Approx. 15 miles on the Burpee Hill Road Alternate

While the main route of the PNT led into the mountains again I had decided early on to stay in the valley and hike the so called Cascade Rail Trail Alternate. About 22 miles of a nice and flat trail would lead me to Sedro-Woolley from where I would hitch back to the main route.

Initially I had planned to go with Sunshine and Cloudy to the post office and to the bakery for breakfast. But when it was time to go they still seemed to be sleeping and so I went one mile to town on my own. At the post office a bad surprise was waiting for me. My box was there and I could bounce it ahead but my maps were not. They had send it back to the return address because it was there longer than 15 days (??). The girl behind the counter apologized a few times but it didn’t make things better. I would have no paper maps for the next section.

Thankful I had chosen my return address wisely. It was The Saufley’s aka Hiker Heaven and so it was easy to contact Donna and ask her to forward my maps to Port Townsend.

After managing the first challenge of today I went to the bakery and had an awesome breakfast consisting of a chai latte and a huge chicken, bacon, tomato panini. Afterwards I went back to the motel to pack my stuff and check out. I didn’t see any trace of the other two hikers. Strange…

It was nearly noon when I started hiking on the Cascade Trail. The trail was nice and flat and “it closes at dusk” as a sign told me. I already worried about where to camp tonight. I wouldn’t make it all the way to Sedro-Woolley and apparently there was no good camping along the Cascade Trail. Maybe it was even all along private property.

As I was hiking another problem showed up and I quickly had to run into the bushes. Maybe the breakfast hadn’t been that awesome?! I stopped in the small town of Hamilton where I bought some Coke and some water to fill up my bottles. There wasn’t much water along the trail. I drank a huge amount of Coke and back on trail near the even smaller town of Lyman I had to run again. I was actually sitting right next to the trail as it was time critical. An older man with a couple of dogs stopped in the distance to give me some privacy. Then he came nearer and chatted with me while I was still busy with burying my business. What an awkward moment! I was a little bit disgusted by myself but couldn’t help it.

I hiked on hoping things were out and started looking for a spot to camp. The trail went close to the Skagit River and I found a nice place with a bench and a grassy spot a bit off the trail. I settled down for the night.

I definitely had a neighbor. Something was rattling around in the bushes. What was it? Sitting on the bench eating dinner I watched a small beaver swimming by in the river. Maybe my neighbor was a beaver? That would be cool!

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