Days 96-101 (Mi. 1394.2 to 1541.7)
Moral of this blog post:
-Friends are such a good thing
-Northern California is hot hot hot
-I love free food Day 96: Mi. 1394.2 to Mi. 1416.5
One of my favorite days on trail yet!!
It's crazy how much people can influence your day, am I right? They can either ruin it or completely make it. Thankfully, today was the latter.
Today was another one of those days where I was spoiled all day long. I woke up around 5:30a, dozed to sleep, rewoke around 6:30 and started moseying. As I was packing, I was passed by Olaf and Lady, two hikers I've only heard about from others' trail stories. Super kind, they wished me a happy morning and with a "see ya!" they were off.
I quickly packed the rest of my stuff and scooted down the trail. I first caught Olaf- a twenty-something from Salem, Oregon. I asked if she was the one who walked away from Omelas... she didn't get my joke. Also, homegirl hiked 25 miles today in CROCS because her shoes are toast. Props, Olaf.
Later, I found Lady and hiked with her for a few minutes before passing. A little down trail, I posted up under a nice pine to catch some shade + check in on Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Ron just got splinched, Harry is moody, and Hermione is a badass camper.
Into my read + Achilles rest, I was passed by the whole gang- Lady, Olaf, the Germans, Ladybug, and Rhino. I love this crew! We hiked into Burney Mountain Guest Ranch together and MAN. What a treat.
On arrival we were greeted with open arms. We signed up for lunch, I went to the store for resupply, and waited around on the porch outside. There are some nasty wildfires in the area, so the air is warm and smoggy. Gross.
Anyway- we were served a warm, home cooked lunch AND homemade strawberry ice cream. Dang. The owners are believers, with stuff you'd find at Hobby Lobby and Mardel's plastered around the walls. And the wifi password was live4Jesus. Tacky? Sure... But as I hail from the Bible Belt, this was a nice, familiar scene. Good, kind folks.
The rest of the trail was a quick 9.2 mile hike into Burney Falls State Park. We scored some trail magic about midway, complete with ice cold lemonade and snacks (including red vines!). I left smiling with a little pep in my step (probs the sugar rush).
We met Karaoke a few miles from camp, and he, Olaf, and I rolled into the Park just before 6:30p. And guess what was waiting for us??
MORE TRAIL MAGIC.
Franger's parents had come in from Sacramento to love on hikers and see their son. Seems like a TOTAL Mama and Papa Glenn thing to do. I miss them.
After lots of laughs and consuming a significant amount of puffy cheetos, watermelon, pulled-pork sandwiches, ice cream, and drinks, we made the trek down to the backpacker campground. Our territory really shows how state parks think of thru-hikers.... out in the campground BOONIES. Also, we had to pay $5 each. Lame lame lame.
But also, trail magic. Soooo I'm thankful. Also!! I showered for this first time in 10 days today. So so so clean.
Man. Today I'm thankful for the folks that go above and beyond to love on and celebrate PCT hikers. I really want to match their mindset and carry it into traditional life. How cool would it be if we had the PCT Trail Angel mindset for strangers we encounter? Or even those we surround ourselves with daily- friends, coworkers, family.
What if, instead of saying "here's a campground in a cemetery- give me $5"... we said "hey! Take a seat. Here's some food. Would you like an IPA or a soda? Tell me your story."
Things could look pretty cool. Day 97: Mi. 1416.5 to Mi. 1443.5
Mmmmm. Started out thinking today was going to be pretty low-key. HA.
I didn't hit trail until 8:30, soaking up some wonderful amenities ($2.50 crappy coffee) at the campground. I lingered to trail (with coffee in hand) and moseyed down the path. I called my mom (hi mom!) and caught up for close to an hour. Super chill.
And then I met Neon. He told me there was going to be trail magic from his girlfriend's mom at mile 1443.5.
My 24 goal turned into a 27 REAL quick. I even skipped my lunch, usual breaks, and nap to make it happen. I left Harry and Hermione alone in Godric's Hollow with "Bathilda" all day. Who am I?!?!
Overall, today was super boring. The smog from nearby forest fires clouded the view and burned our throats. Boo.
Anyway- I'll cut to the chase. I made it to trail magic RIGHT as she was pulling away. I scored a Coke and a beautiful sub sandwich. Also- cookies, strawberries and a banana.
It's crazy what I'll do for food out here. It's a little alarming, actually. Last thing- I've hit (or gone over) my daily goal set for each day for 8 days in a row!! If I had Nutella, I'd take a couple large spoonfuls as a congrats to myself. But I've banned myself from Nutella after I ate an entire jar in 2 days last week. If you know how many calories that is, don't tell me. Ignorance is bliss.
Day 98: Mi. 1443.5 to Mi. 1474.0
Thirty thirty thirty!!! AND my Achilles hardly flared up. And chafing was minimal. Win win win.
Have I mentioned how hot NorCal is? It's a freaking sauna up here. We're finallllly on the tail end of this heat wave (I think), which is good. Because I can't take another triple-digit day when trying to hit 30+ miles.
That's another thing. I wouldn't say 30's are quite standard.... but they're definitely not the rarity they've been on trail. It seems like EVERYONE has a deadline to meet (besides Winter in Canada), so the trail is fast moving. I'm not complaining or anything.... but dang. People be fast.
