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Let's review Scenic Hot Springs! 🍑

A Pchy style review for safety

Wow, the Take Back the Trail walk is this weekend!

So far the weather is going to be decent. It could rain on Saturday so make sure to check the forecast and be prepared.

We’ve had questions about who can attend. Anyone that wants to walk with us. Bring your dogs, kids, husbands, partners, friends, whoever is down to support. We are just walking and talking.

Women walking and talking is a beautiful thing. 🙏 We can’t wait to meet you.

What’s in the newsletter today

  • Trans Day of Visibility and why Pchy supports all women 🏳️‍⚧️

  • She hiked 2,193 miles on the Appalachian Trail 💪 

  • Scenic Hot Spring review 🍑🍑🍑🍑

Pchy supports all women 🏳️‍⚧️

Sunday, March 31st, marked the 15th year of International Transgender Visibility Day. A day to honor and celebrate the transgender and nonbinary community worldwide.

More than 1.6 million people in the United States identify as transgender, according to a 2022 study from the Williams Institute.

Rachel Crandall-Crocker, the visionary behind this movement and Executive Director of Transgender Michigan, has brought together millions of people to uplift and support transgender and nonbinary individuals.

"It really is amazing how far it has come," she told NPR. "I wasn't expecting to start an international movement."

Rachel Crandall-Crocker

Rachel wanted a day where trans individuals could come together, find joy, and stand united as a community. Thus, International Transgender Day of Visibility was born.

Held annually on March 31st (Not intentionally on Easter Sunday as some loud voices have wrongly pronounced), it's a beacon of hope and solidarity for people of all genders.

From rallies to block parties, this day is all about spreading love, joy, and acceptance.

At Pchy, we're proud to stand in solidarity with the transgender and nonbinary community. Safety and inclusivity for all women and gender identities are at the core of our mission.

And we must educate ourselves about things we may not understand. Take a look at GenderCool. GenderCool is a youth-led movement bringing positive change to the world. The champions are helping replace misinformed opinions with positive experiences meeting transgender and non-binary youth who are thriving.

A 2,192-mile thru hike! Jeez 💪

Have you heard about Lyla “Sugar” Harrod? She's breaking boundaries and making history as a 33-year-old transgender woman who conquered the Appalachian Trail in 2021.

Imagine the courage it took for Lyla to embark on this incredible journey. She faced not only the usual challenges of hiking but also the fear of judgment and discrimination as a trans woman in the great outdoors.

Lyla's experience sheds light on the importance of representation and identity on the trail. Despite encountering transphobia and being misgendered, she persisted, proving that the outdoors is for everyone, regardless of gender identity.

Resupplying during her hike presented its own set of challenges, especially hitchhiking into town. Lyla and her hiking partner, Oliver “Bowie” Henderson, had to navigate potentially risky situations, including encounters with vehicles displaying Confederate flags.

But amidst the challenges, Lyla found solace in the trail community. Surrounding herself with like-minded hikers, she felt supported and empowered to continue her journey.

Since completing the Appalachian Trail, Lyla hasn't slowed down. She's tackled more trails, setting records and inspiring others along the way. Her message to aspiring trans hikers? You're not alone—reach out, connect, and embrace the adventure! Let's celebrate Lyla and her remarkable achievements, and continue to support diversity and inclusivity in the outdoors.

Read more about Lyla’s experience in Outside Mag.

Scenic Hot Spring Review

Scenic Hot Springs is a privately owned natural mineral spring in Washington State that is closed to the public. It is located south of U.S. Route 2, about 8 miles west of Stevens Pass.

Once a haven for mineral water bathers, and known as Madison Hot Springs back in the day, the lodge near Stevens Pass faced its demise with the construction of an 8-mile tunnel by the Great Northern Railroad.

Left forgotten until the 1980s, it saw a resurgence in popularity before vandalism and rowdy behavior led to its tubs destruction in 2002.

A new landowner has been working to revitalize the property, reconstructing the tubs, and making enhancements.

