Safely in Stehekin

Firstly, I just skimmed through some of the comments that have been coming through the last couple of days regarding my and UB’s whereabouts on trail. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers; they may well have delivered us to Stehekin safely today.

There is obviously a lot to update you on, but for now I just wanted to let you all know that we made it here safely today on the 3pm bus from the ranger station at High Bridge.

The last 12 hours have been an ordeal to say the least. We woke this morning at 4:30am, packed up our wet sleeping bags, clothes and tents, and knew we were at the point of no return. We had to make it 22.5 miles to High Bridge over a 6000 foot pass. It had poured with rain all night so we knew what that meant 1000 feet above where we slept at Miner’s Creek… SNOW, and lots of it.

Many hikers had already turned back during this section, and we knew once we passed Fire Creek Pass we had no choice but to continue forward. The last few days proved what an incredible team UB and I are. We planned strategically to spread out our days to sleep low, conserve our food and dry clothes, and to get close enough last night to make one final push out of there. Yesterday we had to wear sopping wet clothes for 14 miles at low elevation to ensure we could survive one more night and the final climb over 6000 feet.

We don’t know of anyone who has made it through behind us and we’re very worried for a brother and sister hiking pair who passed us but are currently unaccounted for. I’m still shaking as I sit here writing this, knowing just how bitterly cold it was out there in the mountains when all our clothes were wet. I think I was close to hypothermic two days ago; today I was worried about UB when his hands were so cold I had to feed him lunch during one of our three 5 minute breaks for the entire day. We made it to High Bridge on a packet of jelly beans, a protein bar, snickers bar, cliff bar and one peanut butter and jelly tortilla.

There is one computer in Stehekin and no wifi so I will fill in the blanks of the last section in due course. For now I simply wanted to let you know we’re safe and well. We will spend tonight and tomorrow regrouping mentally and physically, assess the weather and our gear, and make an educated decision regarding the final section of the hike. Some hikers are pushing on, many are calling it quits. UB and I will make our decision based on the weather forecast, our gear and our skill level. I’m beginning to realise just how close we balanced on the fine line between life and death during this last section; and I don’t want to put UB and I at risk to cross the finish line.

Tomorrow we will know more. Keep an eye on SPOT on my ‘Where am I’ page, as I’m not sure I’ll have a chance to use this computer again while I’m here.

Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers… let’s hope for some clear days ahead.

Muk

217 thoughts on “Safely in Stehekin

  1. Wow! Muk Muk just posted another couple of SPOTs. Thank you, Muk Muk!

    As of 10:23 am, she is up and over Woody Pass, 6,646 ft. Great work and great news.

    Next up–the high point today: the summit on Lakeview Ridge, 7,095 ft.

  2. I can only guess that Muk Muk is sending out pairs of SPOT transmissions to communicate with her family and friends, and maybe even some of this motley crew of humble followers, that she is okay. Good thinking, Muk Muk. I am so happy for your progress today. Good luck with your next summit.

    • Susan, above you wrote, “Hopefully she will hit her SPOT at Woody Pass.” You called it! 🙂 She basically did that…twice. Now I’d love to see one on the other side of the summit, coming down and around near Hopkins Lake. Come on, Muk Muk, give us another SPOT! 🙂

  3. Yes!! On her way down to Hopkins — that is excellent! She shouldn’t have anything crazy to tackle to the border now. Way to go, Muk Muk! She is sailing through the remaining miles.

    • I don’t know the area either, but you’re right. The elevation profile is basically all down hill…except for an uphill to Manning Park.

      However, my friend Denny, who finished the trail on the 27th (just before the storms; he was lucky) showed me videos of the wash-outs. Others have talked about them in the comments here, too. There are still hazards but at least she’s going down-hill now, to lower elevations and less snow. We can all exhale a sigh of relief for that.

      As they say, it’s not over until the fat lady sings…or in this case, until the thin Aussie sings.

      • Sorry for the thread drift, but where are the washouts? Just curious. I know about the ones between Rock and Woody passes, but wasn’t aware of others.

