Miles hiked: 23.4
Today was an emotional roller coaster. First, I woke up at 5:45am after SLEEPING ALL NIGHT!
Ranger and I hiked to mile 143 for and found the water cache stocked. We dropped $5 in the donation bag and took a couple liters each. Gratitude by itself does not even convey the immense feeling that I get when finding a water cache stocked in the desert.
It was sort of sad knowing you’re saying goodbye to a trail buddy. I knew that Ranger was getting off the trail at mile 151.9 and hitchhiking into Idyllwild. I was also getting off trail at mile 151.9 to walk 1 mile to the Paradise Valley Cafe for a burger and a beer, but I would later return to the PCT with intentions of hiking to the place where there’s a trail closure from a fire many years ago.
On the hike towards Paradise Valley Cafe, I realized I lost my sun hat. This sorta sucked, but I made do with two bandannas.
When I arrived at the café, I was surprised to see that Whiplash was already there. He had apparently hiked 25 miles the previous night in attempt to catch us, and he apparently camped less than 1/4 of a mile away from where Ranger and I camped last night.
|Buttons and Burgers|
Anyway after a lunch filled with many laughs and good stories from the trail, Surgeon, Sunshine, and I made our way towards the road and pretty much immediately got a hitch the 1 mile back to the trail. Whiplash was still packing his resupply and missed the hitch (sorry buddy).
Surgeon and I hiked together for a few miles and got to know each other a bit. Our conversation was great, and I opened up to her. I actually got emotional a little bit about a sensitive topic that I talk with very few people about. She consoled me with a smile and a hug.
This is what I love about the PCT. When you’re on the PCT, you get the opportunity to talk with people a lot and often bonds form so much quicker than in “real life” for reasons I still don’t understand.
Examples of this:
Surgeon and I met at lunch and I was nearly in tears hugging her about 5 hours later.
Ranger and I hiked together for a couple of days, and I would do anything in the world for him.
Whiplash and I have hiked and camped together off and on for few days, and I think of him like a brother already.
I have feet that hurt so bad that I named them “Hamburger” and “Hamburger Helper”. I was crying tears of pain when hiking this evening by myself down a steep side trail to a spring to get water. Yet... I can never quit this trail. It’s so much more than hurt feet. It’s healing my heart even though it’s also breaking it at the same time. The PCT shows you love from complete strangers is a good thing. Some of these people I’ll never even meet. The PCT is hope. The PCT is torture. The PCT is love. The PCT is whatever you see it as.
Some can look at a section of the PCT and just see blazing hot desert with sand and heat that literally chew your feet. Others can see that same section and see beautiful cacti, perfectly symmetrical yucca plants, and endless stars at night.
Right now, the PCT is my best friend. I just walked up a ton of elevation at sunset with feet that are minced meat, but it was gorgeous. I then proceeded to do a second toe surgery on my right foot’s big toe to remove the rest of an ingrown toenail that I clearly missed the first time.
So good night, I’m going to hug my best friend (the PCT) and cry myself to sleep now. My feet just need to suffer one more day, and then I can rest them on my zero day.