Swimming in the rain

I decided if I made it 30 miles yesterday that I’d allow myself a wee sleep in today. I didn’t set an alarm and after waking up every two hours from the cold throughout the night I finally checked my watch at 7:30am and decided I would have to brave the cold wet world outside at some point!

It was incredibly hard to put on wet shoes, rain pants and my rain jacket over my sleeping clothes. I squealed and cursed many times until finally I just jumped out of my tent, rolled up the wet filthy mess into a ball, shoved it into my sponge pack and started to walk. The trail that greeted me was basically a wet swampy mess. At first I tried avoiding the puddles, then realised it wasn’t worth the risk of twisting my ankle and walked straight through the middle instead.

I had two 1000 foot climbs before hitting Hwy 2 at Steven’s Pass. I cursed up the first one as my legs literally felt like lead, and because it was so steep I almost fell backwards a couple of times lacking any sort of momentum to push myself forward. At one point I reached a huge tree trunk blocking the trail. The trail around it went straight down and up, so I decided to mount the tree instead, using my hiking poles to peel myself off and over the other side. If I had a third arm I wish I could have filmed it!

At the top of the second 1000 foot climb I stopped to check if I had phone signal. I wasn’t sure where the person I was so excited to see (no prizes for guessing who) would be, and I was hoping to send him a message to say I was only about 3 miles from the highway. I guess my SPOT message from last night had already alerted him to my proximity.

I was on cloud nine the entire way down to the trail head where Wolfman was waiting for us in his truck. I was hyperactive the entire way to Skykomish but finally crashed after having breakfast and half a dozen cups of coffee. Wolfman offered to take us to REI tomorrow to get new gear for the remaining 200 miles and we quickly popped over to the PO to pick up my resupply. Thanks Steph and Janer for the Canadian chocolates! I’m now even more hungry to see the border in the next 10 days or so.

It’s a dream come true to complete this journey with the man I met on Day 6 down at Scissors Crossing in Southern California. We have shared such an epic adventure, both together and apart on the trail, that it felt somewhat hollow finishing the final leg alone. UB has invested so much in this trail, financially and emotionally like every other thru hiker, it killed me to think he wouldn’t experience the same feelings of pride and jubilation I felt when I realised just how far I’d come on this trail. I hope in these last 200 miles UB will realise that all his efforts were not in vain, that his journey has been as long in time and miles as any other thru hiker, and that this chapter of our journey will finally be complete when we both set eyes on the Northern Terminus together.





55 thoughts on “Swimming in the rain

  1. YO! Big hugs to you two! I had to giggle when I saw you were filling up at IHOP… AND good luck for the last 200. I will think about you every day, for sure (had a look yesterday on Halfmile maps to see what was left of MukMuk’s hike…). I am happy you’ll be together to go through Glacier Peak Wilderness. Have fun! πŸ˜€

  2. Everyone is so happy for you both to finish together! Applause and smiles are breaking out all over the world. The rain, oh my, can really do something to a hiker’s morale. But on the other hand make warm pancakes that much more enjoyable. Dry off, sleep in and take a few nice warm baths. Thanks for letting us share, though sometimes I do feel a littler stalkerish. Cheers sister. To Canada.

  3. How wonderful – from such cold to such warmth and joy. You two have delighted a big crowd today. The last 200 should be a power float but take care, it ain’t over ’till it’s over. :-)))

  4. Hi darling, you couldn’t have had a bigger surprise then seeing UB there suddenly. The suspense in UB’s video, at what point will you realize that he was there . It was great to see you two together. Get spoiled with some warm baths, clean and dry clothes and some lovely food. Enjoy the beautiful wilderness and each other. Stay healthy and be safe until you step together over that finishing line. Love Mutti xxoo

  5. Miss you, love you and can’t wait to see your beautiful face. Be safe on your last leg and so so proud of you. You are a true inspiration. Tons of love. Xo

  6. This movie is really turning out well. If only the trail wetness could be solved. Have you tried using the umbrella or is the wet coming from the inside? Hope you can enjoy the last miles. Here’s wishing you some sunshine and great views.

  7. Having lots of hot drinks can help warm you up. Hot chocolate is a morale lifter for me when hiking in the rain. I hope you get some good quality rain gear and a better tent for your last 200 miles. I have a tarp tent but I’m not so sure they they are a good idea in Washington in October.

