Mile 454.5, Hiker Heaven to mile 478.2, Casa de Luna! 23.8 PCT miles + 1.5 miles off trail to the Casa de Luna, 25.3 miles total
Running total: 504
We were getting picked up from our hotel at 7am for an ambitious gameplan: hike nearly 24 miles to Casa de Luna! We didn’t know if we would make it, but we had high hopes with our fresh legs and full bellies!
Some people(/idiots) try a 24hr beer challenge, drinking 1 beer every mile between Hiker Heaven and Casa de Luna- a. I hate carrying my food and water, I cannot imagine a whole case of beer! b. I feel dehydrated without even drinking, add beer to that? Ugh. c. Warm beer? Bleh. Idiots. It was going to be hard enough without the beer…
We started the morning where we had left off, with a nearly 3 mile road walk.
When we finally made it back to the dirt, we climbed up above the Agua Dulce Movie Ranch, where it appeared that they were filming something! A 20th Century Fox truck rolled by us, and we saw two sketchy men dressed in black, both with their hoods up, one walked by us with binoculars and the other was hiding in a bush facing the set….
In this first climb of the day we gained 2500 feet in elevation- while some parts were steep, others were just longggg, steady inclines. I was sleepy & my pack was super uncomfortable- I had pain in my neck that radiated down my arm and caused a weird tingling-like sensation but was too friggin tired to take the time to stop to readjust.
The climb finally ended at the 8 mile mark, where we decided to drop our packs, sit-down, and take breakfast #2/lunch #1. We all agreed that we would break the day up into an unequal 3 parts and planned to take our second lunch at a bench 9 miles away.
In our next section we went down 1500 feet, only to climb back up 1000 feet! While the scenery was again gorgeous as we alternated between desert and rainforest green, my feets were a hurtin!! Every step hurt, which is kind of ironic: we had gone to REI on Saturday and I ended up buying a pair of shoes one size up to be sent 100 miles ahead- while my feet were almost outgrowing my current shoes, I still found them comfortable and they were in great shape, despite being on mile 400 in them! Welllll, go figure today my feet HATED my shoes, which made me not a big fan of this second section of our day!!
I was so psyched to come across the bench! I threw down my pack, cuddled up with my snack bag, and wondered if I’d ever be able to hike again. We were soon joined by Arc and Big Momma and discussed the rest of our day- we had less than 6 miles to go, but we were all hurting! Arc’s feet hurt, Matt’s ankle was bothering him, and Big Momma was so tired that she took a small siesta in the last section! We also chatted with Aaron (who we had named Man in the Yellow Hat) who was also dying- what was in that Agua Dulce water?!? Everyone we talked to was dead today!!
Less than 6 miles and an “easy hitch” to the Casa de Luna stood between us and Taco Salad(served every night at Casa de Luna!)- so we knew we had to keep on keeping on.. and if we wanted to get there before sunset, we had to get moving asap! The third and final section of the day was the simplest, but it was less enjoyable ’cause I really had to go to the bathroom!!!! and I just wanted to be done with the walk.
Matt and I arrived to the road for the “easy hitch” only to find NO cars on the road. We started the 2 mile walk towards Casa de Luna and although cars started passing, NOBODY stopped!!!! I was still fine to walk, but I was getting upset- I knew Arc and Big Momma were both beat and I had lured them those last 6 miles with the promise of an easy hitch- what were they gonna do when they reached the road?? Shittt!!
Matt and I were 0.5 miles away from the Casa de Luna when a pickup truck pulled over carrying Arc, Big Momma, and our new friend Joe Dirt!!! We threw our packs in the back and climbed in…for the 0.1 mile drive to the Green Valley Market.
As we were unloading our packs a lady in the parking lot rolled down her window and asked, “you guys want some dinner??” – I recognized her from somebody’s blog from last year!
Happiness is: Terrie Anderson! Ice cream! and Taco Salad (which is really a nacho bar!)
“Are you Terrie??!!” I asked, excitedly!
Yep!!! It was Terrie Anderson, the owner of Casa de Luna, another famous, magical PCT stop. Terrie was out looking for late stragglers coming off the mountain, and offered to drive us to her home after we did our grocery shopping.
I bought the essentials: an ice cream sandwich(eaten right away!), Gatorade, a dill pickle, a Mexican cookie, and Sweedish Fish…
We jumped in the car with Terrie & soon arrived at the Casa de Luna. We got the quick run down/rules(we must wash hands before serving ourselves…) then feasted on the nacho bar!! Nomnomnom. We hung out a bit on the couches out front then set up our tent in the “Magical Manzanita Forest” maze in their backyard and passed out…(more pics tomorrow…)