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PCT 2015 Day 24: The Kindness of Strangers

  • Start: 369.9
  • End: 369.9
  • Miles: 0
  • Camp: Wrightwood with Steve’s family

The morning brought town breakfast, which includes amongst other things, unlimited coffee. I like town breakfasts. I’ve even got the hang of ordering now. Diogenes joined us, having had to turn back from mount Baden-Powell because of the snow. He only has a tarp so town was a better option than freezing in a windy snowstorm. 

The morning’s errands took a bizarre amount of time for such a small town. The hardware store forms the centre of the hiker community in Wrightwood, holding the trail register and hiker boxes. We must have called in there four times over the course of the day, resupplying fuel, adding some new water containers and checking for additions to the hiker boxes. I managed to score some instant mashed potatoes, a pasta meal, Q-tips and some town toothpaste. I also took a sheet of lightweight foam that I thought I could use as a sit pad during the day as the one that fits in the skin of my pack is pretty small. I might regret it later but I will give it a try.

The four of us caught up with Sababa, Spider and Nell outside the post office. They had just arrived in town, reminding us that the main clump of hikers is spreading out slowly but surely. I’d like to keep ahead of the herd if possible; less competition for resources particularly camping spots by the trail and rooms in town.

The grocery store in town managed to supply us with all our food for the coming days, which we assume will be 4 days to Acton or Agua Dulce. I think I’ve packed too much food this time. It’s all tasty so I’m happy to carry it, even if it is just for mood rather than calories. It’s expensive in mountain towns, but having choice is better than having mailed yourself the kinds of food you liked a week ago and paid for postage for something you can now no longer stand.

We had called Steve earlier in the morning, and he came to pick us up in the afternoon to take us to his house in the hills. Steve is a test pilot for the Air Force, and though he couldn’t tell us much it seems he’s done a lot. Certainly travelled a lot. Shannon was a teacher and quizzed Frankenstein on his experiences in Sierra Leone and his plans to continue teaching high school once he finishes the PCT. We met their kids: JB, Connor, Cameron and Madisyn and I was amazed by how confident and self assured they were. I think the American attitude has a lot of merit despite it being overwhelming at times. That kind of self belief is hard to learn later in life, although I wonder if it gets easier again after a certain point. 

As soon as I got into the house, Madisyn dragged me up to see her room with the princess bed. She told me they had hosted hikers before but her excitement suggested that not many of them had been girl-shaped. She told me about her softball team, basketball camp, and jewellery. She and her 2 brothers are sleeping in their uncle’s room and we four hikers are sleeping in real beds. I get Madisyn’s because her bed is about 5’5″. Frankenstein is 6’6″.

We took the Arctic Cat, Razr scooters and the truck around 5 minutes down the road to Carlin and Melissa’s house, where there was meat barbecuing. Carlin is a fantastic cook, and had produced pulled pork, St Louis ribs and bratwurst, as well as chips and sour cream dip which I unwisely filled up on, cheesy potatoes and green beans. He had also baked apple pie and offered us bourbon to go with it. We ate so well that night. I still can’t believe that strangers from a bar offer to feed four starving hikers and house them for a night in their kids’ rooms. Magic is real, and humans are amazing.

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