Day 38 (May 15): PCT Mile 454.5 – 469.4

Up, Up, and Away

Beginning Elevation = 2,500
Peak Elevation = 4,600
Ending Elevation = 4,300
Weather: A bit hazy, 50-70°F ?

I was awoken by the roosters crow again. Well actually, I think that occurred before 5:00am, then I went back to sleep until around 6:00am when there was a mass exodus of hikers packing up to leave for the trail. Instead of rushing to get on the trail right away, I took my time.

I breakfasted with Mr. Kool-Aid at a table. He had a delicacy…a Hostess Cherry Pie. Mine consisted of stuff I’d gotten from Walmart the day before..a banana, grapefruit cup, and 6 hard boiled eggs (gotta get bulked up right). Calzone joked that I was trying to be like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast…

“When I was a lad I ate 4 dozen eggs, every morning to help me get large. And now that I’m grown I eat 5 dozen eggs, so I’m roughly the size of a barge.”

I may have had Kool-Aid beat in the food department, but he had the better coffee.

Afterwards, I washed my dishes with actual soap and water. I then proceeded to take down my tent and pack all the things. I debated for a while sending a package ahead with my micro-spikes and some other things that wouldn’t be needed until I hit snow again, but in the end didn’t want to deal with the hassle. I weighed my pack with food and 1.5 liters water. It was 35 lbs this time, not too bad.

I was ready to go. I thought I’d wait for the next truck shuttle down into town though, which would be at 10am. In the meantime, I did a little beard trimming (you won’t even tell though…I’m going for the rugged look these days, I hear it’s in)

Others were not going to the trail, but rather zeroing and planning trips to town/REI or getting prepared for a day of catching up on the current season of Game of Thrones. 3 Bean was pumped…

Before leaving this lovely place, the volunteers ask hikers to take a photo in front of the garage. I think they post it to their Facebook page. I’ll see if I can track the one of me, Grit, Calzone, Songbird, and Cheer. Here’s the garage with all the packages they’re holding for hikers!

A group of us clambered once again into the back of the white pickup and headed into Agua Dulce. Some hit the trail right away, most went to breakfast, and I headed to the grocery store. I got some toothpaste, a new water bottle, and my fav., peanut butter M&M’s.

10:28am Stevie Wonder stretched out and walking once again on the good ole PCT! Unfortunately, I was in for about a 2 Mile road walk to start off. Agua Dulce is one of the few towns that the trail actually passes right through.

To help pass the time, I started listening to my audiobook. I’d finally gotten it downloaded from the library again, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I’d started the series again for the umpteenth time back in Septemberish and had hoped to read them all with my hard copy books. I don’t read actual physical books too often anymore. Anyway, didn’t finish, so audio it is!

Eventually, I turned off to a dirt road and then finally back to an actual trail. At one of the junctions, I saw a girl continuing along past, having missed the turn. I yelled out and got her going the right way. Turns out she is a section hiker and this is her first day out here! We chatted for a bit, but I continued on ahead.

Soon, things opened up. The trail wound it’s way down and then upward out of this wide grassy valley.

Passed by looking down on this nice farm too

I had lunch with Calzone. Cheer and Grit showed up eventually too. They went on ahead. I was moving slowly to start out and also stopped to talk with section hiker girl (never did get her name). She said she had asthma, so wanted to make sure my fellow asthmatic was doing ok.

The trail continued going up. It was beautiful, but a tough stretch.

The grass turned into chapparel-like bushes and for a while, the wild cucumber vines covered them. Grit decided to dissect one, shes a gardener and was curious.

Towards the end of the hiking day, I had about doubled my pace. There were some rainy looking clouds on the horizon and so I was campsite hunting. I passed the spot I’d been eyeing on my map app since someone had beaten me to it and it was a bit slanted anyway. Then went a couple miles further before finding a secret spot hidden above the trail a ways off. I quickly set up and got things organized.

I decided to cook/eat dinner right from inside my tent. It all worked out very nicely. Stove worked well, I was blocked from the wind, and I was happy to have a Dave H gourmet meal! Ham and Potatoes today. His food really is a couple levels above the dinners I’d been making when purchasing myself. Add in the lemon pudding and it’s basically top notch cuisine.

Feeling good y’all!

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