Day 42 (May 19): PCT Mile 508 – 517.6

The Wonderful Wee Vill Market

Beginning Elevation = 4,700
Ending Elevation = 3,050
Weather: 50-60°F, rain, sunshine for a few hours, then more rain

The rain seemed to be constant from when we set our tents up yesterday evening through the night and into the morning. Overnight, there were some extreme winds. After writing my post, I laid listening to my Harry Potter audiobook, just watching my tent frame shaking with each gust. The ole Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL1 stood strong!

I awoke around my usual time I believe. I could hear Kool-Aid awake too. As the rain lightly pelted our tents, both of us had the weather on our minds right away. I turned my phone on and checked the radar using my weather app. As best I could tell, it looked as though it should clear up between 8:00-11:30am with rain before and after. We had about 10 miles of trail before we reached a “town” of sorts, and so I told him I was going to make a break for it. He was in.

Since we had some time, we each had some oatmeal for breakfast (quite the universal choice for hikers, although I’ve heard of some doing granola and powdered milk) and coffee. And then began packing up.

I tried a new technique of packing by putting everything but the tent itself into the pack while still being covered. Then, when we thought we heard a break in the raindrops I jumped out. I quickly dismantled, folded, and shoved the tent in wherever it fit, which ended up being my outside mesh pockets. Then, hot pink rain cover on, shirt tucked in with rain coat on, warm gloves on (warm for first 17 minutes prior to getting soaked), and I was ready to knock this section of trail out.

Of course, just as we got going at 7:36am, the rain started up steadily again. And to add to it, the trail decided that now would be a good time for plants/bushes to reach out overgrown across the trail. I led the way through the jungle and soon we were quite wet, not soaked, but the fronts of our clothes were fully saturated from the rain-catching foliage.

It stopped raining around 8:30ish maybe and slowly the sun actually made its way out. This whole section was downhill. Looking back, we could see the cloud remaining on the hillside.

We moved along at a good pace with few breaks. 3 miles down the trail, we came across Cheer at the campsite we’d originally planned on. Her and Calzone had made it there just before the rain the night before. We continued on while she packed up and saw Calzone ahead just cruising.

Eventually, we got down into some foothill-like things, that separated the taller mountains where we’d come, from the flatish valley ahead…

We had some serious beef with the trail designers today. It just wasn’t making sense. Rather than cut down and go straight across, the trail climbed and descended several times and wound it’s way back and forth through numerous valleys. We did see some fences and signs suggesting that private property boundaries were nearby, so that’s likely what was going on. But still…frustrated we were.

Finally, we descended down into the flat area and made a straight shot for the Highway 138 crossing. Here’s a shot of Calzone racing toward the finish line.

We couldn’t have caught her if we dropped our packs and sprinted. Cheer also passed us during the home stretch. There were some menacing skies off to the west/northwest.

Around 11:30am-ish, we made it to the highway without getting rained upon. The quick math was about 10 miles in 4 hours, so about 2.5 miles per hour. Fast, but not super fast. Still, my feet and joints were aching from not taking breaks.

At this trail/highway junction is a place called Hikertown. It’s sort of in the same realm as Hiker Heaven and Casa de Luna, spots I’ve visited already, but some hikers had voiced concerns in the Guthook’s app about it being a bit dodgy and a strange vibe. The girls had planned to go to another place about 8 miles east down the road called the Wee Vill Market, which allowed free tenting behind their store.

While discussing what to do, a red Prius pulled out onto the road and began driving along the shoulder towards us. It honked and so we made our way over. The driver said they were having a barbecue at Hikertown and to walk over, that he’d see us over there. Sounded good to us, so we went to check it out.

Its kind of hard to see, but it’s an interesting setup with several little “sheds” painted and designed like an old western town. One was labeled Post Office, another might’ve been General Store, you get the idea. And you could stay in one for $10 a night. They had a mattress each I think. Not much else like food or showers.

To shorten this story up, we basically found out that this place and the market seem to be competing for the hikers’ business. He was doing all he could to convince us to stay including lying about and badmouthing the other place. We saw right away why folks had gotten mixed feelings about the place. Kool-Aid didn’t seem too bothered, he was really liking the idea of having a roof to sleep below with the dark skies and rainy forecast, so he stayed. Very understandable. But, I opted to join Calzone and Cheer in checking out the Wee Vill Market.

They called for the advertised free ride and soon, our man Victor picked us up in a minivan along with two other hikers. After a short drive, we arrived.

There were many hikers here, which made us feel better. They had a fenced off area with picnic tables and a small grassy area for tenting, just for us hikers.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing around this place. We set up our tents just in time before a rain shower started up. The three of us had some lunch at the small grill/restaurant that was inside the market (we all opted to go for omelettes), we did some food resupply, and each spent some solo time inside our tents while it rained.

For me, I used that time to catch up with stuff on my phone and tried doing a video chat with the fam back home. I think I prefer to do just a phone call, but I’ll need to give another attempt when I have a better connection. It was nice to see them all in the little camera view though!

Later in the afternoon, the hikers who had stayed the night before began getting ready to go back out to the trail. It seemed like such an odd choice to me seeing as the weather was still bad and expected to be bad for a while still. They all seemed to have this idea of night hiking this next stretch for some reason. We’d thought about it too before actually, it’s common to do so for this next section because its usually super hot, but tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 62 degrees or something. So didn’t make sense to us.

I had a nice time in the grill/restaurant for the couple hours around dinner. Songbird had caught up to us and Dock, a guy called Growler, and another named Pierre stopped in too. We celebrated Cheer’s birthday with her by getting yet another pint of ice cream. I went for a Cappuccino Crunch flavor and she did something like Peanut Butter Bunny flavor.

At 8:00pm, the store closed and we each made our way to the tents. The view when we walked outside was quite ominous…

Only four of us were left staying the night, and upon arrival we had been warned that the place would fill up. Pierre had set up under an awning, but the three of us were all bunched over in the corner together…

Once again I find myself hoping for good weather tomorrow. Sheesh, I thought it wasn’t supposed to rain out here 😉.

One thought on “Day 42 (May 19): PCT Mile 508 – 517.6

  1. Rain rain go away…. or at least I hope you did the “Man of the House” rain dance. You could have actually seen it come to fruition. I think I would have sneakily stayed in the market for a dry evening 🤣🤭🙈

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