      • You’re right, Andrea. I just talked to Denny on the phone and he confirms what you said. He remembers that the wash outs are between Rock and Woody passes. My bad. Thanks for the correction. I’m happy to hear that she’s past them!

      • No worries! I was on that section of trail last year and have been picturing it as we follow along…was trying to picture where washouts may have occurred. 🙂

  4. Arg. Susan’s posting of mile numbers made me realize that I was using old Halfmile numbers. Also, the elevation map I posted a link to at bearcant.org is also using old Halfmile numbers. Susan’s mile numbers are right. The old numbers are short by 5 miles. The latest numbers have the moment at 2660. Sorry for any confusion from my out-of-date numbers. Thanks, Susan, for posting up-to-date numbers.

    I think this won’t matter in a few hours or so. I’m predicting that Muk Muk will be _at_ the moment!

  5. Not sure if anyone has posted this yet — but a BEAUTIFUL, RADIANT photo of Muk Muk has been posted on the PCT Class of 2013 Facebook Group by Ravensong, noting that it was taken yesterday at Devil’s Backbone. I won’t post the link in case it holds up this commment for moderation, but it’s easy to find.

  6. Following your progress from Yellowknife Canada for months now and hoping for a positive end. You are doing great!
    Its great to get feedback too on her spot updates.

  7. I do know the area. And I am happy to say that from where she is now according to the last SPOT message, it is easy sailing to the border. She should be there within 2-3 hours.

  8. It’s been two hours or so from her last Spot, I think it’s about time for a new spot and to break out the celebration!! Muk is one tough ass, kick butt, take no names, PCT Thru Hiker!!

    I am so glad / proud / revealed that she was able to finish and all went well, or most went well. 😀

  9. Okay, so I am sitting here and cheering for you, Muk Muk! For the last few days, I have checked your blog, the comments and your SPOT so many times, waiting for news, cheering you on, sending you positive thoughts and energy, hoping that you might be able to continue (without putting yourself in danger, of course!) … and I so love that you persevered, I love that you hiked on despite all the obstacles, I am so happy and giddy for you and hope that you can get the end for your journey that you want to.
    I have loved to follow your amazing hike, and I look forward to seeing the next update, the story of the past days (only if you want to share it) and, of course, the finishing picture!
    Go, Muk Muk!!!

    • Beautiful photo. Can you tell me where and who took it and when. Dad is more proud !! Still not sure if she’s made it. Some seem to think so but no Spot confirmation.

      • On the previous page of comments, Jamie wrote at 7:11 pm, “a BEAUTIFUL, RADIANT photo of Muk Muk has been posted on the PCT Class of 2013 Facebook Group by Ravensong, noting that it was taken yesterday at Devil’s Backbone.” Note the “yesterday”. No worries, though. She’s up and over the worst of today, and everyone’s excited about her last downhill to the Canadian border. In fact, we’re expecting her “victory” SPOT soon. Go Muk Muk!

      • Dad should be SO PROUD! In case you missed my most recent comment, the photo was posted on Facebok by Ravensong, which is very special, because Ravensong (Carolyn Burkhart) was the first woman to solo-hike the PCT, which she did in 1976 at the age of 20. I love the thought of Muk Muk getting trail magic from Ravensong yesterday — so cool!

      • So Jamie, maybe this is a dumb question, but is Ravensong on the trail in this snow, with Muk Muk? Or am I jumping to conclusions? (Sorry, I’m drifting a bit, here, but it’s really cool if she’s there with Muk Muk.)

      • To try to answer the questions from kens5366 – The circumstances of the photo, which Ravensong posted on the PCT Class of 2013 Facebook group about 8 hours ago, are a little unclear to me. Below is the full text of what she posted along with the photo. I am hoping that when she has a chance, Muk Muk will give us the details of their encounter.

        Ravensong wrote:
        “Muk Muk yesterday at Devil’s Backbone. On to the border today. The weather has changed to possible snow and temps in the upper 20’s. yesterday I was hot and sweaty and the snow was melting on south and west. I discovered as I’d heard that the yurt is locked and not open to PCTers, but there is an old log cabin next to it with a wood stove table and platform for sleeping! Please close the door after yourselves so snow doesn’t blow in and stack extra wood nearby for the next hikers. Happy trails!
        PCTers are always welcome at Ravensong’s Roost here in Mazama. I now trail angelling with Walking Home. We have 4 PCTers here today and expect 3 more. It really helps to team up and go with others on this last bit of your journey in October.”

