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City: Palm Springs
Country: United States
Begins: May 30, 2011
Date: Mon, Oct 3rd, 2011
Trip Distance: 1,883.1
Entry Visits: 1,368
Journal Visits: 22,133
Guestbook Views: 967
Guestbook Entrys: 34
I am a hiker not a computer guy.
I slept hard and fast and stayed remarkably dry; my "fort" beneath the stand of pines was on a pretty substantail slope, but I managed to gather enough pine needles to have a somewhat flat surface to stretch out upon. I readjusted some of my gear and it was drying rather nicely. I slept a bit more and then I decided it was time to pack up. There was no way I was going to keep up with the wild bunch and after getting this far I was not going to be left behind! It was allmost daybreak and it looked like I was going to get another pounding. It was a bit surreal to be putting on dry clothing, being that I spent the night in a homemade shelter. I probably wouldn't stay dry for long, but it was real mental/emotional boost to start out the day, somewhat, dry and warm.
I told a couple of the guys that I was leaving and that I hoped to get there before them. I set out like a man on a mission and I pushed myself as fast as I could go. I hoped that my tent poles would be waiting for me, but it was possible that they would be gone for good. Sort of a bummer. Oh well, that's the way it is ....
I hiked up and down the hills and I started to wonder where Team Canada (minus one plus one) might be. There was a good chance that I would be running into them today. And (uncanny timing) I hear some singing, and whistling, and laughter. And there before me appeared Team Canada (minus one plus one) in all their rain gear regalia. They recognized me and started hooting and hollering when I told them I had already been to the border and that I was on my way back to the Rainy Pass. They posed for a couple pics and gave me such praise; they were genuinely happy for me and I for them. Finally, a celebration fitting the moment! Yesterdays celebration was a bit odd (trying to celebrate minutes after sobbing my brains out). I got to hoot and holler with the boys and I felt sooooo happy and grateful for the chance to celebrate my accomplishment with the mood and the moment better matched.
We went on our way and I returned to my foot race. I had to get to the campground before the others, I really don't think I could take being passed and left behind. I kept searching the surroundings for the place where I had popped up my tent last and everything sort of looked the same to me. Finally, far off in the distance I see the golden rods displayed on the hillside; my tent poles and I were reunited! God is good and I am blessed ....
I know I only have a mile to go and I am so relieved because none of the boys have passed me yet. I think this is really going to happen; the great escape! Then I reach one of the unmarked trail crossings and I end up taking the wrong fork. I know I am only a mile from the campground/parking lot, so I walk on the road and hope like hell that it is the road to the campground. Lucky for me it is. I walk all around and no one is in sight. I enter the campground and it is deserted, except for one small tent and a medium sized vehicle; hmmm that isn't at all what I expected.
The weather was really taking a turn for the worst. It seemed like the temperature was dropping and the rain was getting harder. I heard a couple people chatting in the small tent. I announced my presence and a young man and women pop their heads out of the tent. I tell them I just finished hike the PCT and they congratulated me. I told them I was in a bit of a dilemma, being that I was cold and wet and (music to my ears) they asked me if I needed a ride anywhere!!! I told them that a group of hikers were on their way back to the campground and that we were going to pile into a truck of some sort and get a ride to Rainy Pass, but I was really cold and would LOVE a ride to the nearest restaurant. The offered to drive me to Mazama and told me I could wait in their car.
They made some room in their front seat and I crawled inside as they packed up their camp. I am not sure what I was thinking, but the only dry clothing I had left was a cotton t shirt (not the best protection in cold, rainy, conditions) a wet pair of shorts, and some flip flops. I stuffed my rain gear and other wet stuff in a variety of ziplocks and I waited. I wondered if I should get a room for the night and/or if I should keep my completion a secret and hitch over to Everett and surprise Butchie. Once we were all loaded up we started to leave the campground and about four of the wild bunch had arrived and were hundled under a small roof area of the privy. I waved to them and wished them well. I told them I was heading over to the Mazama Store; I hoped that I would run into some of them there.
I had a really great visit with this young couple, who were both doing an internship in the area of growing botanical plants for medicine. It was a very kind and unselfish thing for them to rescue me and I was so grateful for their kindness.
I walked into the Mazama Store (a very cool, earthy, organic-y spot) and there was a little place to eat, a few isles of groceries, and even a limited selection of hip clothing! I went straight for the clothes racks!!! I found a pair of heavy duty pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a hoody. I didn't even go to the dressing room; I got dressed right in the isle!!!! ooooooohhhhhh, ohhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhh; clean, dry, warm, styling, regular folk clothing! I didn't even look at the pricetags (they were a bit pricey) and I noticed that the hoody zipped on the "wrong" side, but I didn't care that the hoody was a woman's ... I could pretend I was in Europe ....
I got myself a couple homemade cinnamon rolls and I tried to figure out my options for spending a night in the area. My gracious rescuers hung around for quite a while, waiting for me to get my act together and things weren't exactly falling into place. I didn't know what to do next. I really needed to watch my spending. I needed to get my phone charged. I needed to make some decisions about whether to try to surprise Butchie, or to see if he could come over a couple days earlier.
The young couple that helped me wanted to get going but they hauled me over to check out a lodging option. It turned out to be a "school" and not a place to stay. I didn't want to infringe on my helpers anymore so I unloaded my stuff and said my goodbyes. What a great couple of human beings!!!
