Day 8: Mountain Valley Retreat to Mike’s Place
Back on the trail on day 8, after a wonderful Zero Day! A lot of folks had to wait around over the weekend because the post office was closed. Thankfully, Chery had picked my package up for me, so I was all packed and ready! After a beautiful morning hike with new friends I met at the retreat, I ran into so old friends at Eagle Rock (mile 106ish).
I made a pit stop at 2footadventures (an awesome airstream trailer that sells backpacking essentials) in Warner Springs, about 8 or so miles after I left Mountain Valley Retreat. So, when I came into Warner Springs, I met up with more people I had previously been hiking with. I thought I would run into them hiking later that day, but during my 26 mile trek, I barely crossed paths with another soul. I was completely alone for 15 of the miles. A friend can be 5 miles ahead of you and you might not catch up with them for days, if ever. Kind of a strange thought.
Day 8 was an interesting change of scenery. I walked through a boulder field. Reddish orange rocks surrounded me; some as big as a house! I was planning on stopping after 20 or so miles, but like most times on the trail, the plan went out the window. Dark clouds started to roll in; the wind picked up, as I was constantly having to hold onto my hat. I knew I needed to get shelter, or it could turn into a very miserable evening. So, 26.1 miles later, I made it to Mike’s place, after reading reviews on the Guthook’s App.
Hikers taking zero days will cook all sorts of food for all the other hikers. There is also beer and soda. As I strolled up, I saw the smiling faces of my friends that I ran into at Warner Springs. They greeted me with excitement and my heart was so happy and full, as was my belly.
Day 9: Mike’s Place to Mile 144
After being completely alone the day before, and honestly, a bit lonely, it was nice to hike with others again. This honestly surprised me. I thought I wanted to come hike the PCT alone and would want to get away from others, but it’s quite the opposite. I still need my alone time, but feeling part of a group on the PCT is something I’ve never experienced. My two friends were packing up and I asked them if they were heading out. One of them said, “well, whenever you’re ready, we are a team now”.
I don’t know if they will ever know how much that meant to me, and still does. I’ve never been the popular one with tons of friends. I have to invite myself half the time, to be included. I hate small talk, I’m introverted and a bit socially awkward, so I get it. However, I don’t have to ask to be included on the trail. We all look out for each other. I am part of many teams on the trail, all of which I love. They wait for me, look out for me, share with me (as I share with them) and this is all something I’ve never really experienced. Oh the trail love.
We were all set up by 530, making dinner and we’re looking forward to the sunset, until we all simultaneously looked down at our watches, realizing that watching the sunset would mean staying up for another 2 hours.
Day 10: Mile 144 to Paradise Cafe
Unfortunately, there was a fire closure just past Paradise Cafe (Mile 151.8). There was a longer route that was labeled as a detour for the fire closure, but everyone at Paradise Cafe, hitched to Idyllwild. Their argument was, either way, you wouldn’t be doing the PCT, and I agreed. We all hitched to idyllwild and unfortunately, had to skip 28 trail miles because of the fire closure. Had I been by myself, I might have taken the detour, but I have no regrets.
We took all took that night, and following days off. Woohoo zero days! Sadly, one of our beloved team members had to get off the trail due to an injury, but once he is healed he will be catching back up.
Day 11: Idyllwild Zero Day
What are zero days filled with? Laundry, grocery store runs, organizing food, hanging out with friends and resting all injuries/sore feet! Although trail days are quite spectacular, I do enjoy zero days with friends as well.
The biggest climbs of the trial so far lie ahead. How will my legs handle the ascent? Read next week’s blog to find out!