PCT Day 43

May 25, 2019

Mile 541.5 to mile 558.5, 17 PCT miles, + 1.2 miles into town for food, 18.2 miles total!

Running total: 585.5
Before going to bed last night Arc said, “hey guys, at least it’s not windy down here!”…I woke up around 0130 to the wind a-blowin, and my tent door a-flappin. After fixing my door I fell back asleep, only to wake up shortly after to the sound of somebody using a rock to hammer in their tent stakes- it’s unsure if this person had just arrived to camp or if their tent malfunctioned in the wind. THEN, soon after falling asleep again, part of our tent caved in, waking me up again! Matt was quick to jump outside to tighten the lines, which got the roof off my face and allowed me to fall asleep again.
I officially woke up shortly before 6- Matthew had dreams of hitting the trail by 0630 and getting into town early today, which most definitely did not happen. By the time we packed up and filled and filtered creek water it was 0730.

We had some rolling elevation gain in the first few miles, but nothing too crazy- just beautiful views!
We eventually met up with Arc, and then Bambi and Chief Lizard at a trail register, where we were able to admire(/dread) the climb to come: we knew that the morning included a pretty decent climb, but it was made more significant by us needing to climb DOWN into a valley only to climb out of it and up a mountain! Why must we go down to go up?!??

Admiring the valley we had to climb into, before tackling those switchbacks!

We applied our sunscreen and began the descent…and then the climb.

After a handful of switchbacks I passed Bambi and Chief Lizard taking a food break- I asked, “first or second breakfast?” – second. Second breakfast and a break sounded nice, but we had agreed to take our break 8 miles in, at the top of the climb around mile 549.

Matt was ahead, and I wasn’t sure if he stopped at the first peak or the second (the mountain had a small “m”-shaped peak) but I was really hoping for the first! The 0.6 miles to the next one seemed so far away!!

As I neared mile 549 I saw what at first I thought was a mirage- was that a red sun umbrella I saw? Is Matt sitting in a chair?!? Omg yes and yes!!! We happened upon the most beautiful Mojave desert trail magic! Baskets of fresh fruit, water bottles and a water cache, and a cabinet full of cookies!!!!!! AND, SHADE!!! We didn’t need it today (or maybe we did…we all got burned!) BUT holy shit in the dead of summer when people are melting, that shade could be a life saver!!!

Bambi and Chief Lizard joked it was third breakfast for them, but for me it was more like a bottomless brunch. I enjoyed the trail magic and polished off all of my snacks and some of Matt’s snacks, which our trail family jokes is the reason Matt has lost so much weight!

We spent way more time than anticipated at trail magic- Matt and I were the first of our group to arrive and the last to leave! Eventually we started our afternoon hike down the mountain- 9 miles down with small rolling hills throughout. And we hit mile 550!

Hoo you looking at?

At some point I passed by Bambi and Chief Lizard again enjoying a snack break- I asked, “fourth breakfast or first lunch?”- apparently Matt AND Arc both asked the same question when they passed! Great minds, I tell ya…

Shortly before arriving to the road for our hitch, we came across a picnic table with a list of trail angels.

After arranging a ride with an angel we headed to the road to wait. We were eventually joined by Bambi and Chief Lizard, who were waiting for Chief Lizard’s parents- they were visiting from England! And they brought us doughnuts and soda!! So cool!!

Bob, our trail angel, was super sweet and gave us some good tips for dining in Tehachapi. On the way to our hotel we stopped to grab our packages at Wit’s End, a local home that has been turned into a little “hiker Depot”- they accept resupply packages, serve as a mail drop, and have charging stations and wifi for hikers. So neat!

After checking into our hotel we decided to grab food before getting too comfy- we chose a Mediterranean restaurant, since Big Momma has never had any Mediterranean food before!! We walked the 0.6 miles there, ordered “too much” food (it’s never too much food…), and were waiting for our food when a mysterious man approached Big Momma from behind…
Happiness is: Big Momma’s family surprising her!! They drove all of the way from Tacoma, Washington to visit for a day!! AND they brought her dogs!!! <3!!!! It was super cool meeting them!

Their original plan was to surprise us on-trail with trail magic, but the timing didn’t work out for that. They were stocked with the food and equipment to BBQ, so they planned to spread some trail magic the next day at the trailhead!

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