I was out in front of the store and was getting ready to head in for a bowl of soup and this guy sort of shows up out of nowhere. He starts talking to me and it turns out that he is some sort of videographer that is working on a PCT video! He was staying at the motel that I was going to be checking out. At first, it seemed like a really fortunate meeting, but I started to get some strange vibes from the guy. The more we talked the more I started to feel like I was being hustled for money. I was tempted to get my own room (at the motel) and he offered to share his room (for a price). I really couldn't put a finger on why this guy was creeping me out, but I was not interested in staying in his room and even though I was willing to help foot the cost of the journey west I was in no position to fill his entire tank! I was not intersted in staying around for another day, either. I really needed to think about all of this, but the first thing I needed to do was plug in my phone and get a hot bowl of soup in me.
I had one of the best bowls of soup I had ever had in my life!!! I tried to pay for the soup but the staff was busy helping other customers. The videographer showed up and I just felt like I needed to get the hell out of there. I am not usually like this, but I walked up to a woman in the line and asked her if she was going west. She was obviously leery of me and when I told her that I had just finished hiking the PCT, she said, "you need to talk to my husband" he is out on the front porch. The way she said "you need to talk to my husband" I was not sure if she was interested in helping me or not; perhaps she was deferring to her hubby to tell me to buzz off???
I walked out on the porch and explained my dilemma. He was very kind, but they had a lot of stuff in their back seat and he wasn't sure if they had the room. He said he needed to talk with his wife and so I went inside, fully expecting the answer to be no. She came back in and told me otherwise!!! The had made a place for me in the back seat. I told the videographer I had a better offer and he seemed a bit shocked. It felt so good to not have to rely on someone that didn't really trust. Chances are that he was trustworthy (I hate to judge someone that I don't even know), but a gut feeling is a gut feeling and I had my "golden ticket" so off I went.
We loaded up and I quickly found out why the woman was so dumbfounded when I asked her for a ride, her husband was planning a PCT thru hike, upon retirement!!! Wow! How cool is that??? We had a great talk. I was treated to freshly picked organic apples and later we stopped at a roadside ice cream shop for one of the best malts I had had all summer. This couple knew the area and I felt like I had paid for a top notch guided tour. I cannot describe the feelings that bubbled up inside of me. Such kindness. Such goodness. Such serendipity. It turned out that they were not only willing to give me a ride, they handed me off (directly) to my friend Butchie. We said our goodbyes and the "angels" went on there way.
I don't know if either one of the "kind couples" will ever read this journal, but I need to let all those that do read it to know about their kindness and goodness, which was a highlight to my final day on the PCT; God bless you and yours .....
And so it ends; my solo, border to border, PCT, adventure. I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings. I apologize for making my entries so long after the fact, but I was battery challenged all summer long. I was tempted to let the journal go, but I needed to make my best effort to finish what I started; turned out to be a great vehicle for closure ....
As far as "the rest of the story" goes, I spent some time with a great friend (Butchie in Everett), my twin brother came through on some plane tickets (to Ontario, California), and Pete and Teddy welcomed me back with open arms/paws.
I have had a chance to rest and recouperate, but some of the body parts have a ways to go. I still have my pop, step, pop, ankle, but it is back to an occasional "pop." The other ankle was pretty trashed and is still tender to the touch. My oddest ailment is the second toe (next to my big toe) on my left foot; it hangs like a limp noodle and is numb half the time. I probably need to go to the doctor, but no job means no insurance, so for now I am just taking it easy and hoping it isn't going to be a lifetime deal.
I had tons of leftover food and I had turned our dining room into an outpost, so I have spent a fair amount of time trying to return the house back to normal. Probably the best thing I have done is spend hours and hours working in the yard and doing odd jobs around the house. I am grateul that I have had the time to heal, but I need to either get going on some sort of career path or figure out how I am going to get back to the trail; best case scenario is to figure out how to do both ....
I miss the trail: the endorphins, the singleness of purpose, the simplicity, the need and the sense of nearness to my Creator. I miss the photo ops and the rock hops and the town stops. I miss being outdoors from sun up to sun down and I miss the challenge and the privilage of hiking from horizon to horizon ...
I have been trying to sort out the 7,000 pictures, but at one point my computer crashed and I lost them all. Luckily, I had loaded many of them on my roomey's computer and the others I was able to piece together from the variety of camera memory chips. I have been deleting many, editing a few, and wondering what to do with the rest. I am supposed to be putting together a slide show for Pete and my cheering section; its hard to condense such a huge number of pictures (not to mention the stories and emotions that co with them) into a presentation that will not go on for hours. I am happy to hear they are looking for pics for the Class of 2011 video; unfortunately, I have a few other projects that need to be taken care of before I can work on that ...
I have always been prone to seasonal depression, so I am struggling. I think I made the right decision to finish the journal because it has jarred a lot of things loose again ... hope you enjoyed my ramblings ... sorry I didn't hear from many of you, but I didn't write the journal for that purpose so all is well and good ...
P.S. I was planning on inserting some pictures into the postholer journal, but that chore needs to be put on the back burner for now. I am considering extracting my postholer journal entries and adding my pictures in a different web type format; if anyone has any knowledge about that I would appreciate some guidance in my guestbook ... after all ... I am a hiker and not a computer guy ... peace, all ... 711
Going With The Flow
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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