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 was just 1 mile shy of my 30 mile a day average. I had just 9 more days to keep up this pace.
Besides my flight home, I was also motivated by an upcoming trip to Spain. I needed to leave for that shortly after I got back. It felt weird to be planning for anything beyond the PCT. There was life after the trail…though I was leery of it. I was torn in half by the feeling of wanting this to be over and also not wanting it to end. The trail had been my entire life for 4 months straight…and for many months before that in NZ and CO. I was healthier and stronger than I had ever been, full of energy and determination. But I felt weary at the same time. It was hard to describe. Coming to the final days of such a long journey was 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. I quickly got a hitch from a mountain biker (in his car, not on his bike). I got dropped off at the Dollar Tree but in a 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.
I ate a whole 12″ pizza for lunch and felt a bit sick afterwards. But then I still had room for coffee. At Starbucks, I saw another SOBO, a guy named Smoke. I didn’t recall ever seeing his name in a registry. Eventually the town 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. 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, how crappy would it have been to walk 2400 miles only to get taken out with 250 to go by a mountain biker. I warned them that there would be many more SOBOs coming through and to please, STOP POACHING THE PCT! There were tons of other trails that they could ride around the area.
In the dark, I found a tentsite by a dirt road. I was still shaken by my near miss with the MTBs and I didn’t like that there were several vehicles driving by overnight….Friday night revelers or hunters. Glad I had a camo tent!