Somewhere around mile 350, I walked a slow uphill slog with another hiker who asked me the question, “So is walking the trail for you like walking through your journal of last year’s hike?”. It was a perfectly phrased question. I didn’t journal last year, beyond how many miles I’d walked and where I camped (who cares about that stuff when you look back?). And yes, while I’ve been completely absorbed in the new experience, I encounter full body memory recoveries of amazing experiences I had last year as I walk past spots, of times before last year’s hike became all about the crazy incident that kicked me off of it. I’m walking through the entire journey of last year, step by step, all emotions and epiphanies, encounters and extreme happinesses .. At the same time having the time of my life walking a new parallel journey. This was a very good decision to begin again from the beginning. I’m vibrant, happy, and have already passed the fitness level I was at last year. I’m “burning with the kiss of life” and I can do this. I am sure.
This last section has been cold, windy, and stormy (the “long hot dry section” on paper).. With perfect contrasts of desert and mountain… Of social fun and solitude.. There’s been more gear failures (dammit!).. And more realizations of how much I’m not completely reliant on gear to survive anyway .. Always creative solutions .. On to Agua Dulce after a diversion in LA! Life is amazing!
A Few Little Known Facts About the PCT
* If you encounter a volunteer trail crew fixing tread, they have to shout “HIKER” to the people working ahead so they know you’re coming and let you pass.. If you ask them, they will sing it instead, sometimes in perfect harmony.
* 8 people and 7 full packs CAN fit into a Kia sedan ..
* Usually trekking pole lines dragged across the dirt are a helpful indicator of which direction the trail goes.. However, sometimes the endearing hikers ahead of you are trying to get you to walk off a cliff instead (see pic above) …
* The enormous hanging paper daisies at the Evergreen Cafe in Wrightwood are all lined into the front door so that when you open it they get pulled up to the ceiling..
* The Sierra Club occasionally holds meetings out in the wilderness near Warner Springs and if you agree to listen (and participate) in their sexual harassment lecture, they will share their avocado and pulled pork with you
* The odds of dying of scurvy on the trail are very slim..
* McDonalds is not the Mecca of satiation and pleasure that you ran the last 4 miles for … You probably won’t feel good when you leave there and begin your 4,500 foot climb up the mountain…