SKYKOMISH, Wash — Loaded with all the provisions they could carry, about a dozen trucks made the trek up Stevens Pass on Wednesday to help neighbors in need.
"We don't know all these folks, but that doesn't matter," said organizer Garry Vire. "They need our help so we're gonna help them."
Hundreds of people living in the mountain towns between Gold Bar and Skykomish were left stranded in their homes when the pass closed on Sunday night as heavy snow brought down dozens of trees and power lines.
"I haven't had power for five days. I haven't had water for three days. I'm running on a generator, a propane heater. It's pretty crazy," said Skykomish resident Robert Cunningham.
People in neighboring communities collected thousands of dollars in donations that included water, food and fuel to make sure those left cold and hungry were taken care of.
"We're a hardy bunch," said Steve Larner, who opened Sky Deli to feed hundreds of stranded travelers on Sunday night. "When it comes down to it, we'll just get it done. Ask for help once and then just get it done yourself. We can ask for forgiveness later."
Many in the most remote areas remained unable to get out of their homes. Volunteers planned to shuttle supplies to those folks.
"It brought me to tears. People just don't do that anymore," said Skykomish resident Kathy Marsh. "This just restores all the faith in humanity that I've lost."
"This is the type of help that warms you when nothing else does," said Taylor Coniber.
Some, however, remained critical of the response by local officials to the crisis.
Volunteer Cheryl Peterson wondered why the Skykomish mayor didn't declare an emergency and ask for state assistance right away.
"The outpouring makes my heart swell and it makes me cry good tears but it also makes me angry because they shouldn't have to go through all this," Peterson said.
Skykomish Mayor Henry Sladek stood by his response, saying he didn't think the situation rose to the level of needing state assistance.
"I was never made aware of any potential for loss of life," he said. "I felt the support we were getting from King County was enough."
WSDOT officials moved the closure of Highway 2 further east on Wednesday. It remains shut down between Money Creek and the summit until further notice.
High winds could likely bring down already-weak trees on Wednesday.