    I find the forest to be quite peaceful when it is raining. It is very soothing to hike for miles and miles alone in the rain. at leat for me anyway. And just look at how the moss swells up and turns green in the rain.

  8. It was SO GREAT to meet both of you and to be your taxi service for the two days! And Dang straight I was waiting in my truck! It was cold and wet, us Washingtonians know better then to go hiking in that poop! πŸ˜€

    Be Safe, Have FUN! And Keep Hiking!

  9. Ubmuk,

    Wonderful to see you two reunited. Your faces truly show your joy!! Your combined stories have been so endearing to follow. I think I can speak for most of those following you and say that we are very privileged and lucky that you both have shared your respective lives with us for the last 5 months.

    Such a delightful adventure.

    Keep on hiking!!

  10. Wow, Wolfman’s shot of you coming out of the forest was soooo cool. The different perspective and your surprise and joy was wonderful to witness.

    So sorry about the rain, but I have to tell you, Rozanne, I did offer you a “re-do” California to learn the surfer vernacular you missed. It’s dry down here in So Cal. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ That rain is why Washington is so beautiful and they have so many of those tall, green things that we don’t have. I think they call them trees.

    Keep at it, my dear. The Trail has its final lessons and memories still waiting for you. My friend Denny finishes tomorrow, I think. I wish I could be up there to greet him. You will at the border soon, too.

  11. Glad to see you met my buddy Wolfman! He’s the best. We did the WCT together last year. I hope UB is taking care of himself. You two hang in there! I had to abandon my Wonderland Trail attempt this week due to the insane weather and was thinking of the PCT thru-hikers who don’t get to have that opportunity. You’re almost there!!!!

  12. I’m assuming no one has heard from UB or MukMuk… They left Skykomish Wednesday the 25th together, according to Henry @ Cascadia Inn, and they were heading for Stehekin before the storm hit. MukMuks last spot record was the 25th… Andrea at hiker Heaven said SPOTs don’t appear to be working per conversation today, Saturday.
    If anyone hears from either of them please have them call…thanks…
    Sherrie (UBs mom)
    925-286-0232 (California)

    • I can only imagine how worried you must be. We are all holding our breath. Is there anyone to check with in Stehekin to verify no arrival? I know a group who arrived yesterday who said it took many more days than anticipated due to weather to cross this section.

      • When did the group you referenced leave Skyhomish and head for Stehekin?

        I dont know of anyone to verify UB and Muks arrival in Stehekin however I also heard from Andrea its that very, very slow going…many turned back and headed to Dinsmore but UB & MukMuk weren’t among them.

        So if anyone met UB or MukMuk along this stretch of trail or know of their whereabouts and/or their arrival into Stehekin please let us know… I would be greΓ‘tly appreciated it, especially since MukMuks SPOT doesn’t appear to be working.

        Also, there are quite a few other hikers still unaccounted for as well, so please say a prayer for them all. Hopefully they have found each other, are all safe and arè in a larger group together.

      • They left Sunday or Monday and arrived Friday and wished they had enough food for another day on trail. They had to really push to make it in 5 days. They didn’t see Muk Muk or UB, but were ahead so no surprise. They haven’t heard anything either.

      • Just posted by Matthew Middleton “Filthy and I ran into Muk Muk and UB yesterday morning, about a mile south of Baekos Creek (about 40 miles out of Stevens). We’d decided to turn back due to snow we were hitting further up; at that time they were continuing on north.”

      • I believe this section is about 100 miles, so if they were only 40 miles yesterday morning, it could be a while before we hear from them. The gang I know said the rain and snow really slowed them down.

    • It looks like MukMuk will pick up a package at the Stehekin post office according to her itinerary. There is a phone (satellite?) at the post office. I called to verify that another hiker picked up her package after the big storm in August. If you call the Leavenworth post office they may give you the number (I don’t have it anymore).

  13. I don’t know if this will help, but I did a little research.

    Stevens Pass is at mile 2,474
    Baekos Creek is at mile 2,519…45 miles north up the trail
    Stehiken campground is at mile 2,574…55 more miles up the trail

    As japperjan relayed from Filthy, Rozanne and UB were at Baekos Creek on Friday. It’s now Sunday evening.

