We woke up this morning with 16 downhill miles left to Stehekin, our last resupply stop. The sky was clear and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. After about 10 minutes of hiking, I saw bear number four. Janel didn’t see this one because I was in the lead and he ran away as soon as he saw me. Shortly before we arrived at the ranger station where we would be picked up by the shuttle bus, we entered into North Cascades National Park. As we crossed the bridge over the Stehekin River to get to the bus stop, we met Bill, Gary, and Shari who were waiting to pick up Bill’s wife, Deb, who was out hiking. They offered us a ride to the bakery so that we could get lunch, and we gladly accepted. The guidebook says this is the best bakery on the trail and we undoubtably agree. The sticky buns were some of the best few thousand calories we ate on the entire trail. While we were in the bakery, Bill came in and offered us a room at their cabin for the night. I was stunned at first, but we gladly took them up on that offer too. We needed to get some stuff done in town, so Bill and Gary drove us in. We got our resupply boxes, bought some more food, did laundry, and ate at the restaurant. By the time we got back to the cabin, it was dark. Deb had made it back and we all stayed up for a bit and talked. After the tough stretch from Skykomish, it was great to be in such a great place with such wonderfully kind people. Thank you so much, Bill, Deb, Gary, and Shari.
The (totally reformed) Optimist

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