Zero day at Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce, CA
Yesterday afternoon I had a lovely surprise as I walked through the Vasquez Rocks just before Agua Dulce, CA: my Uncle John from Los Angeles came walking down the trail with his camera. He had been following my SPOT device online map, and drove out to surprise me with a visit. It was such a lovely treat. We walked together through the end of Section D, to Hiker Heaven, a trail angel rest stop in the tiny hamlet of Agua Dulce. I’ve met many amazing people on the trail, and am rarely lonely, but it was still so special to see a loved one and get to share my experiences in person.
We took a tour of the incredible set-up at Hiker Heaven (shower! laundry they do for you! cots for all! kitchen!) and I claimed one of the 50 spots for the night, then we walked back down to town and had a nice lunch at the Sweetwater Cafe. I demolished a burger & side salad. Meat & greens — I crave them HARD in towns.
After saying goodbye to Uncle John, I hopped on a group trip out to REI, where I picked up a fuel canister and some new socks. It was very strange to be whizzing around in a car, thinking, “how many days of walking did we just drive in the last 10 minutes”. We ended the trip at In-N-Out Burger, where I got french fries & a vanilla shake (close to 1000 calories together!) and dipped the fries in the shake. YUM.
I showered & did laundry after getting back last night, and picked up my resupply box with my other pack (switching to my ULA Circuit for larger carries) and food for the next bit. I weighed myself — I have lost around 5 lbs, give or take, if scales are to be trusted. I can feel my body changing, getting stronger. I think I found a stretch mark on my calf a few days ago. I will spend the rest of today resting, packing my food and mailing home the old gear, and maybe napping.
The hike here from Wrightwood was nice. I have somehow managed to have a toilet at each campsite, so my cathole skills are probably getting rusty. After cowboy camping at Vincent Gap the first night, I climbed up and over Mt. Baden-Powell the next day, and then did the old detour around the Endangered Species closure, one of 3 official PCT closures. The 2.7 miles of road walking on Hwy 2 was actually lovely and easy; only 15 cars passed me in 50 minutes. I camped that night at Cooper Canyon Trail Camp.
From there I hiked a long day (23.5 miles ish) through the old Station Fire section, where I had to avoid Poodle Dog Bush left and right, to the Mill Creek Fire Station. A small group of hikers gathered at the station to get water, eat dinner, and charge our phones on an outside power outlet before heading down to the road and designated camping area. The next day I was up bright and early, hiking by 6:10 am, aiming to get to the KOA at mile 444 that night. It was a 25.5 trail mile day, plus some backtracking for forgotten laundry and a bit of roadwalking, adding up to a full marathon of walking — my first. As much of that day was also occupied by limboing through Poodle Dog Bush, Poison Oak, and downed trees, or two outta three at once, I was exhausted and filthy by the time I made it to the campsite. Made it before dark though.
It feels so great to have hiked 454 miles already. Today is my
trialtrail-iversary: 1 month of living in this bizarre trail. The other day, I unconsciously referred to getting back on the trail from Wrightwood as “going home”. At this point in, I can almost believe I can hike this whole thing. One section at a time though. Next section: from Agua Dulce at 454 to Tehachapi at 566ish.
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