  10. It has been a very worrying night in Sydney. Mutti and I have not been as concerned as this at any other stage. This was really life-threatening and I was wondering if she was being brave rather than smart. Fortunately the mountain lion incident was already history when we found out, but this was all in real time. Could not get the mental images of Muk driving through the snow and freezing weather, pushing herself to the limit to make it THRU. She was probably singing, laughing and crying at the same time. It seems that she is either there or close so we’re feeling much better now and a HUGE thank you to all you wonderful people who have been commenting and plotting the progress these last couple of critical days. The concern and support from Muk’s following community has been wonderful and a huge factor in her achieving her goal. Can’t say how much I appreciate it all.

  11. I’ve been keeping track if your spot location throughout the day!!!
    Go Muk Muk!! Will miss your blog but I’ll be in your place this time next year!! So proud of your accomplishment and dedication!

  12. Seriously?!? 162 comments?!? You have a lot of comments to catch up on, Muk, Muk! Congratulations on a simply AMAZING adventure! Looking forward to the videos, both the good and the bad times.

  13. Sending huge cheers from Tennessee…have been following your journey since I found your via Leaky & Moonshine in June. Have been rooting for you all this time – one step at a time – but have not ever commented before now – this comment may be buried in the myriad others — evidence that you are finishing this hike far from alone! But, first and foremost, you set out to do this for yourself, and you are finishing this for yourself and yourself only (the rest of us just like to think we have a stake!).

    One of my favourite sayings is from Lao Tszu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You may be finishing one journey, but as you take those final steps, you are also taking the first single steps into your next “thousand miles”…

    Once you have worked through the emotions of the past days, weeks and months (which will doubtless take some time), and once you have transitioned into your next chapter, I believe that while you will no longer be on the trail, the trail will always be with you – and with that in mind, I wish for you that you will always carry inside the wisdom, strength, courage, peace, grace and perspective that you must surely have gained along the way.

    Wishing you a glorious finish and a smooth transition into your next chapter…I’m sure I speak for many who have followed along when I say that I look forward to seeing what that next chapter might be, as it will surely be good indeed.

  14. I’m looking forward to that SPOT check in from the border! Have the tab to your blog open here at work…a ray of sunshine on another dark, depressing day in my life. You are very inspiring, and I am so happy that you persevered to accomplish your goal. Go Muk Muk!

  15. Hello Muk!
    Wow!!!! Talk about creating a following. The excitement and interest you have created on this journey is nothing short of amazing. The ancipation I am feeling right now is like none other I’ve felt. Your on-line and on-trail family has really pulled together in support of you and can’t wait to see you complete this journey. Your story has been one of the best “Life’s triumphs” I have ever read or seen. THANK YOU, for creating for all of us such a wonderul experience!! You’re absolutely awesome. I’m seeing a book deal in the future for you. 🙂

    • Hello MukMuk
      I am responding here for the first time. Have been following you since you met that other Australian woman who postet a video of you on facebook. I would definitely be one to buy your book – if that deal will be done :-). Your blog is better then ‘Wild’ by Strayed. You are amazing. Lots of adoration and respect from Switzerland.

  16. Dear Mukmuk, I’ve been following your journey and especially the last few days! Praying that you make it safely to Canada. You are amazing!!!

