OUT WITH THE OLD
PCT DAY 23: Mile 436 (North Fork Ranger Station) – Mile 444.4 (Acton KOA)
Friday May 6, 2016: 8.4 miles (13.4km)
It was such a joy to wake up this morning to a beautiful purple and pink sunrise and realise that there was little wind and the rain had stopped. It was still cold but without the wind it was not so bad to get back into our soaking wet shoes.
Today was going to be a great day as we had arranged to meet an amazing Trail Angel Mary at Acton KOA. She was driving us to an REI nearby to replace our well worn out (and now wet) shoes. I should have ordered new shoes earlier to pick up at Acton. But I thought they still had plenty of life in them. I realised too late that the tread on them was almost completely worn out. It was only after sliding around on the snow on Mt Baden-Powell and slipping a few times on the loose gravel when going downhill that I knew I needed a new pair.
Hammer was pretty happy with how well his shoes had lasted. Until he had a closer look when we got to Acton and realised that while the tread was solid they were coming apart. So pretty much both of our pairs of shoes lasted about 600 miles (or 960km). It seems like ages ago that we broke them in on the Overland Track in Tasmania in early January this year.
Anyhow, enough about our housekeeping, back to this mornings glorious hike to Acton. We left camp with Jim this morning just before 7am. A German couple, we saw briefly last night, left just a bit before us. Everyone else was still tucked in. I felt like I had a whole new skip in my step. Maybe it was just because it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t bitterly cold. I can’t describe how beautiful it felt to hike in pretty much perfect hiking conditions, with sunshine illuminating the splendiferous spring flowers that lined the track. And around every corner the distant vista of a whole new mountain range. My cup of happiness was overflowing.
I was constantly stopping to take yet another picture of perfect dewy flowers while Hammer and Jim swapped stories. We made Acton KOA just after 10 with plenty of time to spare for our randevouz with Mary at 12. She arrived right on the time and the three of us piled into her car with one other hiker she picked up earlier, Calamity from the UK. And my goodness Calamity lived up to her name. So many setbacks on her hike so far. I so hope her luck turns and she makes Canada.
Amazing to be sitting in a car in traffic heading to a store. I know it’s only been 3 weeks but it seemed almost surreal compared to yesterday’s conditions.
We hit REI and were out of there in 15 minutes. Then a supermarket called Smart & Final where we bought food for the next 6 days of hiking to Tehachapi. In no time we were back in the car and heading to Acton KOA when a torrential downpour brough traffic on the freeway almost to a standstill. Water was flowing down the side of the road like a river, completely overwhelming the storm water drains. To us it seemed like a normal Sydney summer-time rainstorm. But apparently so much rain is not so common in these parts.
We were back at Acton KOA by 2.30pm, happy hikers. Marys generosity with her time was humbling. We so hope to be able to in some way repay the generosity we have experienced so far on this trail.
The storm we drove through was predicted to head our way so we decided to camp at Acton and head out back on the trail tomorrow. And just as we finished setting up the tent, right on cue the rain arrived. As I write this we are comfortably warm tucked inside our sleeping bags, we are fed, our clothes are laundered and we are showered and clean. Life is good on the trail.