PCT – I said ‘T’ not ‘P,’ but it’s still quite a trip!
First off, I’m sorry it has taken me so long to post! Apparently I’m a terrible blogger so far…especially with how long this post is, but hey I don’t want you all to miss out on anything! Plus, now I should be able to post every week or so since I’m pretty well adjusted to trail life now. It’s been a busy few weeks adjusting to trail, which does not include a lot of spare time. I am currently using a community laptop at Hiker Heaven at mile ~454, which makes typing this way overdue post much more doable. Also, shout out to Dr. Jennifer Coffman for my LAST post’s title and THIS post’s title. She is one of the most creative title creators I have ever met.
The Night Before Christma…the Beginning**
It all became so real when it was the night of Tuesday May 15th, the day before I departed for my first day on the Pacific Crest Trail. I was at my friend Robin’s apartment in San Diego after just finishing some worry filled food supplying for my first few days of being on the trail. I was up until at least 1 or 2am trying to figure out if I had enough, if I had too little, if I would ever figure it all out, and so much more. Robin and my other friend Nicole had been such a great help to me in San Diego preparing for what seems like an insane feat of human willpower. In any case, it was 3:30am when I and Robin (forcibly) awoke to head to the trail. It was dark, cold, and a morning full of nerves. I ate some food in the car because I thought my pack weighed too much…the constant hiker worry of weight was already starting! We finally made it to the Southern Terminus and that’s when it all began…
May 16th – THE FIRST DAY!
I think it’s important to note that on May 16, after Robin dropped me off, I talked to a few other individuals thru-hiking. One of which was a man named Jeremy who had already completed the PCT four times and was about to do it again. That was not the most comforting feeling because it made me feel so underprepared, which I found to be completely unfounded. In addition to this, there were a few other people there, but none of them seemed too interested in chatting, which made me also believe thru-hikers were not as awesome as everyone had made them seem (another completely unfounded thought of my troubled mind). This I found to be completely wrong in the most amazing ways…which I will get to.
I began my journey shortly after Jeremy, passed the one mile marker…only 2,649 to go, then passed Jeremy and thought to myself this is easy peasy (what a weird phrase). However, shortly after I passed Jeremy…Jeremy passed me…then two ultralight guys from the terminus…then Monika and Chris from Europe…and so on. It’s a weird feeling to be passed while on the PCT which has since gone away. At first, you don’t ever want to be passed so you hike faster than previously, but eventually you realize that’s a foolish endeavor and it really is all about hiking your own hike. Still on my first day, I took a break around 12pm because my left foot’s big toe was killing me for some odd reason. I read some Game of Thrones and took a nap and every once in a while someone would pass me. The pain was so bad that I was limping when I tried to hike. I thought to myself why did I push myself so hard?! I should have taken it slow!
After much much (EMPHASIS) pain, I made it to Lake Morena after about 20 miles. I immediately went to the small store in town to get a malt chocolate/mint chocolate chip milkshake which I heard were amazing. I also bought a single Tecate because well, why not? Eventually three guys come to the store, Phil, Ryan, and Cheng. We chatted and I joined them for another five miles before it got really dark and we tried to set up camp. They were incredibly fast and I thought they were way out of my hiker league. We all got along really well though and I convinced Ryan to buy a Tecate at the store so we were all clearly having fun. I totally forgot about my Tecate until I was in my sleeping bag in my tent and so I broke it out and tried to finish it as fast as possible so I could sleep.
The next day I woke up with dew all over my supplies as well as my soul. The guys in my group said they were gonna, “take it easy today.” Right. My bodily pains were increasing by the hour that day and so I was only able to hike about 16 miles to a spot 4ish miles away from Mount Laguna. I finally made it to a great tent site under a large oak tree. Although in extreme pain in every way possible, I set up camp by myself and enjoyed some amazing trail food before reading a book and going to sleep. That was when I realized how backpacking is one of the greatest feelings you can have. I tend to have feelings of euphoria surrounding backpacking in the morning when I first begin hiking as well as at night when eating a warm meal. Being able to hike the PCT and enjoy spectacular desert Mountain views certainly helps the physical pain of hiking.
