a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 0 (Zero Day). Hiker Heaven (Agua Dulce)
We slept in until 7 today, but I have to admit I was already awake earlier. Hiker Heaven is a busy place. Full of hikers, dogs, horses and chicken. Yes, chicken. And they run around freely in the backyard where all the hikers are camping. And they just love hanging around us, and even visiting the inside of the tents when the owner is not "at home". Poor Sirio, he left his tent open and now some of his stuff is covered in chicken sh**. But back to the morning. A zero day always feels really great. Knowing that we have 24 hours to rest is awesome even though we are aware of all the things we need to get done in the next 24 hours. The most important one being new shoes as are first pairs are now officially worn through after 454 miles. We gather a couple of people (Doc (who we caught up with because he had issues with his smallest toe) and Sirio actually) who also need to go shopping and then order an Uber to go to the next REI (like a super huge Transa in Switzerland). Turns out, the next REI is in Los Angeles and actually like 10 minutes from Kuki's house, my dad's cousin, who we stayed with before taking the train down to San Diego.
Our UBER driver is very fascinated by the PCT and asks a lot of questions during the 40-minute ride. She drops us off at REI where we find out that it doesn't open for another 20 minutes and therefore walk across the street to get some fresh juices which taste delicious. Then our shopping in REI can begin, we get new shoes, new bite valves for our water bladder, a new shirt for me, another power bank and some other stuff. Afterwards we do our resupply in the supermarket next door, followed by a stop at the ATM to withdraw some cash and then finally a bite to eat for lunch. We were looking forward to go to In-N-Out Burger but turns out there isn't one close-by. So we end up at the Chick-Fil-A, a religious fast food chain. Welcome to 'Murica. We still can't let go of the idea of an In-N-Out Burger and so, when we order a Lyft driver to go back to Agua Dulce, we ask her to stop at In-N-Out Burger and take some burgers to go.
When we get back to Agua Dulce Wizard and Speedy are still hanging around. Due to the fire that broke out yesterday, the PCT north of Agua Dulce is now closed for the foreseeable future and Hiker Heaven offers rides past the fire closure. By the time we get back from LA they have also figured out an alternate route and so Wizard and Speedy contemplate walking this alternate which is 2 miles longer than the actual PCT. We discuss our options and decide that they should do the alternate and we would hitch past the fire closure the next morning and catch up with them this way. Somehow Dario and I are very good at convincing them to always stay longer and they end up joining us for drinks while we are having dinner at the Mexican place in town. It seems like the whole town is having dinner there on a regular week's night and the atmosphere is great. We start chatting to a family sitting across from our table and they invite us for another round of Margaritas. So Speedy and Wizard are a little drunk when they leave town to hike 14 (!!!) miles at 7pm. The family we met is so sweet, and they keep telling us how inspired they are by the likes of us and how they love it that our generation more and more turns their back on society and does their own thing. It seems to them that our values are more about relationships, travelling, nature and working to really live rather than the other way round. Their speech gave me goosebumps, and it was really beautiful to hear that.
After dinner we start walking home to Hiker Heaven with some other hikers, but are quickly picked up by a lovely lady. People out here are so amazing it just blows my mind every time. Also Hiker Heaven for example - they do our laundry and make sure we have clothes to wear while our clothes are being washed, give us a place to camp, provide free showers and real toilets, organize rides, hold our resupply packages, ship off our resupply packages. They ask for a small donation so that they can keep doing what they are doing for more years to come. But it is also the feeling they give us. They care about each and every one of us and want to get to know the hikers individually. Sometimes up to 50 hikers sleep in their backyard. I have never experienced this kind of selfless generosity towards strangers before and it's very humbling.