a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 436.1 to 454.5. North Fork Ranger Station to Agua Dulce (Hiker Heaven).
We decide to start early, as we want to reach Hiker Heaven to meet up with our friends Speedy, Wizard, Kim and Lynn. It is also the last day that Kim and Lynn will be on the PCT as tomorrow they will leave the PCT and go back to South Korea in a couple of days. As they are moving to Berlin this summer they are not able to hike the whole PCT this season. But Berlin - how awesome for them, but so sad for us at the moment not to see them again on the PCT. But at least Berlin is fairly close to Switzerland and always worth a visit. So we will visit them for sure at some time in the future!
It is only 8 miles today until the KOA (Kampgrounds of America), an open campground offering a swimming pool and a small store to get some groceries.
So we hurry up and do the 8 miles in just under 4 hours. The KOA is just awesome! Lots of trees that provide shade, people we know everywhere, showers and the best of all - the above mentioned pool! 20$ poorer, we can now benefit from all the amenities that the KOA has to offer..
So at first we have a shower to get rid of all the dirt. And now off to the pool!
Apparently we are the only hikers jumping in the pool so far. And oh woooow...what a feeling! After several days of heat, sweat, lack of water and an enormous amount of dirt the water feels like being in paradise!
We both don’t want to get out of this pond of joy anymore! But after spending an hour in it, we decide to have lunch and chill out in the shade. I also have a short nap, enjoying the cool shade and nice breeze here.
When I wake up after a half hour nap I can’t find Maya, but then finally see here back in the pool talking to some hikers who finally made it into the pool after all.
But what’s that in the background on the sky?! It looks like a mushroom kind of cloud, similar like after a nuclear explosion. And the colors! There is black, grey, brown and even a kind of reddish. I realize that I look directly at the result of a wildfire that started just recently! Oh my god - it looks like it is very close from here. I inform Maya and we start to ask others if they know anything about it, but no news so far.
We realize that Naomi texted us, worried if the wildfire which they also observed, had started at KOA?! She further informs us that at Hiker Heaven, only 10 miles away from KOA, they are thinking of evacuating all the hikers, since they don’t know in which direction the fire will spread out. We tell her that we are all fine and find out that the fire has to be north of Hiker Heaven.
So everything is fine, but we are not sure if it is wise to hike the 10 miles to Hiker Heaven because the direction of the wind might suddenly change and turn the fire in our direction.
Naomi tells us that she will get the necessary information at Hiker Heaven and convinces us to do the 10 remaining miles. It is so hard to leave this nice place, but we finally pack our stuff and off we go again.
The section starts with a fairly big climbing part which is not so easily doable in this heat. But after this, the rest is ok. At one point we pass a lenghty tunnel, followed by the famous Vasquez Rocks formation which served as a movie set in several big movies like Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, etc.
Shortly after leaving the Rocks we enter the town of Agua Dulce. It is now almost dark, but it is also a nice summer evening, still warm, but not hot. After a mile or so of road walking we pass the town center where we meet Christian, the Swiss guy we met a couple of times before and Mugshot, a sweet, bit older American lady from LA again at a pizza place.
We join them for a drink and manage to get a hitch to Hiker Heaven where we finally meet with all our friends. And they organized pizza, pasta, salad, coke, beer and a bottle of wine for us!! Truly an amazing welcome which matches the place’s name Hiker Heaven!
We all eat and drink together, have a nice chat and then find a place in the backyard to pull our tent. What a day with ups and downs, but it was definitely worth to hike the last 10 miles to this amazing place.