After awaking to the choir of nature (birds) I look up as the sunlight shines through my tent in the most picturesque way possible, and I see multiple spots where birds have pooped on my tent! I cleaned the marks and began my day to try and get to Mount Laguna in a few miles. I made it to Mount Laguna after traveling through what I call the Land of the Lost Pines, an area before Laguna that begins to fill with pines which was so welcoming and heartwarming because I love pine trees! I got to a restaurant in Mount Laguna and sat at the hiker table where I met with Phil and Cheng from two days prior and a Frenchman named Romain who does GIS work! It was a great lunch and I said goodbye to Phil and Cheng who I likely knew I would never see again (still haven’t). Went to the store to get necessary supplies because I realized I sprained my right ankle when attempting to make up for my left foot’s pain. Then I saw a small group of people and asked if they wanted to get a campsite together because it’s $25/site. We all agreed and that is how I met Matt (first beautiful friendship <3), Griz, Happy Feet, and Joey. We went to the site and ate, drank some beer, and got to know one another. It was a hilarious group of people and we ended up at some other group’s campfire that night which was extremely encouraging because I felt like these people were perfect for hiking with. I told Griz and Matt to hike without me the next day cause I was still nursing my sprained ankle which Griz wrapped for me.
Waking up later than usual, I had been elevating my ankle while icing it with my water reservoir. It seemed to have help because when I got hiking again the pain was not as bad. This day was unbelievable though because the views and hiking was unlike anything I had seen/done. The trail was practically on the side of massive cliffs overlooking the low desert and distant mountains for such a long part of the day. I hadn’t seen anyone for miles and miles but eventually saw someone in a black shirt at least 2-3 miles behind me. I wrote in the sand, “HELLO PERSON IN BLACK SHIRT” and eventually came to meet that individual whose name is Omar! We got along immediately and ended up camping together among these giant alien looking boulders. He had an obscene amount of supplies and gave me water, icy hot, pain relievers, etc.
Omar woke up before me and got hiking, I was able to wriggle out of bed and begin hiking too and within 30 minutes I saw my first rattlesnake which was not as daunting as I was expecting. Probably because I saw it from a distance and it was already heading off trail. Omar and I then met up at a water source and met a father and son hiking duo from South Korea! They went on their merry way and then we got hiking again. This time I listened to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack and it was so inspiring for some odd reason, remembering the scenes from the movies where they trekked and sauntered along mountainsides. We ended up all eating lunch together in probably the only shady spot for miles on one of the hottest days so far. Later that day I was eating dinner in the crevice of a beautiful mountain as the sun was setting, when all of a sudden a female black-chinned hummingbird hovered right in front of me before darting away into the sunset. I have seen more hummingbirds in my first 20+ days than I have in my entire life. Just a few minutes passed as I was eating my dinner when a snake crawled over my left foot. I immediately jumped and thought I was going to die, but it turns out it was a venomous breed with the difference being that the fangs turn inward or something so they cannot do much harm to humans. That day had been a long very happy day of hiking more than 20 miles, but by the end it was terrible because of my amateur tent skills. I attempted to set up my tent at the top of a massive hill where the wind fought me fiercely. I tried again and again, but my tent kept getting blown over…so I gave up as it was getting dark and angrily hiked for another few miles before finding a terrible tent spot. That night was one of the very few nights where I questioned my ability to mentally survive hiking the PCT.
The next day I hiked to Scissors Crossing where I was able to hitch to Julian, CA (which I ended up finding a hitch in a matter of seconds). A small yet quaint mountain town where I wanted to take the rest of the day to recover my majorly swollen ankle. As soon as I got there I went to Mom’s Pies which is famous on the PCT because they give FREE pies, ice cream, and a drink to hikers after you show your permit. I ate the most delicious caramel apple crumble pie with vanilla ice cream I have ever had in my life, no exaggeration. It was phenomenal. I stayed at the Julian Hotel that night and around 5pm they had an event called “tea time” where they have coffee/tea and assorted snacks. I reluctantly made my way down for some food and got some scones/pastries. There were only two other individuals in the “parlor room” so it was somewhat awkward because other than old-fashioned music, it was complete silence. I asked a woman sitting by herself if I could sit with her and it was definitely the best decision I made that day. I got to know the woman named Barbara and we shared our stories…when out of nowhere Happy Feet and a guy named Wraps (both from Mount Laguna) showed up! It was quite the surprise reunion and good to see some friendly faces. We ended up receiving a ride back to the trail from the wonderful Barbara the next morning. She was honestly the first REAL trail angel I ran into and I was so so grateful for her kindness. (Thank you Barbara!)
