain in my right hip. Walking up the stairs was brutal and I couldn’t trust my leg with all of my weight. It was puzzling and frustrating as we were supposed to hit trail finally. Unfortunately, my body was not complying.

Diane drove us to town instead of the trail where we met up with Thumbelina. Her uncle has a boat in the marina there and we all slept there for a night. It was super fun to be out on the water, to realize how close to the sea we have made it already. We are getting somewhere in our own roundabout way.

Finally this morning we were dropped at the trail. We hiked 10 miles from Anacortes to Deception Pass. Tomorrow we walk the coast down to Coupeville where we will catch the ferry to the Peninsula. That is one ride that is actually part of the trail! Then we can get into the Olympics. Then we are back on trail.