The trail today wasn't anything crazy. Around midday the smoke from the forest fires FINALLY cleared up, so praise the Lord for that. My throat is raw from breathing in all this smoke and ash.
After this mega 3.5k' descent, there was trail magic!! The Kiwi couple I've been hiking with (Bridget and Tarzan) lately were there to greet me ("Peanut!!!"), and we toasted our apples and Dr. Peppers to another big day in the books.
As the miles completed continue to outgrow the miles to come, I am starting to feel more and more sad. Is it true we only have a few weeks (okay, like 2 months...) left on trail?? Bitterfreakingsweet.
Oh, today I listened to my 90s/00s summer punk playlist for 12 straight hours. I told myself I'd switch to a different playlist after "Tricky" came on. It came on around 7pm. Yeah.
Cheers to a big day and cheers to getting to Mt. Shasta A DAY EARLIER than expected. You better believe I'll be getting a milkshake. Tomorrow's gonna rock. 💀🤘 Day 99: Mi. 1474.0 to Mount Shasta (Mi. 1498.7)
Holy smokes holy smokes holy smokes.
IT'S SO HOT!!!!! Seriously, today was record temps for the area in 25 years. It was 105° and I felt every single last one of those degrees. Also, my feet were barking all day. Blisters are baaaaaack 🤸♂️.
Hiked just under 25 miles to Interstate 5. Most of it was downhill (yay!), but even the downhill gets ugly on your feet. Oh well. Nothing a good podcast can't fix!! (Anybody listen to On Being? It's a good one)
Once I reached the interstate, I hobbled up the blacktop on ramp to try my best at getting a hitch. It took about 20 minutes, but I was able to get a ride!!
Unfortunately, the ride only took me halfway to my intended town (Mount Shasta), so I ended up getting dinner in Dunsmuir. The Lord definitely knew what he was doing, because this was possible the best tasting meal on trail yet. Everything was SO fresh, and I'm a new believer in Broccoli Slaw. Wow. So good.
After din din, I walked back to the interstate to get a hitch.... the on ramp was a little narrow, so I walked down to right before the next exit. Unfortunately, I was called in and 2 cops came and pulled me over. After pulling my Texas card and multiple "oh! I'm sorry!!"s, they let me off with a warning. But I also got a hitch to motel, so I think it's a win win.
Once again, towns are stressful. The effort it takes to acclimate to social norms and town rules (don't expect to have conversations with everyone you see.... you can't just pee anywhere... walking along major interstates is illegal....), then back to trail life, is exhausting. Town and trail are opposites. It's one of the most frustrating parts of the trail.
But what a lesson!!! I hope to be a guy that can easily adapt and lend myself to different cultures and people. I hope to be able to love people in town just as intentionally as I do on trail. I hope to be a light, a bit of hope, a representation of Christ's love, consistently... no matter if I'm trekking in 105° temps in the woods, or simply downing my 7th glass of Arnold Palmer in town. Anyway. Just some thoughts.
Oh! I spontaneously saw Dunkirk last night. HOLYCOW. Also, Harry Styles? Random. Day 100: Mount Shasta (Mi. 1498.7) to Mi. 1508.0
I know I know, I've done my town schpeel (sp?) quite a bit, but DANG it's tough to get out of town. Also, my phone charger broke. If you know the backstory on my phone charger, you know how perfectly tragic and unsurprising this is.
Anyway!! Walked around town a lot. Ate some pancakes, drank coffee, and planned out Oregon's miles (so close!). I also finally met up with a hiker I've been friends with on Instagram for a while, so that's fun (heyo Dirty Avocado!)! I ran by the post office, grabbed some lunch at the natural foods store (PTL for veggies), and resupplied at the grocery store.
Heading out the grocery store, I ran into a man named Dennis. Dennis is a thru-hiker turned section-hiker that's been following hikers up the entire trail to give them rides to town, provide Trail magic, and more. So cool. Dennis gave me a ride to trail and on the way I learned his brother dated my aunt in high school. The world is weird.
Anyway- once I got to the trailhead, my motivation died in the heat... so I just sat and ate food in the shade for a few hours. Sorry, miles. But good news?? I ran into Olaf, Lady, and friends!! Met Unger and Wasabi (hikers I've heard about for a while)... and I just can't wait to spend more time with these folks. Love love.
Day 101: Mi. 1508.0 to Mi. 1541.7
THIRTY THREE POINT SEVEN MILES TODAY. Biggest day on trail yet, and I'm HYPED.
Last night I didn't really sleep well at all. I woke up at 12:30a super thirsty and hiked a half mile to find water. All dry. Also, it's nearly a full moon, so that definitely kept me up.
Dang!!! It is so fun hiking with friends!! This morning I spent the first few hours listening to music and podcasts (anybody listen to the Liturgists??), then decided to take a break under a tree. That's where I caught part of my new tramily (trail family)! Olaf, Wasabi, Unger, and Neon all passed by. They had dreams of a high mile day, so I decided to tag along.
Long story short- we hiked and hiked and hiked. My feet are SO TENDER and hurt pretty bad, but it's aight. We'll all be good.
Oh, and Unger works for YWAM in Salem. It was so cool and refreshing to talk about ministry with someone. Cool guy.
I'm sorry today's post isn't more descriptive. I'm BEAT and there are quite a few ants crawling on me right now. So that's lame. Here are some pics!!! (Mom, I know, I'll take more pictures of people's faces soon)