Week 2 of the PCT

After a busy night in Julian eating pizza, resupplying our food for the trail and doing laundry, we woke up unusually clean on day 7. We had some free apple pie (when you show your PCT permit) from Mom’s pies before heading back to the trail. It was 2pm when trail angel Tangerine dropped us off back at Scissors Crossing and left us a parting gift of cold Coca-colas. When we arrived at the underpass, we gulped these down in front the other envious hikers. As we hiked up the steep hill, our sun umbrellas shielded us from the scorching afternoon sun, proving that they were worth their weight. The blooming mountain wildflowers and cacti along the trail were a welcome distraction from the heat. After 6 miles we made camp & had a delicious dinner of ramen and fresh broccoli.On day 8 we woke up early to hike to a water cache 8 miles away. When we arrived there was 3 pallets of gallon bottles of water – plenty to go around but this was supposed to last the whole hiking season. In the afternoon, we reached the 100 miles marker and set a record of 18.3 miles hiked in a single day, go us! That night we camped at Barrel Springs where our water source was from a faucet which ran into a concrete trough. Rumour was that other hikers had seen a dead rat floating in the trough previously. However, the water straight from the faucet was safe to drink.The next day we hiked to Warner Springs, passing by Eagle Rock. The trail meandered through several flat meadows which were in the midst of a superbloom. The fertile green grass was filled with lavender coloured and bright pink flowers – I felt like I was in the field where the Teletubbies frolick! Eagle rock was very majestic and there was no mistaking it for anything else but an eagle. We arrived at the Warner Springs hiker centre mid afternoon which was actually a repurposed secondary school building. The field behind the building was a sea of hiker tents – the community was very welcoming to hikers! That night both Andrew and I received our trail names of Prometheus and Not A Minor.On our 10th day, we woke up to a misty morning – I was reluctant to hike out early today. After a hearty breakfast at the golf restaurant nearby, we slowly started to pack up. This was also the point where a couple of our hiking friends, the Tennessee Titans, were finishing their section hike so it was our first time for farewells. Eventually we hiked 10 miles to Lost Valley spring where we enjoyed a stunning view of the pink and orange sunset after dinner.On the morning of day 11 we started our hike by walking through clouds. We complained about the cold and lack of views as we hiked. However, an hour later when the clouds burned off we started complaining about the heat! We decided to have lunch at Mike’s place, which was the holiday home of trail angel Mike. We had heard that food was served to hikers there. As we followed the signs to the backyard, we walked through what looked like a lot of junk strewn across the property. I felt uncertain of our decision to come here. Strange Bird – the caretaker – who wore a fluffy tail, greeted us and we sat in the circle of chairs with the other volunteers in the backyard. After some awkward small talk, the subject of pancakes came up and one of the volunteers, Slim, fired up the outside barbeque. My mouth started watering when I saw fresh bananas being chopped up for the pancakes and the batter starting to sizzle. The pancakes were thick and fluffly and we ate them with our hands like sandwiches. Later on, Slim also made us greasy tacos. All this food made the afternoon hike very difficult. The pancakes weighed heavily in my stomach, but there were no regrets visiting Mike’s place!The next day our motivation was hiking to Paradise Valley cafe which supposedly had the best burgers on trail. We had 15 miles to hike there so we were planning on having a big afternoon meal. As we hiked along the mountain ridges we could see dark rain clouds in the distance – the wind blew the rain drops to us even though the sky was clear over us. We arrived at the cafe at 3pm and were pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome we received despite our smelly and dirty state. Polishing off our delicious burgers and sodas, we waited patiently for our hiker friends who arrived one hour later. As everyone was finishing off their meals, the owner announced to all hikers that he would allow us to sleep in the restaurant after closing since it was going to be a cold night. Immediately we took up the generous offer. The six of us slept soundly between the tables that night. It was incredible to be out of the cold and wind, have access to running clean water and have access to a toilet that night – all things we took for granted in our previous lives!On day 13 we had our first real “zero”, a day where we hiked zero miles of the PCT. Fellow hiker, Papa Schlerf had a friend visiting so we all crammed into his car and were driven to Idyllwild. Idyllwild was a small hiker friendly town which had a golden retriever as their mayor. We stayed in a campground walking distance to town – they allowed hikers to camp together at a site in the back. Once we had our hot showers ($1 for 5 minutes) and finished our laundry we felt presentable in town. That night, Andrew made chicken noodle soup for dinner with the leftover rotisserie chicken bought for lunch, cooked over the campfire. We finished off with the most appropriate camping dessert – s’mores!

2 thoughts on “Week 2 of the PCT

  1. Amazing hearing the stories of kindness of strangers who seem to be a theme along the trail so far. These are the stories that I think one remembers once the journey is done. Also the world would be a much better place if more towns had dogs as their mayors!

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  2. Good to hear from you, Sawyer!
    Yes, the phrase “trail angel” for these people is so appropriate!
    Mayor Max has his own website & Instagram if you’d like to find out more about him 🙂

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