A Stay at Casa de Luna

We weren’t supposed to take a zero day in  Casa de Luna. We were planning on pushing through the 104 miles from Agua Dulce to Tehachapi without a stop at the Anderson’s (also known as Casa de Luna) but a few miles out of Agua Dulce, as achey calves and sore knees reasserted themselves, talk of a stop at Casa de Luna emerged:

It is supposed to be an essential part of the PCT experience…

It’s not like the snow in the Sierras is going anywhere anytime soon..

With that it was decided; we would arrive in Casa de Luna the next evening and stay the next day.

What’s Casa de Luna?

Casa de Luna is the home of Terrie and Joe Anderson, long time trail hosts. They welcome hikers to set up their tents at the back of their property and stay and relax for a day or so. I’ve even heard rumours of hikers being sucked into the Casa de Luna vortex and finding themselves unable to leave for an entire week.

Getting There

As the trail switchbacked its way down towards the highway crossing at PCT mile 478, I could see a couple of the guys from our hiking group attempting to hitchike with zero success. I arrived at the highway and shouted “Looks like you two need a Ride Bride.”I stuck out my thumb and the very next car that drove by pulled over, picked us up, and drove us the 2 miles to Green Valley where Casa de Luna is located. A nice easy hitch! Excerpt: Ride Bride is a term for the practice of placing a female hiker among a group of male hikers to increase their odds of getting a hitch. Given the ratio of male to female hikers, Ride Brides are generally in high demand.

What To Expect

After being greeted with a hug from Terrie, you are led to a rolling rack full of Hawaiian shirts, mandatory dress for your stay at Casa de Luna. You’re then set loose on the property to enjoy your day off. The experience is reminiscent of a summer camp for adults; complete with an arts and crafts station. A pile of rocks are left in the front of the house, along with paint and brushes, for hikers to paint. Once complete, the rocks are placed in the back forest creating an eclectic and colourful place to wander. A giant banner hangs in the front of the house for hikers to sign and date acting as a registry of sorts.

At 7:00 PM giant bins of tomatoes, peppers, and refried beans are placed on a table out front; it’s taco salad time! After cueing for a mandatory hand washing (which was a relief given the recent outbreak of Norovirus on trail) hungry hikers lineup to fill their plates. After the sun goes down, Terrie turns on the music and hikers come on up to dance in order to receive their class of 2017 bandannas.

In the morning, Joe is in up early and has the pancake griddle humming away by 6:30. After everyone has eaten their share of pancakes, everyone lines up in front of the banner to have their photo taken, and receives one final suprise. What that surprise is, I can’t say; every hiker who passes through Casa de Luna is required to preserve that particular secret… Vehicles are then loaded with hikers and driven back to the trailhead, rested and ready to start hiking again.

A week after my stay at Casa de Luna, I remain grateful for the Anderson’s generosity and that I took the time to enjoy a day there; it’s been one of my more memorable days on trail thus far. If you stop by for a visit yourself, remember to drop a donation in the jar on the front steps, that taco salad doesn’t make itself!

Painting my rock…

The final products; I enjoyed it so much I made two! Dan’s is on the left, mine on the right.

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