  17. I’m thinking you are in Canada now?!! I’m hoping you will be spending tonight in Canada in a nice, comfortable, dry, and warm bed! I can’t wait to find out for sure, BIG congratulations are in order!!! 🙂

  18. Muk Muk, we realize you will not get this for awhile, but we wanted you to know we have been following your journey since August (reading sections of your blog every night for a great adventure), and we are in awe. We’ve kept silent but can’t any longer. You are an inspiration to us and to many others (Cindy’s coworkers now know what the PCT is and are following Muk Muk’s progress). We have been on an emotional roller coaster with your Washington travels and am in awe at your drive and motivation. Thank you for being who you are, for sharing the good with the bad, and for loving life like you do. We have moved the PCT to the front of our bucket list . . . because of you. Many blessings as you finish your journey and start to decompress from it all. Can’t wait for the videos and pics! All our best, ~Cindy and Bill

  19. Any Spots? I’m in SoCal, and the time here is 6:40pm, but the time on the last post says 8:44pm, so I’m confused! Fingers and toes crossed MukMuk – what an awesome hiker you are!

  20. Sending huge cheers from Tennessee…have been following your journey since I found your via Leaky & Moonshine in June. Have been rooting for you all this time – one step at a time – but have not ever commented before now – this comment may be buried in the myriad others — evidence that you are finishing this hike far from alone! But, first and foremost, you set out to do this for yourself, and you are finishing this for yourself and yourself only (the rest of us just like to think we have a stake!).

    One of my favourite sayings is from Lao Tszu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You may be finishing one journey, but as you take those final steps, you are also taking the first single steps into your next “thousand miles”…

    Once you have worked through the emotions of the past days, weeks and months (which will doubtless take some time), and once you have transitioned into your next chapter, I believe that while you will no longer be on the trail, the trail will always be with you – and with that in mind, I wish for you that you will always carry inside the wisdom, strength, courage, peace, grace and perspective that you must surely have gained along the way.

    Wishing you a glorious finish and a smooth transition into your next chapter…I’m sure I speak for many who have followed along when I say that I look forward to seeing what that next chapter might be, as it will surely be good indeed.

  21. Where is that fat lady and why can’t I hear her singing? Hello Skinny Muk Muk we are waiting to hear from you, can hardly wait to see your picture and post!

  22. Muk Muk, we haven’t received confirmation yet (checking every few minutes), but I’m assuming that you’ve made it to Canada! Others have expressed the love and admiration that I feel for you more eloquently than I could. I will simply say “BRAVO!!!!”. You have been my introduction to blog following and I’m now hooked. Can’t wait to see your posts from the “out of touch” days that kept us all on the edge of our seats. Please let us know of any speaking engagements that are scheduled. I wii be visiting Sydney from California in March and would make an effort to attend. For now, rest, sleep, eat, shower and have fun!

  23. Babygirl! Checking every coupla hours from dodgy internet connection in India. It looks like you’ve MADE IT but holding off popping the champagne cork until you confirm. Sending you love and light and warmth. So proud. C’arn girl… Xxxxxxxx

  24. I guess we’re not going to hear from Muk Muk tonight, and as I see it, there can only be four reasons for this:

    (1) She was playing around too much in the winter wonderland making snow angels.
    (2) A bear ate her SPOT.
    (3) She made it to Manning Park and has been working on her blog entries for the last several hours. Hey, she knows her fans are expecting her most exciting blogs of the entire trip, and maybe, of the world.
    (4) She made it to Manning Park and is collapsed in her room, not because of a long day of hiking, but because she got overwhelmed by all these darn comments.

    Until tomorrow…. (But I’ll still keep checking; I just can’t help it 🙂 )

    • How about she’s drinking? I’ll drink to that! I’m thinking we should all get together and have a party right about now, where’s it going to be?

      • Not until the fat lady sings. 🙂

        Something similar happened with my friend, Denny, a week and a half ago. Except for a handful of SPOTs, we got no journal entries and no phone calls from him for the last 11 days…not until he was at Bellingham Airport, _two days_ after he finished. It was agonizing waiting to hear from him. As it turns out, he was afraid to turn on his phone in Canada for fear of getting charged roaming fees. So he waited, and we agonized…a little.

      • Your all welcome to come by my place, but considering I have to get up at 4:00 I don’t think the party will last very long! 😀

        As for Mukky, I am not worried, the Mountain lions know to leave her alone and she is to fast for the Bears! 😀 All joking aside, I am she she has either made camp of for the night or is at the lodge, having a blast. Either way I have come to not rely on SPOT signals very much, or the ones that are using them 🙂 Some times life takes priority over pushing a button every few hours. And then if you do push it you never know if it even worked. I think that was the reason for some of the double readings, she was just trying to make sure we got them.

