Tramily Reunion & GF Pie

Day 7

The sun rose as I watched from my tent, half in my sleeping bag. Yesterday Debbie stopped early, but Serendipity and I reconnected with her on our hike to Scissors Crossing. At the first road, we ran into Trail Angel Ghost. He offered us a ride to Julian and I thanked him, but said I didn’t want to miss a trail section. So he drove to the next road junction and picked us up there! Very kind of him to wait! Once in town, Ghost gave us a brief but thorough tour before vanishing.

A short time later… Karin and Parker arrived, yay!! Known on the AT as Hobble-It and All The Way, they will be joining us for the PCT! We did lots of hugging. Then we did a bunch of disorganized wandering like the cats we are (we named our AT tramily the Outdoor Cats). Those without dietary restrictions got free pie and ice cream at Mom’s Pies. Karin and I found vegan and GF pie options at Apple Alley Bakery. Not as good as my Dad’s pie, but the Apple Boysenberry was tasty. In fact, I later returned to get their lunch special: a half veggie sandwich on GF bread, salad, and another slice of pie!! Nom nom!

Serendipity & Debbie managed to resupply, devices got charged, and I washed my soaking container. Trail Angel Rangel gave us a ride back to Scissors Crossing. Loaded down with 3-4 liters of water apiece, we hiked several miles uphill, the grade gentle. I marveled at the blooming agave and the tall, spindly ocotillo.

We found a campsite for four and another around the corner. Parker had a scary rattlesnake encounter while walking over to chat. I decided to cowboy camp — with my groundcloth spread out it was like having a tent with invisible walls and the sky as my ceiling.

Day 8

Cowboy camping was a mainly positive experience. I woke a lot, but a vast field of stars greeted me each time and I enjoyed being immersed in nature. Plus I saw two shooting stars!

With ten miles to water, we all got an early start. I love how the PCT wraps around hillsides, offering almost constant views. There were so many wildflowers and we met a thru-hiker named Nicole who taught us about some of them. When we took a break, I was excited to eat food from my first resupply: homemade instant hummus and chips.

The water source was a cache maintained by trail angels. I walked the extra distance to check out a second source, a well that opened into a cistern of unknown depth. It felt a little creepy, but I had fun lowering the bucket to fill my water bladder.

The five of us hiked a couple more miles then found a large campsite. After eating dinner together, we holed up in our tents for a windy evening.

Day 9

Chilly wind and blowing fog kept us at a good clip. We did eight miles before 10:30 am and found comfort food trail magic (tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches) at Montezuma Valley Road. The home-made tomato soup was phenomenal!

After a relaxing break, Karin & I set out. Almost immediately we came across an adorable garter snake that slowly inched into the trail then zoomed across. The trail hugged hillsides before descending into grasslands that rippled like an ocean in the breeze. There was a brilliant patch of yellow flowers then a large black bull. Trees appeared along with rock outcroppings. We found a peaceful spot, a large sandy flat area edged by a quickly flowing silty creek. We stopped and laid out in the sun.

Debbie resupplied at the Montezuma Market then caught up to Karin & I. We decided to camp at the spot so as not to get too far ahead of Parker and Wendy. Karin hung her hammock, happy to be back in the air. I spotted a coyote near the creek and we watched it run uphill.

Oh, totally forgot, we passed the 100 mile mark before trail magic. Serendipity and I got a pic next to it, but it felt anti-climatic. Perhaps because I know I can hike 2,200 miles? This trail feels like it has challenges of weather (snow specifically) vs. distance. Or the AT was about proving I could hike a long trail and this one is about the journey of hiking one. The PCT feels more like home; the expanses, vegetation, and mountains remind me of western states where I have lived. I loved the AT, but I feel a greater sense of connection to this land. So excited to keep exploring!

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