Today was a day of many firsts. First resupply, first trail magic, first hitch, first rattlesnake etc.
We woke up knowing we’d have to wait for the post office to open to claim our resupply boxes so we layed about for a bit before packing up. The tents were sopped.
We tried the phone # on the board at the library again, but no good, got a message again. I imagine it’s ringing inside the empty building as we stand outside.
After 8 we finally walked over and got our boxes.
So much food! I still have all my dinners from the last week! Oh well, it’s a heavy pack, and that’s part of the process… figuring out what you will/won’t eat.
As we were dawdling (charging phones outside P.O.) some guy asked where we were heading. We told him we were hiking the trail and he busted out four Powerade and insisted we take them. First trail magic! Not wanting to carry the extra weight we made short work of them.
Soon we were ready to be off but needing water. Tater, the dog that lives across the street from the Post Office, had been around a bit so Sandy asked Tater’s Dad if we could fill from their hose. Sure! By all means! Very cool.
The trail out of Malden was interesting, showcasing an old dump. After that, the trail up to Pine City was very pretty with the trees, clouds, and cooler weather. There were many apple trees along the trail in this section. They’re all along the trail, supposedly from apple cores thrown from the train in years past.
After Pine City we were much more exposed. We had to walk through a cattle operation… ugh. I really don’t like cows. And Sandy, having been raised with them finds this funny. I knew Eastern Washington was cattle country, I just didn’t realize it was open rangeland, that there’d be cows on the trail and that a cow may or may not walk right up to you.
Due to issues around Rock Lake, including a one mile section of private land to which the landowner restricts all access, we decided to detour around Rock Lake. This is a shame since I know from being an Eastern Washington resident who has fished Rock Lake in the past, including seeing the trail and trestles from lake level, that this section of trail would be the crown jewel of the eastern bit of the trail.
There’s a lot of hearsay involved in this section… such as the State Parks placing the rocks themselves to keep four wheelers out and the section still gets plenty of use etc. But we’re not out here to upset anybody, especially the landowner. We just want to hike, and while it’s a bummer, we opted to detour. We can always come back and bike the section if we need to make it a true thru.
Soon after we started our detour. It was hilly and we weren’t looking forward to trying to stealth camp out in the open so, spur of the moment, we decided to hitch. The second truck coming by stopped and a gentleman named Steve generously took us all the way into Ewan. In fact, he took us to his mother in law’s house that backed up on the trail! He made sure we had plenty of water before heading off.
So there we were in Ewan two days early! Amazing.
We continued down the trail, hot now with broken clouds, off into the sage. Not long after we met our first on trail rattlesnake. Boy howdy, I jumped! But he gave us good warning and was easy to avoid. There is a closure here on the trail as well. The one mile section directly west of Ewan does NOT allow through access. However, Sandy was able to contact the Dickerson’s and get permission to walk the section.
After a while we crossed Rock Creek over a beautiful trestle. At this point you can spot a waterfall upstream. Soon after that we found an excellent spot to camp, overlooking the creek bottom/meadow with a backdrop of basalt flows and ponderosa pines, it’s beautiful.