Ode to Trail Towns of the PCT

As the PCT winds its way up through the requisite mountains and forests on its way to Canada, occasionally the trail intersects small (but fabulous) pieces of civilization known as “trail towns.” Hikers use these towns to pick up resupply packages, buy groceries, shower, and fill up on calories. Thus far, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Mt Laguna, Warner Springs, Idyllwild, Big Bear and am currently enjoying a zero day in Wrightwood (PCT mile 369.) As you stumble into one of these towns, with your unwashed clothes, large backpack, odd looking clothes, and unmistakable smell, your status as a PCT hiker is immediately recognizable. Despite all this, these communities warmly welcome the throngs of hikers that invade their towns as the herd moves north. During our short stays in these communities we’ve been shown innumerable acts of kindness that have slowly restored my faith in the goodness of humanity. What follows is a small list of these acts of kindness.

  • The school group in Warner Springs that invited us to their 5 dollar spaghetti dinner/bingo fundraiser night. If you’re wondering, yes, we went; no hiker ever turned down 5 dollar spaghetti.
  • The giant banner stretched across the Main Street of Idyllwild, welcoming PCT hikers.
  • The day hiker that we met as we exited the trail and as he was about to start his hike, who got back in his truck and drove us into Wrightwood.
  • The many post office staff that take the time to search for your package among the PILES of hiker packages.
  • The stranger who drove past us waiting at the bus stop in Big Bear, stopped, drove us to the grocery store, and then the other stranger who drove us back to our hostel afterwards.
  • The numerous strangers who have taken the time to ask us where we are from, when we started, and how our feet are holding up.
  • The honks, waves and encouraging shouts from drivers that have passed us on the street.
  • The numerous individuals who have let us pet their dogs, after we’ve stopped them and explained that we have a dog at home who we very much miss. Seriously, thank you. It’s made our day.

On a final note, as hikers it is our responsibility to ensure that these communities stay welcoming to us; answer their questions with enthusiasm , treat the towns with respect and be a positive ambassador of the trail. See everyone in Agua Dolce!

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