Bear With Us

With tent spaces below the bridge crossing the Suiattle River, someone had a bit of fun.


Soon after crossing the river, we came to the Suiattle Road trail junction. Just a few weeks ago this junction was the virtual border for thru-hikers, as the trail was closed north of there. While there were some open sections, the effort required to connect them just didn’t make sense.  So hikers called it at the junction.

Some five miles up the trail, we met one of those hikers. Once the trail reopened, he started at the northern terminus and was headed south to connect with the Suiattle Trail.  He was just five miles from completing his thru-hike and was quite excited.

Understandably so.

For us, another day of climbing and rain.  Lots of rain.  And when the rain stopped, the car wash.  Sections of the trail were overgrown with the typical annuals like ferns. These plants grow and stretch across the trail and when they are wet, we get soaked. So it’s like walking through a car wash.

We had a late arrival into camp, over an hour after sunset.  We found our spot, started setting up and noticed the little bears.  A bunch of mice were excited at our arrival.  It’s almost as if they set up a conga line, ready to feast.

We hadn’t had any issues with the mice yet, although here in Washington they are supposed to be quite bad.

We heard some rustling overnight and they finally did breach a food bag.  Luckily they only got an energy bar that Jen didn’t like anyway.

Day 161 – 22 / 2,132 (2,560)


An early start so we could meet a noon-time shuttle into the town of Stehekin. It’s a remote town, accessible only by foot, ferry or float plane.



The PCT enters the valley some 11 miles from town, but luckily a bus operates four times a day to get us back and forth.

We had to overnight since the post office wouldn’t open until Monday morning. Luckily the lodge had room and we were able to shower, do laundry and eat real food.

A beer or two may have been harmed in the process

Day 162 – 9 / 2,141 (2,569)

After collecting our resupply and repacking, we were on the noon-time bus back to the trail. As is typical on resupply days, we had to climb back out which slowed us down and we didn’t make it as far as we had hoped.  But we ended up in a camp with a couple of other hikers, Sodwinder and Nominal Toast.  We had good dinnertime conversation then headed off to our respective tents for the night.

The first time we had spied the moon in many weeks.


I was sitting in my seat on the train.  The engineer released some steam and we lurched forward as we departed that station.

It was right about then I became aware that Jen was shaking me awake.  I heard her ask “is that a bear?”.

That’s when I realized that the steam in my dream was actually a bear sniffing under the bottom edge of our tent.  Silly bear, the whole side of the tent on my side was open and s/he could have crawled right in.

“Yep” was my response.  We listened for a moment and realized it was very insistent on nudging into the tent.  I had sleep to get back to, so I told it to go away.

It did. In a huff.  Stomping its feet.

I went back to sleep.

Apparently Jen did not.  A little while later she shook me again. “It’s coming back”.  Based on the sniffs and footfalls, it was.

But it didn’t hang around. So we got more sleep.

Neither Sodwinder nor Nominal Toast recalled a visit, although Toast did hear twigs snapping in the night, which Jen confirmed was the bear’s initial approach.

Luckily no food or equipment was harmed in the process.

Day 163 – 12 / 2,153 (2,581)

Please help us help the PCT Association as they work to protect and maintain this precious resource:


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