PCT Mile 77 – 97.47
I awoke at dawn and enjoyed the final delights of a zero-day: a hot shower, fresh brewed coffee, fresh yogurt and a banana. I packed up and headed to the edge of town to start hitchhiking. The town was dead. Finally cars did start driving by but they either ignored me or showed me the pinched-fingers message (“only driving a short distance”). I tried looking harmless and needy and tried to show off my backpack (message: I’m a hiker, not homeless) and tried to show how clean my clothes are..
After about 20 minutes of bad luck, young PCT hiker Abi from Portland, OR shows up to join me. Adding a female hitchhiker to the mix should improve chances greatly. I even made sure she was more visible to approaching drivers. New message to approaching cars: Father and Daughter hiking team– who could not stop for that vision?
Then a. guy who looks homeless (dressed like me 2 days ago but without a backpack) walked up to us and started asking the standard questions I usually enjoy answering: Are you backpacking? Where are you going? Holy cow, how long will that take you? Where did you start? Etc…
I’m trying to both answer his questions but also keep presenting my harmless, clean, backer father image to approaching, and then passing, cars. Indeed his joining our party is really muddying our message. My mind is racing: what to do? Just then a woman emerges from a nearby car and calls out to us “Hey! You want a ride?”. I have no idea where this car came from…
We say our hasty goodbyes to our polite 3rd wheel and race to the car. In the front seat of the car was her skinny 8 year old (going on 20) daughter daintily polishing off a bagel Fiery Cheetos. Abi and crammed our packs into the trunk trying to avoid the jumble of trash, oily car parts and what not. We then opened the back door and piled in trying to avoid the trash, oily clothes and what not.
Julian is in the mountains some 13 miles from the desert valley where our trailhead lies. I think I first got nervous just as we were backing out when the driver spied a car and said “Oh my God, is that my good-for-nuthin’ f****t ex-husband?”. The girl’s eyebrows furrowed but she said nothing. “No, it’s his f****t brother…”. Another silent brow forrow.
Our driver, gave us one exciting “Ms. Toads Wild Ride” down that windy road! We swerved around rocks in the road but also every time the driver changed radio stations. Unfortunately for us she had “Serius XM radio with hundreds of stations!”. With each new station change Ms. T would announce the song and artist to her daughter and the car would jerk from one side of the lane to the other. “Oh, I saw him in concert!” As I bumped into Ali. “Hun, that’s young Mikey Jackson with his brothers!”, as Ali bumped into me. “Mom, leave it here, that’s ‘Panic at the Disco'”. “No, I wanna Find Casey Kasom.” And on…
As a cherry on top of this adventure, Ms. T announced the between the sun and the grimy windshield, she can’t see the road well and maybe she should get the wipers fixed.
When we made it down to the trailhead at Scissors Crossing we thanked our host and wished them both well. Whew!
I am not making this stuff up!
My return to the trail was rewarded with images of the desert in bloom. My feet feel great, well considering, and the weather was fantastic. The trail was gentle and clear of rocks. All in all fantastic!
Here’s Abi and our view:
We hike to a maintained water cache where I refilled, had many cups of water and headed on. Abi decided to stay the night there so we said our goodbyes.
Thanks for reading!