    I looked at a snow depth map, and as of today (Sunday), there is no snow cover at Baekos Creek, because it’s in a valley. However, the PCT does cross little passes south and north, and the snow depth map does show a few inches of snow cover on those little passes–around 2-4 inches. If they decided to go north, then they would have had to go over Fire Creek Pass at mile 2530.5, 11.5 miles from Baekos Creek. On the other side, it looks like little or no snow for the next 43 miles to Stehiken campground, where they would take the shuttle to town. –At least, that’s what I can tell from my computer in California.

    Now, I’m really speculating here, but it might be useful to lay out a timeline. If they went over Fire Creek Pass on Friday–after all they were at Baekos Creek in the morning with only 11.5 miles to the pass–maybe they camped Friday night just over the pass at mile 2534. Then maybe on Saturday they hiked 25 miles to 2559. That would give them 14 miles to do today, Sunday, to get to Stehiken camp. And they would need to get there before 6:15 pm to catch the last shuttle; otherwise, they have to catch the shuttle tomorrow (Monday) morning. When my friend stayed in Stehiken, he has zero reception (Verizon). More about reception at the end, so even in town communication is a problem. There’s no roads to Stehiken. You can only get there by trial, boat, and plane.

    If they decided to tackle Fire Pass on Saturday instead of Friday, this would push my whole timeline one day.

    I also echo what others have said. It is super remote. Except for his SPOT reports, I didn’t hear a peep from my friend during his last 11 days on the trail. No blogs, no texts, and phone calls went straight to voice mail. No even from the town of Stehiken and the lodge he stayed at.

    Only after completing the trail and getting to the Bellingham Airport did he get reception and made phone calls. During our conversation he told me that it is super remote the last 141 miles.

  14. OK lets all take it easy, when I talked to them on the 24th the plan was to leave on the 25th, not first thing but hopefully by noon. They were planning on 4 or 5 days to Stehekin. With the weather they would be closer to 5 or maybe 6 days. If they are on schedule then they should be arriving tomorrow, that is Monday the 30th. Search and Rescue would most likely not start a search until several days past due.

    There are still hikers coming into Stehekin, I was just reading a blog post that had about 10 arriving on Saturday, weather sucked but it was nothing that would stop a thru hiker. The post office is no open today so there would have been no way to check today. I will call them PO tomorrow and post here if she has picked up her package or not. There are a lot of other hikers on the trail in north Washington right now, so if something did happen to any hiker they would be able to get help.

    Stehekin has NO phone or sell phone service, except for the satellite phones, I don’t know all the places that have them, but there is a phone for public use that the park operates and the Park office it’s self has phone. I will try to leave messages at several location.

    PLEASE DON’T PANIC. No news is good news on the PCT in Washington. There is VERY limited cell reception on the PCT in northern Washington. I was / am not expecting a new post from Muk Muk until they reach Canada.

    Weather sucks tonight, high winds and rain. Monday is periods of rain with some breaks. Tuesday same as Monday, rain and breaks from the rain. By Wendesday it starts to clear up and the rest of the week looks good. If there is some snow, it will quickly melt as the lows are only in the high 40’s low 50’s.


    • Hi Wolfman…thanks for all of your help. It is refreshing to see that a community of people like the thru hikers and trail angels come together, encourage each other and are willing to give a helping hand when needed. So glad you were there to take UB and MUkMuk to REI before leaving Skyhomish! I know they appreciated it. Your insight is greatly appreciated !!! Thanks…sherrie

    • Just a reminder also, they still had about 60 miles to go when spotted Saturday morning. It had taken them Wednesday afternoon through Saturday morning to go about 40 miles.

  15. As of 3 PM, Monday September 30th.

    I have left messages with the Post office, Park Service, and the North Cascade Lodge in Stehekin. They have not checked in or picked up their mail yet. But, remember today would be there SCHEDULED arrival if they are not weather delayed. At all three location I left the message for UB to call his Mom, but that it was not an emergency, No reason to freak the guy out! πŸ˜€ (Hope that is OK Mom!) I also asked that they call me if they can.

    If I have not heard from them by Wednesday then I will contact the Park Service and see what options there are at that point. The weather is actually sunny right now, so I am sure the worst of the storm is over. There maybe some snow on high spots on the trail, but it looks like it is only a few inches at the higher elevations.

    I will update if I receive any information, remember no news is good news!


    I just check SPOT and it looks like they are at the High Bridge! There is several camp sites there and a ranger building, though I doubt there is anyone there this late in the season. Looks like they should be in to Stehekin tomorrow!

    I am sure they are both fine and enjoying a break in the weather! There at about 1700 feet so it should be warmer and dryer, or at least no snow!

