PCT DAY 107: Mile 1737.5 – Mile1764.5
Friday July 29, 2016: 27 Miles (43.2km)
DISPATCH FROM THE BIG AGNES HILTON
It has been a very warm day and by the time I camped in a lava field it was still warm and I was tired. I lay my weary body down and started to write a few thoughts for the day. Before too long I was sound asleep. I don’t know how Corky managed to edit hundreds of photos and completed the blog ready to post each day.
I dry camped and was about a mile from a water source so first thing this morning I had to stop to filter water. This is probably one of the most tiresome tasks on the trail as it is so time consuming. So rather than do it at each water source, I filter once and load up on water. It is amazing how much heavier the pack is when you add 4 litres of water. After filtering and carrying this heavy load up a hill I found there was a potable water source from a tap right by the trail. Waste of time and energy but my water reports were not clear on how functional this tap was likely to be.
The trail was similar to yesterday, shaded forest and intermittent meadows and lava underfoot. The raspberry bushes lining sections of the trail were loaded with ripening fruit. Stopping to pick them was great but certainly slowed the hiking pace down.
I met quite a few people on the trail today, the most unusual of which was a couple who had just got married at Crater Lake and were hiking back to Ashland as part of their honeymoon. Southbound hikers kept mentioning trail magic at Brown’s mountain hut. You never like to get your hopes up, as often the magic is exhausted by the time you arrive. This time it delivered in spades with fruit, Gatorade, cold Cola, energy bars and even bagels. I thank the kind Trail Angel from Ashland who stocks this cache.
Although there were great places to camp at the hut, I felt it would be good to hike a little further. I was hiking with Ramen John who felt the same and so we hiked together for another 3 miles. We crossed a number of lava fields and campsites were hard to find. I offered Ramen John the first available one but he preferred to hike on. So I took the spot and I am hoping to find Ramen John not much further up the trail tomorrow.
CORKY – FROM THE RECOVERY LOUNGE
When we announced to our friends that we were taking a year off during which we planned to walk 2,650 miles (4,200km), they called us crazy. One friend even rang to apologise for calling us crazy. But to us it seemed crazy not too follow our dream. We saw a window of opportunity now and we jumped. You never know if that window will be open in the future. We were going to be jobless, homeless and footloose for 12 months. There is a great freedom in cutting ties with the safe, the familiar and the routine of our daily lives. To immerse ourselves in the rhythms of nature and to gain a better understanding of our place in the world and universe. To more fully appreciate what we have, what our bodies can do and to quieten our internal chatter freeing us from our self- imposed limits, thoughts and beliefs.
I never really think of age as a limiting factor for any active pursuit. Health certainly is, but it does not necessarily follow that the two are related. So when Hammer and I set off from Campo it did not occur to me that we may be age classified by other hikers. It was only when another hiker referred to us as the “older couple” that it rankled. We were being pigeonholed. If there is one thing that the trail has taught me – it is not to react to people on my perceived stereotypes or their immediate behavior.
One of the great things about hiking the PCT is that when you are out there it is just you and the trail, everyone is equal and is hiking their own hike. You can’t assume anything. I have learnt that if you spend enough time with any one individual, everyone has an interesting story that is a part of our rich, life tapestry. And the stories which shaped that person and what brought them here and now defy superficial stereotyping.