Archive for the ‘Misc Updates’ Category

Sept 21 The adventure continues–on to Seattle!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010




Last night before we went to sleep, we carefully set the hotel’s digital alarm clock to go off at 5:45 am.  Our plan was to load up, grab some of the free coffee downstairs (which was supposed to be available at 6 am), then head for the  6:35 bus.   When the alarm went off,  we groggily got up, wondering why we were so tired.  Dressed warmly and carrying our packs, we headed downstairs, only to find that the hotel lounge was closed, there was no coffee, and it was VERY dark outside.  Bummer!   Then I had an idea–I looked at my wristwatch and said, “Oh joy–it’s only 3:30 am!  The room clock was wrong!  No wonder we feel so tired!”

So back to bed we went!   Oh man, did it feel good!   I personally really do feel completely exhausted.  I guess on the trail I was running on “gotta finish!” power.   We got up AGAIN at 6:00,  got the coffee (nice and hot!) and headed out into a slightly cloudy early morning.  It took only a couple of minutes to reach the bus stop, and we  expected the bus to arrive soon.  It didn’t.  No bus, no bus, no bus.  I looked again at the bus schedule–oh bother!  We thought the bus left at 6:35, but last night we misread the sign.  It actually left at 6:25!   So we now had to wait an hour for the next one.  Brrrr!  It was cold.  I started thinking about breakfast….hmmm–there was a grocery store just down the street–maybe they would open soon and I could get something.

I studied the Cascade Mountains to the east, and they were totally shrouded in dark clouds.  It was obvious that during the night it had rained heavily in Sumas, and since it was very cold, I figured  “It must have snowed up there.”  Turned out later that I was right–we heard from other hikers later that it did indeed snow!  Wow, I’m glad we finished when we did!  And I was very glad to see the SUNrise in Sumas–I had not been looking forward to going from bus to bus in the rain!

Just then, along came Patrick, an Irish “gentleman of the road.”  We chatted with him for awhile, then I saw the grocery store was open and went over to get us some breakfast.  I figured Patrick might like some, too, and yes indeed–he was very happy to get the big cinnamon roll I brought him.  He insisted on giving us a tomato in return (he’d fished it out of the dumpster in the back of the store).  In view of the fact that he was living on the streets, we suggested he might want to go to the local rescue mission where  there are food, a bed, showers, and help getting a job.   Patrick bristled at the idea–his position was “Rescue mission? No way!”  We urged him to reconsider.  Bill and I have personally helped work with people at rescue missions, and we have seen firsthand the awesome wonder of seeing God transform someone’s life, even when the person seemed too far gone for any help at all. 

Patrick didn’t like this talk about God and missions, so he left, and it wasn’t long till the bus to Bellingham came, with a very friendly, helpful driver and passengers.  As the bus followed its winding rural route through farms and dairies, the folks aboard were giving us advice about getting to Seattle via local buses.  It was a beautiful morning, with sun and clouds, and we enjoyed the ride (which only cost us “senior citizens” a dollar!).   Once we reached Bellingham, we didn’t even have to wait for our next bus–it was right there at the bus plaza, and we hopped aboard after paying another $1 each.  This second bus took us to Mt. Vernon, and from there we had only a short wait till a FREE “connector bus” to Stanwood.  Another 10 minute wait, and we boarded the bus to Smoky Point (which cost us a total of $2.50).  Smoky Point bus stop is by a shopping center, and it was lunchtime, so we found a pizza place and had a good meal. 

After lunch, we went back to the bus stop, and for another total fare of $2.50, we rode another bus to Everett.  Just a 10 minute wait there, and we hopped our final bus of the day which took us to Seattle (the fare for that was $4.50).   If you wonder why I keep mentioning fares, it’s because we couldn’t believe how cheap it was!   The final total fare for our trip from Sumas WA to Seattle was $13.50.  And that’s for TWO of us!  Wow!  And it was kinda fun.  I was so tired that it was very nice to just sit on the bus and watch the scenery go by, and we were really grateful for the friendly, helpful bus drivers.  We never had to wonder, “Now what?”   The bus drivers always told us where to go–in fact one of them even walked us over to the free connector bus at Mt. Vernon.

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Seattle, but a glance to the west told us that the Cascades were still shrouded in dark clouds.  So if we were still on the PCT, we’d still be in the rain (and maybe snow).  It was great to feel the sunshine again!  Some of the bus drivers and passengers we talked to today were telling us that even though it was only September 21, Washington had already received a rainfall total that was equal to the ENTIRE winter’s worth of rain in  a normal year.  They were almost apologetic–several said, “Too bad you weren’t hiking in a normal autumn–you would have had nice weather.”  Well, we made it anyway, and as soon as we got off the last bus, we headed for the Amtrak station to pick up the train tickets Bill reserved online while we were at Snoqualmie Pass. 

Outside the station we met another PCT hiker who’d finished the day before we did.  He was waiting patiently for the next train to Chicago, then from there he’d head home to Minnesota.  After a short chat, we went inside, and while Bill got in the ticket line, I ended up talking to a group of senior citizens who were waiting for a train.  They were fascinated by what we’d just done, especially when they found out how old Bill and I are.  I encouraged them to consider hiking the PCT, too!  And I think that maybe a couple of them might be able to try.

Then Bill and I hiked up 1st Street.  What a change to be back in a city after months of mountains!  We were headed for the Green Tortoise hostel–we knew it was somewhere near the Pike Street Market–and after some hunting around, finally found it.  Yahoo–they had room for us AND tonight the hostel was providing dinner–tacos!   All the other people there were very, very young.  Besides Bill and I, there was only one other couple who were “grayheads.”  After taking a very welcome shower, I spent the time till dinner just lying down.  I still feel totally exhausted.  Bill went off to explore the Market down the street.  We both thoroughly enjoyed the taco dinner and it was fun to rub elbows with people from all over the world (though I’d say the Australians were in the majority). 

We went off to sleep in our very comfortable double bunk.  The hostel was full that night, so we had plenty of company!   We have to be up ‘n at em early tomorrow to catch the Amtrak train to Portland.