Tuesday, September 11, 2018 – 14.20 miles
My tree spared me from nighttime drizzle. A nice early morning was interrupted by heavy rain as I left the PCT at Suiattle Pass and began the Bannock Lake Fire detour, which started with a devilish ‘hikers shortcut’ that climbed steeply up and down across a scree scope. I was glad to be completing it before the dirt sections had turned to mud.
I reached Cloudy Pass, saw little in the low-hanging clouds and continued onwards. A sign stated that the Upper Lyman bridge was out and hikers should follow the flagged route, stepping on rock or snow as much as possible to minimize impact. I don’t know how long the bridge has been out, but a clearly defined path encircled the beautiful milky lake.
As on all viewless days I felt irritable, and hurried until the sun came out and the clouds thinned. I took a snack/drying off break by Hart Lake before walking past ruins (a former Holden Village?) to Holden Village.
Holden Village is a Lutheran retreat close to Lake Chelan. From the people I’ve spoken to, a fair percentage of PCT hikers are choosing to skip the second half of the fire detour by shuttling by bus to the ferry landing, then taking the ferry to Stehekin. A rumour has been circulating that the trail from Holden Village to Stehekin Road is badly maintained, but the man at the registration desk (who simultaneously informed me about and denounced the rumour) claimed that the trail condition is fine and the views are good. I’m tempted to skip because I would like to ride the ferry down the entire length of the lake, and I would have the time to do that if I skipped, but as of now I plan to hike the trail.
Holden Village amenities: laundry is free, there are overpriced rooms sans bathrooms, supper/breakfast is included in the price of the room or can be purchased separately. There’s no Wi-Fi, but a laptop with Internet is available for use in the library, so I was able to check the weather forecast. If you’re ever tempted to read the collected works of Luther, you could spend thousands of hours doing so here; alternately you could check out the Douglas Adams selection. Supper was a make-your-own quesadilla. Ice cream was offered for purchase afterwards but I wasn’t tempted in the cold weather.