    • Thanks again, Wolfman. That’s great to see her SPOT…finally.

      My friend, Denny, who just complete the trail last Friday, 9/27, did not get a blog post or phone call out for _11 days_, from Stevens Pass until Bellingham Airport–not even from the town of Stehiken, just as you have told people. Super remote up there. All we got from Denny from 9/16-9/27 was Denny’s SPOT reports. That was a long time without any blogs, but the SPOTs reassured everyone following Denny that we was humming along and doing well. His posts didn’t get uploaded from his iPhone until he got to Bellingham Airport. I think the same will happen with Rozanne for this last stretch.

      I guess the weather cover prevented Rozanne’s SPOT from getting through the last few days. It’s great to see it show up again.

  17. Thank god for SPOT! Cannot count the number of times I’ve checked my computer the past two days to see if there was an update. This was an epic storm in Washington…not just a rainstorm. No news is just no news……a lot of people have been so worried. When you read this Muk and UB, know the world has been praying to the gods to keep you safe. Looks like maybe it worked.

  18. Lieve Roosje,
    I didnot follow you for a (too)long time.I lost the blog, but your mam send me the good adres.
    If I am good informed, you are almost at the end of the trail. You did it girly! May bee you are still in Canada now. Sometimes I cannot read well your adventures. But they are exiting.
    I wish you have a good time for the last miles. Toi, toi and we here from you. Love Joky.

  19. Thanks for the update, Wolfman!! Have been very worried about Muk & UB and this massive storm in the PacWest. Glad to hear of the opinion voiced “this storm wouldn’t stop a thru hiker”…..just worried about Muk’s Visa deadline. There again, can’t enforce that Visa if she’s still out on the trail. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Judi. Weather permitting, I think Rozanne will be fine. It’s five days to the border from Stehekin, which would allow her and UB to take a day off and dry out and still have margin to complete.

      My friend Denny, who finished last Friday, also reported to me that many others who also finished that say day, didn’t have permission slips to enter Canada, so their plan was to turn around and hike 30 miles (1+ days) back, presumably to a road where they could hitch a ride back to civilization.

      But Rozanne should need to do this. I think she has time.

      • Roz was hoping to finish her trip with visiting my schools as I’ve used her blogs as character lessons to set goals, persevere and trust in yourself to accomplish more than you think you can. With her VISA deadline and these last treacherous days on the trail, I want more for her safety, as much as I’d love to meet her and UB should time allow for them to visit me in Southern California. My students ask about their progress often, and today I was happy to report that she finally checked in last night. Muk and UB have more followers than they’ll ever know about!! Wish they could have pampered themselves in the Bakery!

  20. So, wonderful news that Rozanne and UB made it to Stehekin yesterday. I imagine they’ll take a well deserved zero day, dry out, and enjoy the famous Stehekin Bakery’s carmel rolls and cinnamon rolls. Then tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, I think it’s just five days to the border. And the PCT saves some of its best for last. As my friend Denny wrote after leaving Stehekin, “The jagged mountain tops in the distance had a dusting of new bright white snow and the clouds filtered the sun light so that the greens and browns of the closer mountains had several shades of colors. This section, Rainy Pass and north is becoming one of my favorite sections on the PCT.” You won’t get this, Rozanne, until you finish with the hike, but I’ll still tell you to enjoy this last stretch. Your last days on the PCT.

    • A word on the Bakery. The bakery is closed until Thursday, then only open to Sunday and will be shutting down for the season. I guess it never accrued to me that they were so close to the end of the season. REALLY SUCKS that they will miss the Bakery.

      Weather is looking good for the rest of the week and beyond, it’s a good 5 days to Manning Park, but I think they will take the challenge. I also think they will be safe and smart for the last section.

      • What?!? The bakery is closed? That’s it. The whole 5-month trip is ruined! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

        That’s great news about the weather. Rozanne has been hiking more miles per day than my friend Denny, so I hope the five days will be doable for her. Denny commented about annoying trail washouts on the last day’s hike, which I speculate might be worse after all the rains, but I agree with you, Wolfman. They will be safe and smart.

  21. Please reconsider plan to go North today (10/2). Toots, Tears, Cuddles, Fun Size, Atlas, Delightful, and Lighthouse, Midnight Rider and her horse, Valantino, turned back just north of Rainy Pass on Tues (10/1) due to knee deep snow. Stay safe.

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