PCT Day 68-74 (Days 20-26 off trail)

June 19-June 25

Total off-trail miles: 11
Running total: 693.2

June 19
Off-trail miles: 1
Wednesday we r-e-l-a-x-e-d, only leaving the hotel to buy some groceries down the road and grab Chinese dinner from across the street. On the way back from picking up dinner I was stressing out about all the $$ I was spending on take-out- and look at my fortune! Ha!
I love how we are easily recognized as thru-hikers when we walk around town, although having been off-trail for so long I almost feel like a poser at this point! Numerous people in town asked us if we were “one of the walkers”- and one man pulled over while we were walking home from the grocery store and said, “get on in, hiker trash, I’m headed your way!!” (He was most definitely not heading our way and we were two seconds from our hotel so we declined…)
Inyokern may be “100 miles from everywhere,” but everywhere within 100 miles of Inyokern was a scorching 100°- ugh! Matt and I were looking for an escape from the heat and threw around different options (road trip to Santa Barbara, up to Yosemite, over to Zion, etc!), but decided to rent a car and drive to my parents’ house in Arizona…cause, you know…Scottsdale isn’t hot in the summer…🤷 My mom was going to be there for another day, and Matt and I could then maybe/hopefully/fingers crossed/pretty please borrow my parents’ car to drive up to cooler climates. We thought we would day hike in Sedona and Flagstaff before returning to Bakersfield to get Jaws’ damn jaw unwired!
Since rental cars were significantly more expensive today, we decided to stay at the hotel another day before making the long-ass drive to Arizona.
June 20
Off trail miles: .8 miles
We picked up our rental car, packed up our room, and started our 7 hour drive to Arizona. It took us 9 hours. (We have a habit of buying lots of car drinks- then needing to pee- then hey! look! More drinks! It’s how we road trip.)
So weird. We stayed in this hotel on day 29, mile 356!
We ate here day 29, mile 356!
We climbed down that mountain, San Jacinto, on Day 19, mile 209

It’s wild- those top two pics of the Best Western and McDonald’s were taken 1 hour before the San Jacinto picture- and yet it took 10 days and just under 150 miles to get there on foot! But in those 10 days we formed our trail fam 🙂 xo

Once finally arriving in Arizona we had Greek for dinner with my mom, then hung out for a bit before bed time.

June 21
No off trail miles!!
The day started with a drive to the airport to drop off my mom AND our rental car.
Matt and I spent rest of the morning relaxing(/napping for me!), the afternoon running errands, and the evening driving up to Flagstaff!
On our way to Flagstaff a brush fire next to the highway stopped traffic for HOURS- we found out about the fire and subsequent road closure early enough that we were able to re-route, but the detour had us arriving an hour later than expected (and driving wayyyy too many miles on a dusty, bumpy dirt road- I promise I’ll give your car a bath tomorrow, mom and dad!!)
Though still delayed, we were lucky we had left Phoenix when we did- any earlier and we might have been stuck on the highway at the road closure (I don’t know the exact time they closed the highway, but it was definitely closed @ 6:30pm and they didn’t reopen until 1030pm! All those cars sitting there too far past an exit to escape?? Terrible! {It reminded me of the time Matt and I drove from Vegas to Bryce Canyon and the highway was closed for at least 8 hours in the middle of the day in the middle of nowhere in the hot desert sun…we were melting and miserable!!}

Had we left any later, our dirt detour could have been worse! We met a guy the next day that said the dirt road alone took 3 hours! Woof!

