Pacific Crest Trail Week 4: Very Expensive Trash
McDonald’s! Or Not
The McDonald’s is an iconic landmark on the PCT. People who haven’t set foot in the fast food restaurant for years go there while on the PCT. Why? Because hiker hunger is here and greasy food ready to wolf down is heaven. Also, air conditioning, a very welcome break from the heat. Full of excitement we took off. It was busy on trail, the PCT highway. Hikers in a line on our way towards the MC Donald’s! And then? It was under construction. You could order take away and there were a bunch of hikers already sitting on the curbside eating. The noise of the construction made me anxious and I quickly shoved some hash browns in my mouth and ran off. The running only lasted so long, there is no out-running the heat.
Very Expensive Trash
It was noon when I arrived at the water cache. Bless all the trail angels who make sure they are filled up, otherwise it would have been a water carry of 32 miles. Now it was 26 miles, which is just how it is in the desert! I was hiking with a group of guys, they were fast, it was fun. But at the cache, everyone had to stop and hide in the shade. Only there wasn’t any shade, so tents and tarps were being set up. If people who know nothing about hiking would have seen us, they could easily think we were homeless people. Hiding underneath self-made huts of trash bags. Little would they know our tarps of Dyneema are worth $600 and then the rest of our ultralight gear. We are hiker trash, but expensive ones! We huddled together in the shade, getting dirt everywhere. At some point, you just have to let go. Eat your warm tortilla (an advantage of the heat!) with your dirty hands. Dirt has vitamin B right? Embrace the dirt. My face slowly becomes one with the dirt.
The Zone. You have to experience it to really understand it I guess. It is something I’ve never experienced before. It is better than drugs (not that I’ve ever taken any drugs. Mom, if you read this, of course not! Don’t worry). It was a 9-mile hike straight up the mountain. I was flying. Didn’t feel the weight of my pack, which was quite heavy with 4,5 liter of water and food. My mind went completely quiet. It was better than a runner’s high. Completely in the Zone. This stuff is addictive! My shirt never looked so sweaty, my mind was as clear as with meditation.
Mount Baden Powell
After a pitstop in Wrightwood, we camped just outside of town, ready to hike mount Baden Powell in the morning. We woke up with beautiful weather, bright blue skies. Seriously, how will I ever get used to my own grey country again? Today’s group was just Miso, U-Turn, and me. Just us girls. I actually witnessed U-turn making a u-turn after a break. She didn’t even notice it and almost turned into a south bounder, back to Mexico. Don’t tell her I told you this! It was a nice climb, easy, with a lot of switchbacks. We pretended to be old retired ladies casually on a stroll. There was a bit of snow but all easy cruising. Ohh the views! I could sit there for hours.
Don’t cock-block the frog
To preserve a rare frog species the trail is closed for a few miles. The frogs are in their mating season and it is best not to disturb them. There won’t be any rangers to stop you but if you enjoy nature and being out here, of course you will take the detour, even though road walking is not much fun. It sucks! We thought of a new mantra:
‘Don’t cock-block the frog!’
Laughing really is the best medicine. It can even cure road walk grumpiness. It ended up being my longest day on trail so far. A little over 26 miles (42 km!) and the best medicine for that? Trail magic right at the end of your day. It was amazing. Little Fish was there with soft drinks and food. Somehow the sodas turned into beers and all the tiredness was quickly forgotten. There is this saying out here that is so true: the trail always provides! Onwards!
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