To enter past the gated private property and hike your way to the springs, you must make a reservation. Only 10 people are allowed to visit the springs each day and it is currently booked out for most of 2024. They will be closed from April 29th-May 10th and May 31st-June 7th for renovations.

Check the calendar. If there is a spot available, then select “Reserve your Visit.”

Read the conditions of access and policy agreement. I would suggest reading everything they send as it contains important information. Especially for winter conditions.

For example, they recommend carrying three days’ worth of food in winter conditions and plenty of water as well as three different ways of lighting a fire in an emergency. This may seem extreme but once you get into the wilderness and start making your climb to the springs it’s easy to understand why the caution.

I packed waterproof matches, cotton balls, and lighters. Five of my favorite cashew date bars. A bag of trail mix, goldfish crackers, and a bunch of clementines. Was it three days worth of food? Potentially when rationed in an emergency.

FYI- People have had to get airlifted out of that area because of weather conditions, underestimating the difficulty of the hike, and getting lost.

The springs sit at 3500 ft and the hike itself is a 1100 ft elevation gain in under 2 miles. The total length of the hike is around 2.5 miles. The elevation gain will kick your butt. It’s a hard hike even for fit hikers so plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time.

All this to say, for a solo woman traveling to the springs alone, it was a bit sketchy. But in the end, worth it, and pretty dang Pchy. 🍑🍑🍑🍑

Parking- The winter parking lot sits a quarter mile below the trailhead in a railway lot under the highway. It’s isolated. You’ll get instructions from the caretakers of Scenic on how to get there. During summer months there is parking closer to the trailhead but they have had issues with vandalism. Your car is visible from the highway in the railway lot and feels eery to leave it alone. Luckily, I didn’t experience any issues.

Access- From the winter railway parking you then have to walk along the highway a quarter mile to the trailhead. I didn’t love this as a woman alone. There was no cell service from the railway parking to the trailhead so I’m walking along a lone highway by myself without service. 😬

The hike- Again, do not underestimate the elevation gain or the time it will take to hike 2.5 miles essentially straight up. There were a lot of switchbacks at the top where I felt like crying every time I made it up one and saw there was another. It felt like I was never going to find the springs. I did not pack enough water and forgot my ice spikes in the car which made going back down super slow because there were long stretches of snow and ice.

🌲 I felt safe in the wilderness by myself. There is a board posted at the gate that shows the other reservations. I knew it was possible I would run into other hikers heading to the springs but I didn’t. There have been black bear sightings in that area so I carry bear spray and educated myself on what to do if I came across a black bear. Like, don’t run because that just makes them want to chase you.

Cell service- I did have cell service for most of the hike with Verizon.

The springs- Clean and dreamy. There is some sediment in the pools and a slime in the tub that is naturally occurring. The water was hot and a relief to my sore muscles. I had the tubs completely to myself and stayed for over an hour before hiking back down. There is an outhouse-style toilet and changing area near the springs. Nudity is allowed.

Hotels nearby- I stayed at the Cascadia Inn in Skykomish. It was $100 a night for a small single room. Bare bones. No TV and a shared bathroom. Very dorm style. The bathrooms were super clean and the hotel was cozy and safe. As a woman traveling alone, I felt comfortable using the shower and bathroom and never saw another person in the bathroom or the hotel. This may not be ideal for other single travelers. The bathroom is shared amongst all genders.

There is a cute coffee shop down the street and the best deli with fresh delicious sandwiches and some amazing views. It does sit across from the rail and loud trains passing is a thing. But if you like trains, it wasn’t a disturbance at all.

Pchy pro tip- Connect with the Scenic land steward if you are hiking alone or just want to feel safe. I emailed them with some questions and let them know that I would be alone, and they were kind and gave me their cell phone number. It honestly made me feel safer knowing that someone in the area knew where I was and that I had them to contact if needed.

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Till next week! We love you!

Team Pchy 🍑