It did get a litte scary to be sitting on a dirt road in a dry desert with a line of cars for miles and seeing the flames of a 2,500+ acre fire, and knowing that if the wind blew just a little towards us…shudder. don’t want to think about it.
It was a relief when we got back into the paved road and the rest of the night was thankfully uneventful- we got a hotel room, assuming that all first-come, first-serve camp sites would be taken on a Friday night, and went to bed.
Saturday
Off trail miles: 9.2
We woke up early, after snoozing our alarms that had started going off considerably earlier. We unpacked our bags of unnecessary items for a day hike, checked last minute weather conditions and forecasts for the mountain, then loaded the car and headed to Humphrey’s Peak Trailhead, 30 minutes away.
Sitting at 12,633 feet, Humphrey’s Peak is the tallest peak in Arizona. Matt and I had planned to hike it last September, but when we woke up the morning of our hike we saw that there was a chance of thunderstorms, so we opted to explore the Grand Canyon instead. Sudden lightening storms have claimed the lives of at least a few people on Humphrey’s Peak, so that wasn’t a risk we were willing to take- we decided would come back to summit Humphrey’s another day.
So, here was our chance!!

In hindsight, climbing up a steep trail at over 12,000 feet was NOT the best idea when ones jaw is wired shut, but we made it and enjoyed the sense of accomplishment and the beautiful views.

On the way down we both agreed that neither of us wanted to camp that night or hike in Sedona that next day, so we decided to head back to my parents’ house in Scottsdale.

Humphrey’s Peak in the distance!
Sunday
Matt and I joined my sister, her husband, and the baby for a delicious breakfast at a PHX fav, Lucis, then spent a lazy afternoon at their new home, where we(/I) watched baseball and some (/everyone but me) took a 2hour+ nap- it was precisely the afternoon we all needed. Steph made a delicious homemade dinner for me and Mike, while Matthew took advantage of their blender to blend up some soups- the baby got a kick out of Matt eating through a straw!! They were ultimate buds that day- baby wouldn’t do anything without Ung Matt!!

We headed back to my parents’ house for one last night in Arizona.

Monday
No off trail miles!
We were slow to get moving today. Once we finished packing, tidying up the house, and running some last minute errands, it was close to 2pm by the time we hit the road.
Again taking longer than expected, we rolled into our hotel close to 11.
Another fire! While running errands I noted this smoke coming from the direction of my parents’ house- luckily it wasn’t by their home, but it was a 15 acre fire by other homes in Scottsdale! 😦
Tuesday
No off trail miles!
Matt’s jaw got unwired!! I definitely had second thoughts about letting them do it in the office- and I actually tried to talk Matt out of it when we overheard the PA talking to the secretary/assistant saying things like, “remember when I used to do this?” – I don’t think he realized that they left the door open!! But Matt’s mouth was already numbed and he was dead-set on getting those wires out!
After I asked the PA (who is a self-proclaimed OCD germaphobe) & the assistant to wash their hands, they went to work cutting Matt’s wires. Those damn things were NOT as easy to cut as we were told! And the PA said that his cutters were dull…um, use different ones??! Matt’s squirming over there! The assistant looked over at me and says, “it’s easier to do when the patient is asleep”…mmmhmmm. After cutting the wires they removed the small pins/screws from his jaw. It looked pretty uncomfortable but Matt was a champ! In the end, we were glad we didn’t spend another day at the hospital to get this done under anesthesia- as I said, Matt’s a champ, and it took less than 20 minutes from the time we arrived to the time we were walking out the door, check-in, wait-time, chitchat, and post-wire education included. Although I had my doubts, I’m glad we were referred to this practice- it took away the stress of having to find a reputable doc on our own, and we were pleased with how they performed. (Knock on wood…)
We hit the road to San Diego immediately. I started feeling sleepy so stopped for a Starbucks, and to my surprise Jaws asked for a piece of lemon cake!! It was a slow process, but he was able to eat it!!

And then a little while later he ate a burrito from Del Taco! It was slow-going again (it took him 20 minutes to eat…), but yay! Food!

We ran some errands in San Diego then met Jesse and Deanna for Vietnamese dinner. The food was yummy but the company better- it was so good to see them, but I also feel like I didn’t belong there, just not yet. After filling our bellies, we said goodbye to Deanna and headed back to Jesse’s, where we will be staying for the next few nights.

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