The next few days were a blur and involved a lot of fast hiking and my first official night of cowboy camping. I cowboy camped directly under the stars on one of the windiest mountains I have encountered thus far. There were millions of stars and the view rivaled the night sky I witnessed in Big Bend National Park where one could see the Milky Way extending across the night sky in a spectacular manner.
Finally made it to mile 100 after my sprained ankle! Met a few new faces at the mile marker including a girl named Alli from Australia who we aptly gave the trailname Roadrunner because of how fast she hikes and her build. We all hiked through a beautiful meadow called the Warner Springs Meadows before we got to Eagle Rock and then Warner Springs. This was the first location my parents sent a resupply box to and I definitely sent myself way too much food, so I actually shipped about half the food ahead of myself to Idyllwild, CA. I continued on hiking as Alli/Roadrunner and Martin (from Germany) stayed in Warner Springs. The sun was setting (as it always does) and I was hiking through another incredible set of meadows. I set up camp by myself at a pretty large campground before one of the worst nights/early mornings of my life. **IF YOU ARE EASILY DISGUSTED BY GROSS THINGS, DON’T READ MAY 24th!**
I kept waking up early in the morning with my stomach doing some crazy stunts. The night before I had eaten black beans which I thought I had cooked enough, but were DEFINITELY not cooked enough. Anyway, I felt like my stomach was going to burst open around 4-5am so I got out of my tent with my trowel and bathroom supplies as fast as I could, but I could barely hold it in and had to lighten my load without even digging a cathole or I would have lightened my load on my shorts. Without getting too graphic, it was terrible, I was outside my tent for 20-30 minutes, and I was so so grateful I was the only one at the campground that night. This happened maybe 2-3 times more before I had to convince myself to get hiking again. Even still, as I was hiking I had to stop every 30-45 minutes or I think I may have died. If you’re unsure of what happens when you eat partially or uncooked beans, please educate yourself because it is terrible and really left me questioning why I wasn’t in a house with a functioning toilet. The rest of that day improved as my digestive system got rid of my crappy cooking. I actually did not see a single other soul for the rest of that day other than Martin and a trail angel at Mike’s Place – a trail angel house in the middle of the desert with water, food, and a place to sleep. I was the only person at Mike’s Place that night which was apparently very strange…I was made a vegetarian pizza and was even able to sleep on a twin bed in a very aged RV.
Woke up to a very foggy and cold morning and was very thankful to have slept in a very old (and pretty gross) RV. Hiked 27 miles and got a hitch from the trail to the Paradise Valley Cafe where I met the first of many AWESOME new friends trailnamed Smiles and Spruce. I ate a massive veggie burger as I got to know the new faces and then we figured out a ride to Idyllwild where we stayed at a very sketchy hostel (which ended up growing on me, but was probably sketchy because it was not super clean and it was night time). It was $15 for the night for a bed, laundry, shower, kitchen, etc. so the value was definitely there…but there was a cigarette butt on the ground next to my mattress.
Woke and immediately took a shower and started my laundry for a productive day. Smiles, Spruce, Rainbow, Nicole, Sam/Detour, and I all went into town to get groceries/get breakfast/etc. I ate a massive breakfast, got my food package, and got some postcards. Went back to the hostel and talked to a guy named Jeremy from Arkansas as I wrote my postcards. Finished up errands, got food, and sent my postcards out before we all decided to get back on the trail. We split up into two groups to get hitches more easily. Nicole, Rainbow, and I were able to get a hitch pretty fast and I got a picture with the Idyllwild MAYOR who is a super furry GOLDEN RETRIEVER!!! We then met Giggles and Leah (which was the start of a beautiful friendship). Nicole, Rainbow, and I hiked into the night to get as close as possible to Mount San Jacinto in order to prepare for the ascent to ~10,000 feet of elevation the next day. We cowboy/cowgirl camped together under two massive boulders after crawling through a crack the boulders created.
