Day 121 – a nero in paradise 

August 2, 2016

Mosquito creek (mile 2216.2) to Forest Road 23 (mile 2226.4)

Miles: 10.2

Our total miles: 1820.1

Andy woke up cold. He had used his sleeping bag as a quilt and the temperature dropped too much during the night for it to be comfortable. 

There was an upside though. Being cold helped us start moving earlier than the previous two mornings.

We hiked out of camp wearing our fleeces at 6:40 am, an entire 40 minutes later than our campmates Toaster and Smudge, but over 30 minutes sooner than our departures the last two days. 

We walked through the foggy, cold forest waiting for our hands to warm up. This looked and felt like the Washington we were expecting.

The trees moaned and squeaked in the wind as we walked by. At times we thought we heard children yelling or bears growling – but no – it was just the trees.

We got to Forest Road 23 just before 11 am. Toaster and Smudge were lying down on the side of the road. 

Andy greeted them with “Don’t take this the wrong way but we were hoping not to see you here.”

We all laughed.

They had been waiting for over 20 minutes and only 1 car had passed. 

So we joined them on the side of the highway.

Andy walked down the road and found service near a pullout. After 4 months on the trail we have learned to spot places with potential service.

He got hold of a local trail angel who said he’d be there in 20 minutes and for us “not to take another ride.”

There must have been times when he’s gotten calls only to drive out there to find no hikers. 

Thirty minutes after we placed the call Doug pulled up.

There were already two hikers in his van. Jackson and Dave had resorted to walking the 14 miles into town after waiting for awhile with no luck. Thankfully they didn’t have to walk too far.

We all piled in and headed down the twisty mountain road, trying to get glimses of Mt. Adams through the dark, stormy clouds.

Doug dropped us off at the General Store where Toaster and Smudge had reserved a room and where we had sent our resupply boxes.

We too inquired about a room but they had no availability. Having our hearts still set on staying at Trout Lake Abbey, Laurie called them once again. We finally got in touch with someone who told us to try calling again between 1 and 1:30 when someone would be in the office.

Ok. We can be patient. Well, Andy can. And Laurie can distract herself. We decided to distract ourselves with food. 

We have a tendency of waiting too long to eat in towns often becoming hangry. We decided to be proactive to break this habit so we walked over to the cafe after picking up our resupoly boxes.

As we walked towards the entrance we noticed a familiar face, Slingblade, sitting at one of the picnic tables finishing a BLT. After he told us about the scary river crossings we avoided north of Tuolumne Meadows and his hiking plans for the summer, we parted ways once again. 

Juat after ordering, Toaster and Smudge joined us. We all scarfed down burgers and fries. Laurie even got a gluten free bun!

As we ate a woman from the table next to ours came over, inquiring about our hike. She told us her daughter is hiking a section of the PCT and should arrive in Trout Lake the following week.

We told her we were thinking of going to the Abbey to see about a room and they offered to drive us there. Yay!

After treating us to a huckleberry milkshake, Toaster and Smudge returned to their room at the General Store and we drove 10 minutes south of town. We entered Trout Lake Abbey and were caught off guard by its beauty. 

Lush green grass, a labyrinth, a Buddhist temple, an organic farm, chickens, alpacas – this place was paradise!

Susan greeted us and informed us that they had hostel beds available. We went inside, looked at the empty room that can sleep 8 and chose to stay.

There are hostels and then there is this place.

“How come this place isn’t more popular?” We wondered. 

We were grateful to have this room all to ourselves. We spread out like we usually do when in town, but it was hard to get anything done. We kept getting distracted by the views. 

Eventually we came up with a game plan. Andy went to pay for our beds and to do laundry while Laurie backflushed our filters. 

Around 4pm Susan gave us a tour of the property. The details are what make this place unique.

The iron work, the labrynth, the clay building, the small bungalows, the alpaca, the sunflowers, the just-picked blueberries and tomatoes, and on and on. 

We really, really considered taking a zero. Our bodies weren’t tired or sore but it was so nice we didn’t want to leave. After looking at the weather and the area of Washington we are heading into we reconsidered. 

The Goat Rocks Wilderness and Knife’s Edge are about 50 miles from where we left the trail. We have a good weather window and wanted to make the most of it!

Kozen Sampson – monk and co-owner of the Abbey – arranged for an employee to take us back to the trail after breakfast. 

We can’t thank the staff here enough. They’ve treated us very well and welcomed us with warm hearts.

We enjoyed dinner in our room while watching the alpenglow on Mt Adams. 

Although it’s been a hectic day, we don’t feel as stressed as we typically do in town. Must be the setting! 

Tonight we are grateful for 23 acre farms that welcome hikers and cell service in the middle of nowhere. 

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