Metaline Falls to Northport, WA

July 23It felt so nice to be cuddled up on the firm bed with a beautiful quilt covering us. We were smart choosing the room with the AC and slept great. I did not want to move an inch and it took some convincing, but I was able to sleep in a bit longer. We then had another breakfast at Cathy’s with Mermaid. Then we packed up quickly and began walking out of town.

The trail crosses the Pend Oreille River on a bridge that even has a sidewalk. The guidebook points out you can climb 400′ near the power lines to cut 1.7 miles of paved road walking. So we went for it, but it was a big mistake. We had barely made it up and I was drenched in sweat while getting beat up by branches. I was staying to the left of the power lines when I felt something poke my left leg. Then I felt it over and over again realizing I was being attacked by hornets. I swatted them away, but the damage was done. I had four visible stings as they were bloody and the pain was unbearable. I jumped back from where I was attacked and began to shake as tears streamed down my face along with the sweat. I’ve never been stung by that many hornets at once. It took me a few minutes to gain my composure before we struggled back uphill. We found a well traveled trail finally that slowly lead us to the top. So I would recommend staying to the paved road. Ouch! We stopped in the shade in someone’s driveway as I took a Benadryl and cleaned the wounds. 

We finished up our paved road walk and joined a forest service road. I felt a bit off today as my panic attack due to the bee stings took a lot of energy out of me. We took a break at a stream to rehydrate and have a snack before continuing uphill on the dirt road on many switchbacks. Today we will be climbing a vertical mile up and over Abercrombie Mountain. Paperweight got ahead of me as I took my time walking along the road listening to Podcasts. 

I made it to the trailhead to find him chatting with Bessie and Billy. I took a quick break here as well before we began the last four miles of climbing to the top of the mountain. I am feeling myself again and the climbing was wonderful. The trail was well maintained as flowers were blooming and berries were ready to be picked. We stopped half way up at a spring to fill up our bottles before busting out the last bit to the top. The higher we got the better the views. This mountain is the second highest in Eastern Washington. It is only one foot behind the largest peak in this part of the state. We could see the wildfire that we had to avoid last section burning in the distance. We could see for miles and miles. The Selkirk mountains, Canadian mountains, and many other ranges all around. The trail dips down .2 miles from the very top, but we busted up the last bit to the peak. Well worth the side trip! The last bit was along rocky scree that involved careful steps. Wow! This is why I hike! I live for these moments. It’s so rewarding to hike out of town to a hike peak in one day. We soaked in the views before heading back down.

The trail descended quickly and steeply heading back towards the trees. We scared lots of birds along the way that zipped out in front of us. Today is one of those memorable days on trail. We dipped up and down for a bit before hitting the switchbacks that would lead down to Silver Creek Trailhead. We hiked until 8:50 making the total miles over 23. It was a tough and rewarding day. We had a lovely campsite with a picnic table all for free. 

July 24

We both slept in until 7 this morning. We enjoyed breakfast at a picnic table and using a pit toilet. We walked 3.6 miles along a forest road chatting along the way. We then hit the paved Deep Lake Boundary Rd which is 19 miles long and leads into the town of Northport. The original trail was changed this year after a new owner refused access through his property. So all road walking today. Maybe 4 miles into the road walk I was checking out some of the homes and stepped on a branch the wrong way. I did something to my ankle and it ached the rest of the day. 

We took a break off the road at an old entrance to private property. He went downhill to get us water since my foot hurt. A truck drove by, turned around driving by again, and then pulled over. An older couple were worried if I was okay. I told them we were just having a lunch break and she brought me some fresh picked cherries to much on. Then my nicely bearded boyfriend climbed up from the water as her husband told her it was time to get going. She was such a nice woman and the cherries were delicious.

We continued onward as I hiked our first hobbling a bit on a few of the parts. I was shocked to turn a corner a see a general store. We were greeted by a large peacock at the front door we had to avoid. I had a cold soda and strawberry shortcake. We sat out front with the peacock and chatted with a local. Then it was more paved road. A car stopped and it was Beacon!! What a nice surprise. Our plan was to go only 5 more miles to a campground instead of the last 10 to town. My ankle was too sore to make it all the way in on the road.

We checked into the campground then went for a swim in the Columbia River. It felt nice to soak my ankle and my swollen leg from all the hornet stings. We were drying off on the beach when Mermaid and Beacon came walking towards us. They stopped in town to grab some beers and then joined us for the evening. The four of us had a lovely time at the picnic table chatting for hours. Another good day on the PNT.

July 25

We have only 5 miles left of a paved road walk into the small town of Northport. Most hikers take hitch hikes along the road walks. We still believe in connecting all of our footprints. The road climbed uphill more then yesterday then dropped us down. We busted out those last few miles singing to music and talking. We were rewarded with a scenic overlook of the river and the bridge. We did not think any restaurant in town served breakfast, but we walking into the Mustang Grill to find Bessie, Billy, Davinci, Mermaid, and Beacon finishing up breakfast.

Days spent in town always go by too quickly. After breakfast, we made our way to the Matterson Bed and Breakfast which is owned and operated by the lovely 71 year old Bert. She has 9 children, 45 grandchildren, and her 25th great grandchild was born that night. She was heading out for the day so she quickly showed us our room and bathroom letting us know there was beer in the fridge. We had a lovely bedroom decorated in sailor theme. It was cozy and exactly what we needed. We showered, looked at our maps, and lounged around. Mermaid’s husband, Johnny, came to visit. The four of us had a late lunch together at the Grill in town. We also spent time chatting with the other hikers in town. There were 14 hikers in town today! Only 4 of us did the brutally hot paved road walk to connect our steps.

We relaxed at the bed and breakfast for most of the afternoon. This is the first bed and breakfast I have ever stayed in and for $60 it was a steal. Around 7, we wandered down to the bar Kuks which has been open since 1888. It was taco Tuesday so only $1.50 for two. We also split a pitcher of IPA. We hung out with Nive and Charlie who live in London, but are moving to Boston in November. Then it was back to our quaint bedroom where we slept wonderfully!

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