The trail crosses a road 11 miles south of Stehekin town lines and a shuttle runs from the trailhead to town 4 times a day until October. (although there are no roads TO Stehekin, there are roads within the township itself. I guess they bring the cars over by boat!)
We had camped about 6 miles from the road the night before in order to get to the trailhead for the 9:00 am shuttle. Though we had been enjoying beautiful weather for the past 4 days, this morning was COLD! I was hiking in my tights, wind shirt, gloves and hat. I got to the road about 20 minutes before the shuttle was expected, and I quickly pulled out my puffy jacket and found a sunny spot to wait. The ranger came out while we were waiting, and gave us a brief reminder about bear safety and fire restrictions over the remaining section of trail. Finally, the shuttle arrived and a large group of hikers exited the shuttle before we got on. Amongst the hikers was Butterfly, Turbo, and Spreadsheet, who I hadn't seen since Cascade Locks. We said a quick hello before I got on the shuttle and they got on the trail.
The shuttle rolled on down the dirt road and somehow, it was getting COLDER. Anyone who has spent time in the outdoors (or has driven over a bridge in the winter) knows that close proximity to water makes for colder temperatures. Lake Chelan paired with the steep walls of the canyon on either side (and the subsequent shade) made for frigid temps. By the time we got to the famous bakery outside of town, all I wanted was a hot chocolate. (though I did buy some goodies. Who am I trying to fool? Hiking makes me hungry) When we got to town, I wanted a hotel room with a heat source and a hot shower.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) there were no more hotel rooms left in town, so I headed out to one of the few sunny spots, near the boat landing, and soaked up the sun until I stopped shivering. Once I warmed up, I was able to resupply, then take a shower, and do laundry in the public showers and laundromat. I had been taking a gamble by no sending a resupply box to Stehekin, going by messages on the PCT Facebook group. The good news is, the store had enough or a decent resupply. The bad news is, several hikers hit the hiker box before me so I was not able to supplement there.
By this time, the sun had climbed high enough in the sky to clear the steep canyon walls and it went from absolutely freezing to absolutely roasting. I was then hunting for shade. I went to the spot by the boat launch to get my stuff and discovered that I had placed my stuff a little too close to the boat launch. One of my trekking poles was missing-- it had apparently been loaded onto the last ferry with a pile of baggage. Thankfully, my pack was still there, along with one trekking pole, so I was okay. I was also much warmer, cleaner, and had combed out my hair, so I had no need for a hotel room. I planned to eat and catch the last shuttle out to the trail.
Meanwhile, Digger and Frost were dealing with package issues, as in new hiking shoes that were sent to Stehekin had not yet arrived. They were on the one pay phone in the town, trying to get to the bottom of the problem. They were hoping to get the last shuttle out, but were more likely going to camp in the free campground and head out in the morning or early afternoon.
After one last trip to the bakery, I was able to hit the trail and hike 6 miles out to an established campground with bear lockers, privies, and lots of campsites. Short but successful trip to Stehekin!
I really think I need to go back there again in the future.