Saturday, July 20, 2013

Escape to the Wilderness (?)

…or What a difference a day makes…

I use that term lightly – escape to the wilderness.  I left Wenatchee, WA early this morning (7/19)… and thru Leavenworth, WA. 


Finally found a closed trailhead where I decided to try to spend the night, just to decompress.  I can hear road traffic, but there won’t be any sounds close around me.  I can see Rt. 2 just a few yards away.  I have a 3G signal (varying from 0-2 bars).  Soon that spot got too hot… 94 degrees inside the van.

In Leavenworth, I explored a little… bad memories there for me… as that’s where David Swankie and I had planned our wedding in June 2001, but he died June 4, and we were married in May in the hospital instead.  I found the B&B my son used to manage, I found the KOA (hell on earth) campground were our families met (David’s and mine) after his death, on the date that was suppose to be our wedding date. 


What a horrible place – the KOA.  I can’t see why anyone would want to camp there.  People are bumper to bumper, not to mention dozens of vehicles… like being in a very crowded city parking lot.  I made a loop through there and could not get out fast enough.  So, I left Leavenworth and found the below spot.


So this little snippet of road at a closed trailhead seems like heaven to this boondocker and I enjoyed walking around looking at all the plants, especially after urban-vandwelling for over a month.  I sent a SPOT signal out from here (,-120.72269&ll=47.64968,-120.72269&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1) and may just hole up and watch movies or take a hike.  Warning signs everywhere of Poison Oak… so I may not???  And I am in the shade which means my batteries will not be getting a solar charge today, but they are at 12.5 right now, but this spot soon became an oven with temps reaching 94 degrees in the van, no air flow… and so I moved on thinking driving with A/C on was better than baking in the van… even if it meant I had to drive all the way to the Ocean.

July 20 - What a difference a day makes... only 63 degrees in the van at 7:45am and I'm high in the mountains and have an internet signal. And I hear water running nearby. Will have to hike to the water today – Hatchery Creek. Slept well last night for the first time in weeks. 47.67081,-120.75569 . And at 11am it’s only 80 in the van… so the rest of the day should be comfortable.  At 3pm it was 89 in the van and beginning to cool off.  The sun has already gone behind the trees… and shade is now hitting the van.

Night before last I had to sleep with the sounds of the city, sirens, trains, cars, doors opening and closing, cars driving across manhole covers, people talking, kids screaming, dogs barking.


Last night all I could hear was the sounds of the breeze blowing through the treetops, the babbling brook not far away…and a few birds.  That’s all, not another sound (except my fridge kicking on once in while).  So very relaxing and air so clean and fresh, unlike the pollution layer that settles into Wenatchee each evening with the Columbia River Valley inversion effect and burned my throat.  Ick.  Oh, I enjoyed my sleep last night.

Three cars were parked in at the Trailhead yesterday, two more just arrived, but I have the best spot… and checked the water out awhile ago, fresh clean water coming down out of some rocks…. and a nice level spot to stand.  I’m going to have a little bath today… no place to sit in the water and it is way too cold to sit in, but I can sure splash it all over myself.


The solar oven is set up and I’m fixing to bake the rest of the cookies I didn’t have time to finish with my grandkids.  Yum. 


Life is good, and truly, it can’t get any better than this… no, wait, let me go check on the cookies.  Whoops, I almost burnt them.  So,then I mixed up some banana raisin bread and baked it.  It will be nice for breakfast tomorrow. 


Today, for breakfast I had Fritos and Rainier Cherries.  Oddly delicious.  It was handy.  What can I say?  I have decided to try and live off what food I have on hand, until after I return from Alaska.  I can do it.  I can do it.

Here I sit near the top of a mountain in the wilderness and still find a way to "do genealogy."  Have I died and gone to heaven?

By 3:30pm I am in full shade so the evening should cool off nicely.  I haven’t really walked yet, but think I will hike the trail tomorrow and check it out.  I am so relaxed… am off the extra meds I had to take while I was urban-vandwelling.  Yeahhhhh!


  1. Nice post MS Wheels. :) That sounds like a much nicer place than in the city with the screaming kids. I wish it was summer here. It is really cond down under today.
    Take care,

  2. Thanks, Romana. Yes, frankly I'm just being a lazy bum... taking my time to recover from all that time in a city. The air is so cool and fresh here... all I want to do is sleep and eat, but frankly, today was also too warm for me... and I'm about to run out of water... so either I have to run in to the little town of Index, WA for water soon... or move on. I'm really not interested in moving to lower elevation yet, with almost three weeks to go before leaving for Alaska. If I do, I'll probably end up trying to get to the Puget Sound for a few days where the air is fresher and there is a breeze.


Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.