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Thursday, May 10, 2018

PCT - Day 21: 5/9/2018 - Hiking by 3 am

Trail miles: 27.4 from 341.9 - 369.3
Miles hiked: 29.4

Today started off abruptly at 2:00 am when the alarm clock in the hotel room started blaring loudly. This was thanks to the room’s previous occupants.

After ripping the cord from the wall, all three of of us were wide awake. I decided to just start hiking. Anja (now trail named Southbound) and Legend joined me. We were on the road walk by 3:00 am. After chugging a Gatorade from the gas station we began our 27+ mile hike through the longest waterless section thus far. This day would take us up 6000 feet in elevation. I started with 6.5 liters of water in my pack.

We rejoined at a water cache 6 miles in where we all chugged another liter of water as the sun was rising.
Sunrise
Southbound and Legend pulled away while I hiked for a few miles with Smokey who has decided to generously turn back south once he reaches Wrightwood to go join another search for the missing Irish hiker from last year.

Trail
The day was very hot, and we had to walk a steep dirt road with no shade for over 5 miles around a detour due to large amounts of Poodle Dog Bush.

I pulled away from Smokey during one of his breaks and caught up with Debra who’s from New Zealand. We had a brief lunch in the shade of a pine tree and got to know each other a bit. I liked her from the first time we spoke and we enjoyed each other’s company briefly too.
Great Views
The mountain climber in me took over and I really wanted to get to the top of the climb. Near the top I met up again with Southbound. She and I hiked the rest of the day together. I felt stronger than ever. Views from the top of this ridge were astonishing. After hiking above the L.A. smog for most of the day in the shade less desert/burn area, it was really nice and energizing to be amongst big pine trees.
View of LA smog
Eventually, Southbound and I reached the road and there was a trail angel Noel waiting for us and immediately offered us a ride to Wrightwood.

Wrightwood was the most welcoming town ever so far. Southbound and I had a hiker trash moment just sitting in the shade in front of a Mountain Hardware store drinking Mountain Dew and sharing a beer. Then it was off to the Bear With Us Hostel for showers, etc.
Hiker Trash Moment
We met with Shank and Pocket Knife, Feddrica, and Sebastian for dinner. I sat happily with my new friends. I sat proudly for hiking the longest day I’ve done in my life.

Tomorrow is either a zero (if I can convince Southbound to stay) or a Nearo if I can’t. She and I hike at a similar pace, we share a similar sense of humor, and I want to keep her in my trail family if I can.
Resupplying
The next section is only 85 miles to Hiker Heaven near Agua Dulce. The weather is supposed to be cooler thankfully. The last few days I’ve learned a lot about myself and exceeded limitations I never thought I would.

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