September 19, 2017

Miles: 5

PNT mile 1125.4

Camp: A Logging truck garage in Forks, WA

The rain never let up last night. We woke to even wetter conditions than we had been in and had to gather our belongings that were becoming increasingly damp. Our tents, sleeping bags and clothes were all falling victim to the endless precipitation, as was our motivation. The rain was supposed to continue through the day and we would not be able to dry anything out. It made us stop and consider our options before we hiked out.

There was a trail leading from the lake to another trailhead where we could hitch to town and dry out, or we could continue on into the Bogachiel Rainforest for more of the same we have already grown weary of. We vowed to each other and ourselves that we would continue on from this spot if we hiked out to town, and the option became more than clear. We were not having a good time and we had the luxury of coming back when the storm broke – so we went with it. Sometimes the trail decides for you.

The hike down to the trailhead was wet and sloppy, but we were warm with determination and visions of hot showers, dry gear and heaters set to high. It was the only way.

A man at the trailhead was in a rental car and had no problem getting us to the highway for an easier hitch into Forks. He was headed the opposite direction, but happy to get us to a spot with higher traffic … and didn’t care if we got his rental car wet. We liked him a lot and were already feeling better in his warm, dry car.

He dropped us on the main road/highway where we were picked up by someone we would later discover to be an angel on Earth. Her name is Sheri and I have never met anyone quite like her in my life. As she was driving us into town, we began asking her about hotels and restaurants. She kept saying how she wasn’t sure because she only ate at home from her gardens, and from the meat her husband and son hunt and give to her. She truly lives mostly off the land…and as she was telling us this it was like she had an epiphany. “Well, I just can’t see any other option than for you to come to my house,” she said, “I have a large garage space with a shower and laundry where you can stay and you’ll join us for a homecooked dinner.”

We gladly accepted and were soon to see what true selflessness Sheri possessed. Her house lay just outside of the storm that we could constantly look back on and shiver – but the sun was actually shining here! As we were hanging all of our gear out to dry in her backyard, Sheri came out with lunch. It was an elk and venison stew chock full of veggies from her garden, homemade bread, pickled green beans and corn on the cob!! It was so much more than we could have hoped for and the warmth of her home, her meal, her personality and the actual shining sun began to melt the suffering of the last couple of days from our weary bones. It felt so good to be here and so good to be alive. Sheri is a natural born trail angel and we were overwhelmed by her kindness. We started saying to each other how becoming more like Sheri should be a goal in life and it would be one from here on out. It was clear we had some political differences with her and her logging husband (that never came up in conversation), but to her it was all about helping us because it was what good people do. She could not bear the idea of us not having her help and we couldn’t imagine any better circumstances to so serendipitously discover.

Just as our gear was satisfactorily dried out and we were repacking our bags, the rain began again. Lucky for us, we were able to retreat into Sheri’s garage where we took hot showers and are able to cuddle up indoors. We are eager to get back out to trail in the morning as we have our permits all set up to finish what we started. There will be no skipped miles, no wet tents and we are feeling about as good as we can imagine, ready to get through anything as we complete this long, beautiful and tiresome trail.