a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
starts with a single step.
When we wake up we still don't really realize, that this was it. We are surrounded by other hikers, waking up in the tent, it basically just feels like another day on trail. But it is the end of our PCT adventure and soon the end of our whole trip as well. We feel a bit sad but at the same time excited, too as we will soon be seeing our families and friends again!
But first we have to figure out a way to get from Belden, which literally is in the middle of nowhere, to San Francisco today. A year ago, we already had to hitch out of Belden to Etna. This wasn't easy, as there is not much traffic around Belden. But we will see...
But first things first: We order a nice breakfast burrito at the store, then make our way out of the Caribou Crossroads and together with our Canadian friends place ourselves next to the road with our big cardboard sign. They are only hitching back to the trailhead of course, but need to go in the same direction.
I am already very hungry and start to eat immediately, when Maya suddenly realizes that those burritos are somehow very flat... There are no eggs in the breakfast burritos!!! Chris, the owner must have forgot it! So Maya walks back to the store, handing Chris her untouched and my half eaten burrito, and Chris puts in all the missing eggs. Waaay better now. And Chris is such a nice guy! He offers to drive us all back to the actual trailhead 1.5 miles further down the valley, where there is another road coming out of Belden. We're hoping for more traffic and a higher chance of catching a ride there.
We all get out of Chris' 4x4 and say goodbye to each other. Maya and I pity those poor hikers, who now have a terrible climb ahead of them. But well... that's part of the adventure.
We immediately start hitching. A first car passes by... no luck. After a while several other cars pass by - still no luck. An hour passes by without getting a hitch, then another one and another one. It is now around 11am and the sun is burning down. Suddenly a familiar car slows down - it is Chris again! "You guys are still here?!" Jump in, I can drive you to Oroville, from there you should be able to climb aboard an Amtrak or a bus going to Sacramento and from there it's easy to get to San Francisco.
Thank you so much Chris, you are a life saver! In Oroville Chris drops us off in front of a supermarket, we say good bye to him for the second time and start to google how to get to Sacramento. Damn it, there is one bus, but it's one hour of walking, there are no UBER cars available today as it is 4th of July and thus all car rental companies are closed as well... So how do we get to this station? Suddenly Chris shoes up again and offers us to drive us there! Wooow, you saved us once again! Chris, thank you so much!
At the bus station we still have to wait for around one hour but finally the bus arrives and takes us all the way to Sacramento. From here we take the train and shortly before San Francisco change to another bus again. So now we have to inform Leo, our friend who is currently doing his lawyer secondment in SF, that we will arrive soon and where we should meet. He informs us that he will pick us up at the bus station.
Soon we find ourselves driving over the Oakland Bay Bridge with an incredible view of San Francisco! But the city is covered in fog, which is very interesting as today is generally a bright and sunny day everywhere else we've been!
Then we arrive at the bus terminal in downtown San Francisco, where Leo already awaits us. Turns out he is here on foot and turns out furthermore, his apartment is right next to the terminal in Down Town SF in a skyscraper! Wow, how amazing is that?
The three of us spend a lovely evening at a pizza place, the first of five awesome days in and around San Francisco and in Leo's company. We go to a concert, hike in Muir Woods, people watch around the Fisherman's Wharf and eat the most delicious food ever. Here is where our journey of 15 months comes to an end. There are hardly any better places in the world for that. :-)