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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

PCT - Day 26: 5/14/2018 - Hiker Heaven

Trail miles: 24.1 from 430.4 - 454.5
Miles hiked: 25.2
Morning on the PCT
A steady breeze was just enough to make getting going in the morning tough. I hadn’t slept particularly well in my cowboy camping spot due to the cold. I just threw everything in my backpack and started walking just before 6:00 am. I was the first one on the trail and was rewarded with a good sunrise and the early morning light that makes for good photos.
Morning sunlight
We all sort of hiked our own pace, but often matching pace with each other just to enjoy each other’s company. For a good portion of the morning, I hiked mostly with Southbound Ziploc and Chilly Bin sharing good conversation which helped pass the miles on the less interesting terrain. We were briefly joined by HoosierDaddy, Opera, and Pacemaker (aka Tapeworm) too.
Trail Flowers
Much of the morning was spent with close attention to the trail since we were walking through a section that not only had a lot of Poodle Dog Bush, but it also was overgrown with poison oak.
Trail View
We were also blessed with Opera’s beautiful voice as her songs reverberated through the desert hills as she sang whatever her heart desired. We all love it when she sings.

At 10:00am, we had covered ten miles already. Our plan was to do only 14 miles and to kick back at the KOA campground with ice cream and take showers, etc. 
Hiker Tracks by Ziploc
This plan would change though. By noon we found ourselves toasting with pints of ice cream and wishing Socks was there to join us.
Ice Cream
We all ate our own pint of Ben & Jerry’s. I opted for some Americone Dream and washed those 1200 calories of ice cream down with a Mountain Dew.

That’s when we found out that KOA sorta sucks. We found out a shower was $10 per person, which we all thought was a complete rip off. Quickly we decided to not give KOA any more business. We would just hike another ten miles to Agua Dulce and walk a bonus mile to Hiker Heaven.
No way - KOA!
Powered by ice cream, we flew up the hillside gaining over 1500 feet with ease. I was even running short sections and playing air guitar to songs by Boston and Guns & Roses. I had a ton of energy. Somehow Ziploc stayed just ahead of me though.
Uphill Hiking
Chilly Bin fell back a little because she was feeling ill after our ice cream lunch, but after releasing some of that ice cream by getting sick on the top of a hill, she felt better and caught up with us at the highway 14 tunnel.
Tunnel under Hwy 14

More Tunnel
We hiked through the Vasquez Rocks County Park together. This is an interesting place, but after our long day most of us just wanted a shower, food, and sleep.

We walked into Agua Dulce and hitched up Darling Road to Hiker Heaven.

Hiker Heaven is run by volunteers at a trail angel’s house. There’s laundry, haircuts, showers, charging stations, kitchen access, lounging spots, bathrooms, and tenting spots. This place, while crowded, is a lot of fun.
Hiker Gang
After rushing through showers and wearing hilarious loaner clothes, we all rolled into town looking like true hiker trash. I personally was wearing a loaner men’s shirt and women’s yellow capris with hearts on the waistband and sparkling gems on the hips. Pacemaker was wearing pajama bottoms. We met Socks at the Mexican Restaurant and we also joined by Sebastian and Federica.

Loaner Clothes - Circus Act  & Pacermaker 

More Loaner Clothes 
We dined Thanksgiving style, with lots of laughs and discussed resupply plans, shopping lists, and night hiking plans for the next hot and dry section that includes a long boring walk along the L.A. Aqueduct.
We’re now less than 250 miles to Kennedy Meadows and the unofficial beginning of the Sierra Nevada mountains. We are all looking forward to it, mostly so we don’t have to carry 10-15 pounds of water everywhere we go.

Circus Act Antics
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