Noelle here:

I’m at Stevens Pass. I got here on Monday. Was that Labor Day? I think so. The only people in the parking lot were hikers. It’s really pretty and quiet here.

Met a past thru hiker who was out trail angel-ing. She and her partner live in a van, so it was fun to get to see it and to show her ours. I can certainly see the appeal in vanlife as a longer term option. It keeps life very simple. No need for “things”. Only small amounts of food and clothing will fit. It’s definitely shown me that I could continue downsizing and be very content.

This whole summer has been an ongoing realization that I want to continue sharing adventures with Steve. I don’t really want to go back to earning money just to have more things. I’d rather keep playing with him and exploring the world.

It’s odd because I miss our family so much. Every single day. But I also just want to play with my good best friend.

It’s Sunday now. I was planning to leave here tomorrow but now may stay longer. Steve has come, we went to Leavenworth and now he’s been gone again for a few days. There’s cell reception here and a plug-in to charge back up, but the parking lot looks a little different now!

There’s a huge BMX race, NW Cup, here today so tons of people. It rained and was a huge lightning storm last night. The crowd rated the lightening bolts with raucous cheers or boos. I had moved across the freeway from the main hub and still heard their cheers over the distance and the thunder. (Haha, my phone automatically capitalizes Thunder! Guess I usually only type the word in relation to our friend, Whitethunder.)

Anyway. I’m thankful for the van’s shelter from rain but really sad to not be on the trail with Steve right now. Also really glad. Makes no sense. I know. He’s taking a zero or maybe it’ll be a Nero in his tent because the rain is coming down so hard. I’ve Garmin texted him through out the morning and am thankful he still has Garmin reception. He’s only a week from the border but this weather. And the climbing. It’s wearing all the hikers down. It’s day after day of climbing and descending like the map above. And now rain. It’s hard being the support crew this week. It’s a lot of alone time. I’ve been hanging out with Mad Baker, an amazing trail angel. He feeds hikers yummy goodness that he bakes in his RV.

I’m only four hours from home so thought about going there. But I don’t want to be that far from Steve. VFat invited me to their home. Our oldest daughter’s in-laws also live within a couple hours and invited me there. I’m so appreciative of the invites and am not sure why it’s so hard for me to leave the trailhead and be further from Steve. It doesn’t make sense because he’s three days away from me and there’s no road to get to him for two or three more days. But still…I wait.

I head to Rainy Pass next. Or maybe Chelan, if Steve gets tired of the rain and cold and comes out at Stehekin. I’m so proud of his journey. And I’m proud of my own journey too, I’m a little shy of 800 miles now. I’m so pleased with our adventure. And am feeling grateful even while I’m a bit lonely today.