Week 5: Finally Getting the Hang of the PCT

As a reminder, many of us are trying to find ourselves and we use long-distance hikes to do that. We look for a different perspective that isn’t necessarily influenced by others: just us within ourselves. Even with the good days on trail, we still have the stress of chores that need to be done in town. They may throw off our self-finding journey, but they will help make better adjustments.

Day 29

It seemed like I was up most of the night. I dreamed about a past relationship, and it bothered me. I figured it would haunt me while on this journey. I’m still working things out about my happiness and what I want in a relationship. For now I’m figuring myself out still, and I’m OK with that, at least for now. I will discuss my progress when I’m done with this journey.

This topic came up a few times with fellow male hikers. I adore most of the men that I meet and they’re amazing, but there are still the few slim pickings that are not great. Those ones usually need to work on respect, like don’t press on situations or comments. Once is enough. We’re all out here to improve in one way or another, so we all need to respect that.

I woke up early to get the big miles in order to get pizza with the three hikers I camped with last night. We got the pizza and boy was it what we needed: yummy carbs! I took it easy but still pushed the miles, ending with my second 20-mile day while on the PCT. I’m sore but I’m ready to be in town soon enough.

My battery pack is not enough for the five-day stretches, even when I minimize the usage. Camping alone again tonight but it’s not as bad as I use to have thought. I ate dinner while watching the pretty sunset after a long day. 

Day 30

Today I woke up and ate breakfast while watching this cute mouse-like thing poke his head out. I wanted to get into KOA to shower and get some good food. Pushed hard but it was hot and my body wasn’t having any. I still need to work on fueling my body by eating. It’s still hard with not having hiker hunger. A family friend brought me my resupply for the next couple days. She brought me two six packs of beer, which was awesome.

It felt so nice to take a shower after not taking one for a week again. These long stretches are kicking my booty, physically and emotionally. I plan on taking it easy the next couple days to recover and to meet up with my mom. Going easy is great for mind and body but tough for uphill in heat. I met up with a hiker that my dad and I gave a ride to earlier at Cabazon.

Day 31

Today is exactly one month that I have been on trail. Woohoo! After sleeping in, I left at 10 a.m. and it was already so hot. I spent all day in the blazing heat just to make it to Hiker Heaven before it was too late. It seemed to be the longest ten miles yet. Had to stop twice to roll my feet out and snack, and my water was already hot. Not fun drinking hot water in the heat of the day.

I reached the creepy tunnel I’ve been waiting for. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it was cool. Vasquez rocks were pretty cool after the tunnel. I probably hiked the best last three miles into town, seeing rocks famous in Star Trek and Planet of the Apes.

When I got into town, I hiked straight to Maria Bonita Mexican restaurant, and it was so good! I got the fajitas and a margarita with my friend. Hiker Heaven is cool for now as I haven’t experienced everything yet, but I will have to wait for my laundry and charging to be done.

Day 32

I’m finally over the emotional roller coaster. I’m having a good time on trail even though it’s still a daily challenge. I slept in as I was in no hurry to get anywhere today. For once I woke up hungry, so I ate my yummy leftover fajitas cold. All my charging and chores are ready for me to get back on trail.

While I was packing up my tent, the trail angels, the Saufleys, were trying to get me to zero. However, I really wanted to keep on schedule with meeting my mom to have a good zero or slack pack day with her. The boys finally caught up to me so we had lunch together before we went different ways. We had good times last time I saw them, which was at In-N-Out when they gave me my trail name.

I loved Hiker Heaven, but I finally dragged my butt to the trail. A church had a cooler full of cold water for us hikers, which was really nice even when I had enough. I needed it just for the refreshment.

Day 33

Woke up early to beat the heat, especially with a climb on my way to Casa de Luna. I was about ready to stop for my morning snack and there was trail magic! I got a Gatorade and a banana from trail angel Forklift. That prolonged my stop for my morning snack a little bit longer.

Right before getting to my lunch spot, I come up along a day hiker who is also a trail angel. He was hiking in to hand us some trail magic. I got a quite a bit of watermelon, which was really good. It’s so nice to have cold and refreshing drinks and food out on trail while it’s blistering hot out.

When I got to Casa de Luna, I set up my tent and then had dinner: nachos. Then I danced for my bandanna, which is tradition. It was a good day and night. Can’t wait to see my mom and be able to take a zero since I haven’t had one for almost three weeks. It doesn’t help when I’ve been pushing big miles.

Day 34

I did not want to wake up early this morning, but I pushed through the easy eight miles to Lake Hughes, where I will meet my mom. In the morning I had a pancake and coffee with Breakfast Essentials added. I rolled out my feet before getting the ride to the trailhead, and I felt much better than I did earlier this morning.

I took photos at Casa de Luna and at the trailhead with fellow hikers from this morning. My mom said she was going to be late so I had time to kill. I decided to take multiple breaks. Flies kept attacking me, so each stop didn’t last long.

Almost to the road and deep in thought, a rattler rattled at me. It scared the crap out of me as I watched it coil since I was not expecting to see one. I had to sit down and calm my nerves but yet again the flies were relentless. I was exhausted and mentally done with being on trail at this point.

One of the hikers I was with this morning ended up hurting his ankle, so I hitched into town with him. We got into town and had a snack at the Rock Inn suggested on Guthook. I shared my chili cheese fries and he shared his brownie a la mode. Everything was very good.

My mom picked us up and took him back to Casa de Luna. I ended up sitting there after others had asked for a ride to the trailhead. Instead, I got my box that I left at Hiker Heaven to make my trip easier on me.

Day 35

Zero day finally. We went to REI because I needed a new pair of pants. My air mattress was still having problems, but we ended up getting a new one. After REI, we went to Vasquez rocks so my mom could see them. I don’t know if it was a drill or the real deal, but there were cops, sheriffs, and two helicopters at the command post.

Tips and Reminders

  • Things from the past may or may not pop up out of the blue, but that’s OK. It’s part of the journey. 
  • Sometimes things from “real life” come to the trail, but you still feel comfortable alone. 
  • Listen to your body and give it what it needs.
  • Sometimes zeros are not relaxing and can be stressful.

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Comments 1

  • Ken Anderson : Aug 8th

    Great update Kali. It sounds like you’re really growing on the trail and enjoying the experience. I don’t know if you’ll be able to make it to Cascade Locks for PCT Days, but Thia and I are going and we’ll keep an eye out for you. We’d love to hear about your experiences first hand!


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