a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
starts with a single step.
Miles 742.4 to 745.2 (2.8 Miles) Lower Rosary Lake Camp to Highway 58/Willamette Pass, hitchhike to Etna, California (Mile 1053.4)
At 6.45am we hear our alarm clock going off. Oh wow, today we will leave Oregon and finally enter California again! We will have to see how easy it will be to get to Etna, a small town just south of the Oregon/California border. It is roughly 350 miles away. And we need to hitchhike there... But getting to another place by only hitching is always a bit of an adventure as well. So we are kind of excited, too.
In around half an hour we are all packed up and ready to go. It is an easy 2.8 mile hike all downhill from our camp site to Highway 58. In less than one hour we are already standing at the highway crossing. It is right here, where we had to leave the trail last year to get me to the hospital in Bend for treating my giardia disease... It all looks so familiar and suddenly there seems to be no or only little time passed between those two moments.
We know from last year that getting a ride from here is far from easy, since there is not a lot of traffic on this section of the highway. But today we are in luck. After only twenty minutes a pick up truck with a boat in the back slows down and signalizes us to hop on. It turn out the lovely guy who gives us a ride is called Dennis, is around 65 years old and is driving to Reno in Nevada to spend some days on his boat on the lake there. We tell him that we need to get to Chemult, a small town 30 miles south of here where we hopefully get another hitch, which should then bring us closer to Klamath falls, close to the California state border. Dennis agrees to take us to Chemult, since he has to drive through this town anyways. Shortly before we get there, he suddenly says, I decided to take you to Weed, I am not in a hurry and I don't mind making this little detour for you two. Awesome! Weed is already in California and only a one hour drive away from Etna, our final destination.
After a while we make a stop at a gas station, Dennis fills the tank and the two of us get a coffee. Then we continue our drive, when suddenly the engine loses power. And the car is getting slower and slower and eventually stops.
We are not too far out of Klamath falls, so still in Oregon, but right here there is literally nothing. So Dennis gets out of the car, opens the engine and assumes that the fuel pump must have broken. He tries to restart it several times, but the result is always the same. The car is dead and we need to call a towing service. At least they arrive within 20 minutes and tow away the truck including the boat, and Dennis.
We were already wondering, that this hitch was waaay too easy.. .so now we stand here, next to the highway, in the middle of nowhere and have to find another hitch - and it is hot today, very hot! But if we've learned something in South America, then it is to always stay "tranquilo", regardless of the shitty situation in which we're in. What else can you do? So we try and try to find a hitch but the few cars that are passing by wouldn't take us with them. In the meantime Maya calls her sister who just got engaged (congratulations again Dana and Andri). But then after almost 2.5 hours, another pickup slows down, lowers his window and says: Hop on guys! Yaaaay, finally!
This time it's Ken, a former military and now construction company owner from Lake Shastina. Ken is a very interesting guy in his best years and still single! And he is currently looking for a new relationship, but hasn't found anyone interesting yet. So anyone interested in getting to know him, we will make arrangements :)
For around two hours we drive and talk with Ken, finally pass the state border to California and eventually reach Yreka (which is pronounced Why-reka), Etna's neighboring town, which is less than an hour's drive away. Here we invite Ken to have lunch with us in a delicious burger place and then say our goodbyes as he has to go shopping for groceries and needs to go home afterwards.
So now we need a third hitch for the last remaining miles. And this time it's Leslie, a lovely woman with Swiss ancestors from Basel (a born Burckhardt), who agrees to takes us to Fort Jones where she lives. Arriving there she changes her mind and decides to drive us the whole way to Etna to our host, Catherine who runs the R&R (which stands for Rough and Ready, the town's former name) bunkhouse. We say thank you very much Leslie and hopefully see you one day in Basel. It is now only 5pm and we already made it to Etna! Wow that was way faster than expected.
The R&R bunkhouse is a place where you can stay for work - the deal is one hour of work per person per day gets you one free night in the nicely equipped bunkhouse there. It turns out that Catherine is the most amazing host ever! She deeply loves old arcade games and has several machines hikers can play with. There is a kitchen, laundry, showers, Netflix and even a Oculus Go to play with. And the work we have to do? Planting two small blue berry bushes in her backyard, a task that doesn't take 2 hours, but more like 10 minutes. Awesome :) There are two more hikers already staying here, Xena - named after the warrior princess - and Adam with his dog Betulla, who just started his PCT adventure two weeks ago and is the first toilet-paper engineer the two of us have ever met.
After talking to our new friends for a bit, we decide to get dinner at the local pub, where we have a delicious Caesar salad for dinner. And they have dog puppies here - a mixture between Border Collie and Australian Sheppard. Maya instantly falls in love and won't stop playing with them. And with this another day of our PCT adventure passes by. Good night.