We woke up at 3am and nighthiked to the top of Mount San Jacinto to see the sunrise, but Nicole was the only one who actually saw the sun physically rise because Rainbow and I were much slower on the ascent. The views were absolutely stunning from the top even though it was freezing cold and only Rainbow brought his sleeping bag to the top which was very wise because we slackpacked (hiking with just a small pack w/ food and essentials). After taking in the unbelievable views we descended and took a break at the bottom of San Jacinto. I got ahead of the group and saw even more amazing views. Finally made it to mile 200, but I hadn’t seen anyone all day other than a woman named Stacy from Scotland. I was quite confused on where everyone else was from my group, but later discovered that Nicole (who I had given the trailname “Glider” – because she was so fast) had injured her ankle and the other people I was hiking with had to help her get a ride to town. (Did I curse her somehow?! I don’t know, but I hope not!) By the end of the day I had hiked 26 miles and camped with two British cousins named Jordan and Sophie then Rainbow and Martin showed up and camped with us.
Awoke to bees buzzing all around my tent and mosquito bites covering my entire body. This was the day I began to feel like a human juice box for mosquitoes. At 6am it was already so hot outside I had to get back on the trail. Only had a small gulp of water left and 2-4 miles of hiking to do to get to the next water source. Made it to the water source and met a couple from Prague, Czech Republic. Filled up water and got hiking again on the HOTTEST day of hiking so far in my opinion. This was also the day where we would all reach the second lowest elevation point on the whole PCT. I made it to an underpass where trail magic is often left and discovered a coca cola, banana, and a packaged apple pie. It was so delicious and necessary. Rainbow made it to the overpass and we decided to hitch into a small casino town called Cabazon to get a milkshake for me and Chinese food for Rainbow. Found a hitch within 15-20 minutes, got our food, ate, then took 30-45 minutes to find a hitch back to the trail…shout out to Todd for the hitch! I stupidly got hiking as soon as we got back to the underpass/trail around 1-2pm (THE HOTTEST POINT OF THE DAY). I was hiking in brutal heat and made it the Mesa Wind Farm – a hiker friendly wind farm which had ice cold water, shade, and Wi-Fi. I saw Martin and a guy named Cameron from Scotland there where we lay for hours hoping the heat would go away. I took off my shoes to realize that I had lost one of my sandals so my second unofficial trailname became Onedal (One + Sandal). I was able to Facetime my parents after Martin and Cameron left before Rainbow and the Prague couple showed up. Around 4pm Rainbow and I headed back to the trail and he decided to camp after hiking a massive hill. I continued onto the Whitewater Preserve which was full of mosquitoes, but also really beautiful. Jeremy, Martin, Giggles, and Cameron were all there and I decided to cowboy camp which got me bug bites on my face and all over my body unfortunately.
Woke early and was one of the last ones to leave before starting a long day of hiking. Eventually made it to the Mission Creek water source where Leah, Giggles, Martin, and a couple named Abby and Kaj (pronounced Ky, and also another amazing friendship beginning) were all laying in the shade. One by one we got back to hiking and then me, Giggles, and Leah ate lunch in a very shady spot further up Mission Creek. I passed Leah after lunch until a frightening moment. I was walking in a dense grassy area and as I was crossing a muddy log I was about to take another step with my left foot before I realized that a young rattlesnake was looking directly up at me. I was probably 4-5 inches away from stepping on it and it really got my heart pumping. I waited a little and then Leah came to the grassy area. We just looked at the rattlesnake for a few minutes as it sat smack dab in the middle of the trail staring back at us. I considered picking it up with my trekking poles as Leah considered throwing rocks at it until it finally moved off trail. It didn’t make any rattling noise this whole time until I took one step forward as it retreated into the marshes and all of a sudden it was rattling away. After this seemingly near death experience the three of us continued onward and upward. We were a little ambitious with our mileage goals that day and when we reached a decent camping spot we decided to stay there for the night instead of hiking 4-5 uphill miles. This was the night I found out why Giggles is aptly trailnamed Giggles. His laugh is intensely hilarious and can be perfectly summed up as a guy poorly attempting to imitate a girl laughing.
