October 19th, 2018
Mm 278.5 to mm 253
Distance: 25.5 miles
0630 – 1900
For once, I resisted the pull of town today. I went into Big Bear, got my business done, and got back on the trail to get the miles in. After 3 days, I am just 1 mile shy of my 30 mile a day average. Now I have just 9 more days to keep up this pace.
Besides my flight home, I am also motivated by an upcoming trip to Spain. I leave for that shortly after I get back. It feels weird to be planning for anything beyond the PCT but it’s time. There is life after the trail…though I’m leery of it.
I am torn in half by the feeling of wanting this to be over and also not wanting it to end. The trail has been my entire life for 4 months straight…and for many months before that in NZ and CO. I am healthier and stronger than I have ever been. I am full of energy and determination. But I feel weary at the same time. It’s hard to describe. Coming to the final days of such a long journey is an emotional roller-coaster.
Anyhow, the first 12.5 miles of the day went by quickly. It was mostly downhill and I was at the highway by 10 am. Stellar, Kuba and I quickly got a hitch from a mountain biker (in his car, not on his bike). We got dropped off at none other than my favorite store, the Dollar Tree. Even Stellar did most of his resupply there…I am recruiting people. In the 1/4 mile radius of the dollar store were also a grocery, post office, pizza place, and Starbucks. I had no need to go outside of said radius and thus didn’t see much of town. We did pass by an Oktoberfest festival, but even that didn’t sway me.
I ate a whole 12″ pizza for lunch and felt a bit sick afterwards. But then I still had room for coffee. At Starbucks, we saw another SOBO, a guy named Smoke. I didn’t recall ever seeing his name in a registry but Stellar knew him (he knows everyone). Stellar had worked out free accommodation for us with a trail angel and even that didn’t pull me in. The vortex lost it’s grip and I escaped back onto the trail by 2:30 pm to get in another 13 miles.
I met some horsewomen along the way, then a family out hunting. They were both so kind and offered me food and water but I had plenty of both. I began hiking the final 2 miles up to a ridge just as it was getting dark. I was belting out some Tori Amos (making noise so that I wasn’t mistaken for a deer by hunters) when 2 mountain bikers came bombing down the hill, no lights. They barely saw me in time to avoid a collision, skidding to a stop a few feet shy of me. I stood there like a deer in the headlights. They had been going as fast as they could down the hill and acted surprised to find someone hiking on the PCT. They apologized profusely but still, I haven’t walked 2400 miles only to get taken out with 250 to go. Especially by someone prohibited from riding the trail. I warned them that there will be many more SOBOs coming through and to please, STAY OFF THE PCT! There are tons of other trails that they can ride around the area.
In the dark, I found a tentsite by a dirt road. It was a little weird being by myself again and I was also still shaken by my near miss with the MTBs. I didn’t like that there were several vehicles driving by overnight….Friday night revelers or hunters. I’m so glad I have a camo tent!