Today is a near-zero, pronounced “neer-oh”: seven miles to Stevens Pass where I will hitchhike to Skycomish, do laundry, buy resupply food and meet my sister, René, and her husband, Jack.
There were clouds about today and the weather report predicted a chance of rain. I passed by a nice lake, then hiked up the ridge above the Stevens Pass ski area.
I passed by a lucky’s hiker’s personalized Trail Magic drop. I hope “Stuck Feet” finds this!
The hitch to Skykomish took nearly and hour, but luckily a van stopped and gave me and two others a ride. Jack and René showed up soon after and laid out a feast of salsa, guacamole chips, sandwiches, cookies and beer! We invited the hiking couple I hitched with to join us in the meal. Ethan and his girlfriend [sorry, I forgot your name 😦 ] are from San Diego and thinking of moving to Washington, and so are hiking the WA PCT section (southbound).
Jack returned us all to Stevens Pass to check into a great hostel there: $45/day for a bunk, dinner, breakfast, showers and camaraderie. We then drove to the site of the 1910 Wellington avalanche, which took out a snow-suck train killing 96 people. It remains the worst avalanche in US history.
After the disaster, a very long concrete avalanche “snow shed” was erected to provide shelter for trains to retreat to should they become trapped by future storms:
After second lunch :), Jack and René dropped me off at the hostel. I met up with Ethan again and learned that he had just graduated with a degree in Physical Therapy. I mentioned that I suffered from Meralgia Paresthetica in my left leg, a condition where a peripheral nerve to my thigh is pinched between two muscles causing burning, numbness and sharp pain, especially when hiking downhill with my backpack. I’ve had this problem for over 30 years now.
Ethan offered to take a look, and had me perform all sorts of poses, stretches and maneuvers that pretty much verified my self-diagnosis. He suggested that my hips are very tight and that I probably walk with my toes pointing slightly out. I laughed and told him “that’s how I got the trail name ‘Duck’!”. He suggested that I may be able to slowly gain relief with a set of stretches, and that taking up yoga would help. In the mean time, I’ll just have to deal with it as I do now: ignore the pain when I can and adjust or loosen the pack belt when it becomes too much.
Dinner was homemade beef pho soup – yum – and fresh-baked brownies for dessert! I slept great!
Thanks for reading!