Another morning with bees as a morning alarm! This day was filled with some of the most amazing views which I thought were similar to the amazing views surrounding Mount San Jacinto with pine trees abundant. Giggles and I hiked together a bit this day and we passed a private zoo full of exotic animals used for movies which was pretty sad because you would see these massive grizzly bears in minuscule cages. Giggles’ achilles heel was hurting at one point so I continued on and discovered a couch in the middle of the trail put there by Big Bear Hostel I believe. I waited there for 30-45 minutes hoping Giggles, Leah, etc. would show up for a group picture but no one showed up! I hiked downhill for a few miles to the Arrastre Trail Camp where I officially met Abby and Kaj and got to know them. Giggles and Leah eventually showed up and it was a great time as I ate some delicious Annie’s mac and cheese with instant garlic parmesan mashed potatoes.
Cold morning awakening, ate oatmeal, started hiking. Very simple day where we made it to mile 266.1 in order to hitch to Big Bear Lake, California. We stayed at the Big Bear Hostel overnight which was totally worth it. We all ate absurd amounts of food, as is normal when in town after hiking for days on end. I met up with Mark Black – a NPS SUPER volunteer who I had met and performed community service with at Joshua Tree National Park, who ALSO summitted Mount San Jacinto the DAY before me. We got dinner and then we all went grocery shopping. Later that night most of us decided to go see Deadpool 2 which was a hilarious movie by the way.
Woke up and had an easy morning where we prepared food and such. I bought too much food (as I seem to do often…still working on the perfect amount of food) and shipped a lot of it to Wrightwood, my next trail town resupply point. Pretty easy hiking day with views of Big Bear Lake which ended in cowboy camping at a pretty nice campsite with a few other thru-hikers.
June 2nd (MY BDAY – WOOP WOOP)
Happy birthday toooooo you…happyyyyy birthday to youuuu…I awoke to my trail family (Leah, Giggles, Abby, Kaj) singing happy birthday to me as I was eating my breakfast. They put an emergency match in a Snickers bar, 10 points for creativity y’all. This was the moment I realized that being surrounded by people you connect with is an almost essential part of successfully thru-hiking the PCT. Who else would light a makeshift birthday candle with a makeshift birthday cake for you? This long day of hiking led us through some beautiful river spots and eventually to the infamous desert hot springs (clothing optional). Earlier we took a group picture at the 300 mile marker where I almost dropped my phone down a massive cliff trying to take a selfie of us all. When we got to the hot springs we HAD to eat because the trek was much tougher than we expected. After dinner we all got in the water which was so necessary and refreshing. The transition from hot water to cold river water over and over again was honestly such a great feeling. PLUS, my old friend MATT (who now has the trail name Flow) was at the hot springs which was awesome because after that he pretty much joined our trail group. Love u Matt. Very successful birthday for sure.
As usual, HIKING! This was another unbearably hot day where Giggles and I almost went insane. We took shelter in a very poorly shaded spot around 12pm. As each 15 minute block of time passed our shade decreased dramatically and we had to push our bodies and packs further up a steep slope. After a long couple of hours we continued hiking and made it to a lake which almost seemed like a mirage…how could a lake like this exist in the desert?! By the end of the night we all made it to the Cleghorn Campsite after having gone for a swim and almost everyone but me drank filtered lake water (I wasn’t that desperate yet). Abby and Kaj ordered pizza for us all at the campsite and within 30-45 minutes the pizza was there and we devoured it. On top of this, there was a graduation party of some sort where I first realized we are truly hiker trash. They had a graduation cake and threw away the containers in the garbage. After most of them had left we got the containers and ate all the icing they left over which was AH-MAZING.