        I look forward to her updates and hope to see her again. She is really a GREAT person. Muk Muk’s Mom and Dad, you did a GREAT JOB on that Firecracker!! Well Done!!

        Wolfman

  25. Isn’t that just like life, full of desire, then managing just enough patience, to just sit with the not knowing.
    I’m still celebrating!
    Wi-fi calls = no roaming fees, I learned that, after the fact.
    Hey Denny! I’m celebrating for you too!
    What a journey!

  26. 180+ comments – insane! Well it is agony here in Sydney waiting for our little Muk Muk to check in. Today has been a rollercoaster for all followers I’m sure – worry, relief and expectation and then back to concern in the not knowing. I’ll just trust in Wolfman and his judgement and feel calmer. Reuters news is reporting rescues and a solo missing hiker but back south I think. Looks like the trail is closing fast if more weather comes in. I’ve checked the local weather near the border and it seems relatively benign. No anticipated WhatsApp or SMS today so it must be a coverage issue – hopefully. She’d be well asleep now (seems like 22:40 there).

  27. Knowing Muk Muk’s drive and determination, I’m starting to wonder if she isn’t back down toward Mile 2640 heading southbound on a Yo Yo ? Mexico to Canada and Back Again 2013! Sharing her adventure on this blog has been such fun, its hard to think we won’t be receiving our near-daily trail reports from her. Muk Muk, thanks for sharing your trials & tribulations over the past 5 months. You rock, er, I mean You Hike!

  28. Dear folks – she’s made it !!!!! We just got a short WhatsApp with little detail other than it’s been a crazy day and a photo which appears to be at the PCT end. So relieved, so proud and happy – just like her big following family I’m sure. Told her of the mountain of comments in the blog. Hard to say what time she sent the message to us as it would be quite late at night there now. Subsequent blogs should be interesting. Standing by !!!

  29. Can’t believe followers are still awake in NAmerica. Blown away from today and just got message from Muk Muk at her 3.35 AM time that she’s been without sleep for for nearly 24 hours, but these last few hours have been with dear friends from Vancouver, one, Sarah, was a prior PCT hiker who inspired Muk to do this. They met when Muk was in Canada to manage the Winter Olympic Torch Run across Canada in itself an incredible experience she did perfectly. Sarah and other friends sprayed Muk with Champagne at the finish. How wonderful life can be, even if we enjoy and feel it vicariously through others – but only if it is real, not programmed by television producers, eh?

    • Thanks for the update via Sidney! That is so funny but so Muk Muk! I hope she videoed the monument I want to see that Champagne at the end! I would give her a day or two to post I am sure life is a little crazy for her right now, plus the lack of sleep. 🙂 That is one hard core woman!

      Keep Hiking Muk Muk!

    • Ooooooh, so it wasn’t the bear that got her SPOT. The spray of Champagne by Sarah and her other friends put it out of commission! 🙂 Son of a gun, Brooke was actually right. We didn’t hear from her because she was celebrating! 🙂

      Muk Muk, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

      See you at Wolfman’s for the after party! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      bk, thanks for letting everyone here in blog-land know that she made it A-OK. We appreciate it. I woke up this morning still anxious, but I am now overjoyed. So happy. So happy.

      Does anyone remember that the title of this post is “Safely in Stehekin?” 🙂

  30. Waking up to bk’ s news Muk has made it!! Can’t wait to share the news & Devils Backbone FB picture with 400 of my middle school students that she’s made it. The trail runs “through our backyard” in the Aqua Dulce, Ca. I’ve used her journey as a running life lesson for my students that setting and achieving our goals often involves life’s twist, turns, and unexpected challenges and setbacks, making it seem our goals may look unachievable, but as Muk has demonstrated, one foot in front of the other, through all she’s endured, never giving up, fueled by the support of those who care for us, we make it in life. Muk has touched the future generation with her journey. Heartfelt congratulations Muk!!! Hoping one day my students can meet you!!

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