We all hiked to McDonalds (which is designated on the PCT trail signs for some odd reason). We stayed there for hours and hours gorging ourselves on milkshakes, fries, and for me – a salad. Within the second or third hour we all went outside McDonalds and took naps in the parking lot wherever we could find shade on the very hot and windy day. This was in Cajun Pass, CA which is basically a highway town, so it was also super noisy. I was the first to leave of our group and a guy named Garrett (Lord Meme) also joined our trail family and hiked with part of our group that day and is still with us today! By the time I left around 4:30pm it wasn’t too hot and the wind definitely helped with the heat. We hiked into the night and I thought I would not see anyone until Matt/Flow showed up. We tried to hike to the very peak of the nearby ascent, but made it about 7 miles short because we were so tired and were hiking into the night. However, around 2am Matt and I were woken up by Abby, Kaj, Jeremy passing us and then shortly after Leah, Giggles, and Garrett passing us. The latter group ended up hiking to the peak until 4 or 5 am which is INSANE.
Another day, another hike. I was the first one up and passed all of our group including Leah, Giggles, and Garrett who were at the top getting their second or third hour of sleep (lol). Our group met up at the Guffy Campground and ate some lunch while filling our water after a ~17 mile water-less stretch. We ended up contacting a VERY small Air BnB whose maximum capacity was 4 people if 8 of us could stay there in Wrightwood, CA. Finally we made it to the highway where we got some free beers from a trail angel. The same trail angel ended up driving by us as we waited for a hitch and asked if one of us needed a ride. I rented the Air BnB so I went with him to get the situation figured out. I got to the place and it was so nice and cozy inside. Took a shower and did laundry before the rest of my group arrived. Everyone immediately began doing laundry, showering, etc. it felt like a small community home. It was a great feeling. Matt, Giggles, and I then went to the grocery store before Matt and I went to the Yoddler, a smalltown Wrightwood restaurant. Most of our group came down and met us there for dinner and then we all went back to the Air BnB and watched quite possibly the funniest terrible movie ever – 40 Year Old Virgin. We all went to bed and I said my goodbyes to Abby and Kaj who unfortunately only had 2-3 weeks left to hike so they decided to skip ahead to the Sierra Nevadas (arguably the most beautiful parts of the PCT).
We all left the Air BnB together in separate hitches and continued our trek. We hiked Mount Baden Powell and then met up at the Little Jimmy Campground where most of us cowboy/cowgirl camped for the night. Pretty simple and epic views day, which is very characteristic of the PCT. Although, it was filled with a ton of crazy elevation gains and losses which always makes your legs feel great.
Hiked early in the morning until I got to the Cooper Canyon Campground where I met up with Jeremy, Matt, and Giggles for a bit. It was next to a stream so it was a good place to rest and eat some lunch. Jeremy hiked ahead to the Sulfur Springs Campground and I met up with him there where we ate dinner. Garrett showed up, then a girl named Heather from Mount Laguna, and finally LEAH!! Twas an awesome night of laughter and then Matt and Giggles showed up just as the rest of us were going to sleep. This was also the day we made it past 400 miles which is such an invigorating feeling.
A hilarious morning which followed a hilarious night, Jeremy has the worst hiker hobble I have ever seen. If you don’t know what hiker hobble is then you need to go hiking for a few hundred miles and notice how you walk when you stop hiking for a break or something. It’s insane. We got to our water source early (the Fountainhead Spring) where there were dozens of cute honeybees flying all around us. After this we hiked to a fire station which had water and bathrooms. We migrated to a shaded tree area where we stayed for a few hours to wait out the sun. Unfortunately, we had to get 6 liters of water for another long dry stretch. We met up at the Messenger Flats Campground where we met a girl named Lee who is another AWESOME person. This night had one of the most picturesque sunsets I have ever seen, but I was unable to capture any good pictures because I was so tired and in my tent already.
We got to a ranger station with water AND snacks/sodas/Gatorade available. Giggles, Leah, Lee, and I were all there and then someone at the ranger station gave us AMAZINGLY ripe cantaloupe which was much needed trail magic. Our group got to the KOA campground (Kampgrounds of America) where we bought snacks, swam in the pool, and hung out for a few hours once again waiting out the heat. I left and made it to Agua Dulce which is a pretty small town, but has a crazy awesome trail angel house famously referred to as “Hiker Heaven.” I actually ended up seeing Phil and Cheng from my FIRST DAY in the “downtown” area. I ordered a massive pizza and got some groceries before a volunteer shuttle from Hiker Heaven picked us all up. We got to Hiker Heaven a few minutes later and it was such a great site to see. The place is so organized and efficient that it made life so much easier. Matt, Leah, and Giggles arrived as well and we watched the series “Life” narrated by David Attenborough on a big flat screen in the comfort of an air-conditioned trailer on a super comfortable couch. A lot of people we knew previously were all here such as a guy named Hot Wheels and a guy from France named Romain who I had met in Mount Laguna. It is truly a wonder to run into people you think you might never see again after they hike ahead of you, but then you spontaneously run into them.
Chickens chickens chickens. Hiker Heaven has tons of chickens which are sure to wake you up in the morning. It was about 5:30am when the chickens first began poking their heads around my tent’s vestibule looking for food apparently. There is one aggressive rooster who also was making the famous rooster call every five seconds. A lot of the hikers that were here last night ended up leaving early in the morning as Hiker Heaven volunteers who run the whole operation drive them to the trailhead. Matt, Jeremy, Leah, Giggles, a guy named Greg, and I all were shuttled downtown to a breakfast place to get food then get groceries. Another massive breakfast. A woman saw us at the grocery store and asked if she could buy us some coffee/drinks at the grocery store coffee area. We said heck yeah and this amazing woman got us drinks then drove us back to Hiker Heaven. We all sat around Hiker Heaven doing errands and just generally relaxing as most of us were taking our first REAL ZERO mile day there. There is peaceful acoustic music playing around the property throughout the day and the whole property is perfect with the amount of shade it has and how beautiful the views are. Definitely my favorite hiker friendly spot so far on the trail because of how organized and kind everyone there is. They actually have been doing this same thing year after year for TWENTY years. Simply amazing. Throughout the day we just hung out and relaxed for the first time in weeks. Leah, Jeremy, and a few others decided to get a ride to the trail today to get back out there, but Matt, Giggles, Garrett, and I all decided to stay the night. How could we not? It’s great here! We plan to leave early in the morning to get back to our ever amazing adventures. Preparing for the next few weeks for extremely hot and dry sections of Southern California. Here we go! Also, my official trail name has been (for now) dubbed: Birdman. Because of my love of birds.
Things I have been thinking about in regards to the PCT:
It is deeply humbling to be hiking with human beings who have the same or very similar goals in mind. We all share the same burden of surviving in the wilderness and we often suffer through tough times together which makes it all much more manageable. Future posts will hopefully be less diary-ish because the length is simply too long…but that’s probably because it’s been 3-4 weeks since I posted. A trail friend from Ireland just said it perfectly as I talked to him on this late night: “No bull shit from anyone, nothing but kindness and humor.” It’s true. People on the Pacific Crest Trail are as kind and generous as can be. I have had people offer me food, drinks, rides, etc. without a second thought. This is not only referring to trail angels, but also my fellow PCT hikers. Everyone is so incredibly kind towards one another that I wish every day life could be like this. We are so open towards one another and willing to help each other that it builds this massive sense of community where you feel connected to every single other individual who is on the trail. One thing made very clear to me so far is that sometimes you don’t know you needed something until you have it. And I, as well as many of you reading this and millions of other people, NEED experiences like this to truly “live.”
A trail friend of mine (trail name Pit Roast) had his WHOLE pack stolen which is insane!!
Another group apparently had someone on a highway throwing machetes out of their car windows?
Turns out the desert is hot? WHO KNEW?
P.S. I did not have enough time to spellcheck/grammar check/read through this post again so please ignore all of my foolish errors.
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Keep up the good work man! I love reading your updates about the successes of the hike, free apple pie, and the honor of being acquainted to meme lord. Absolutely incredible. Also, the tragedy of the uncooked black beans was heart wrenching and made me shed a single tear. In all seriousness, all your friends back on the east coast are routing for you man. Keep us posted because these blog posts are better than Game of Thrones.
Just got your July 10th/ Mammoth Lakes postcard. Hope you caught that bus…ha ha ha!
We’ve been having a great time living vicariously through you here at the office. I’ve got all your postcards pinned up on the hallway board in order.
Thinking of instituting a new requirement that all of our interns take on some fantastic journey after their internship & report back to us poor schlubs stuck in the office.