Day 1 20 miles PCT – stayed at Lake Morena, CA hiked 23 total to find help for hiker
Day 2 19 miles PCT – 19.55 actual miles stayed right outside of LaGuna,CA
Day 3 20 miles PCT – 21.5 actual miles stayed at sunrise trailhead, CA
Day 4 18 miles PCT – 18 actual miles stayed at Scissors Crossing, CA
Day 5 0 miles PCT – 1.5 actual hitched into Julian, CA stayed at hotel
Started the hike seeing a rattlesnake way too soon, I hate snakes! I have stared down bear, moose, and even a cannibal (another story), but nothing was as stubborn as this snake. Everything else I stared down eventually moved or said hi, but this snake was having none of it. I wasn’t hungry, so I had no need to bash it in the head, I finally backed down. Hoping his friends were not in the bushes and that the bushes were not Poodle Bush, a plant that causes a reaction worse than poison ivy, I high kneed it around him. After I made it around the snake, I was hyper vigilant looking everywhere because I wasn’t tired enough not to care yet. I would jump every time I saw a rabbit, squirrel, or lizard run across the trial. I had passed this girl earlier and she had caught up to me after my failure at staring the snake down. I must have looked super manly as I jumped up in the air when a rabbit ran by. Two days later, I felt a little manlier. I was sitting on a rock taking a break and I heard a shriek from across the valley. I looked over to see a guy jumping into the air. I then witnessed one more shriek and 5 hops. At least I didn’t scream like a little kid in front of another dude.
Later on in the first day, a border patrol agent asked if I had seen anyone that didn’t look like a typical PCT hiker, I assumed she meant “Pedro”, I replied nope everyone I have seen has a shiny umbrella over their head. Later I learned that “Pedro” didn’t make it. I saw evidence of his attempt to make it to the US and his flight from the border patrol along the trail, a discarded gallon of peanut butter, a raggedy jacket, a bed roll larger than my entire pack, and I am assuming his remaining water poured out in a puddle in the trail as he made his last attempt to gain freedom. I hope he made it!
I was almost out of water and looking for a spot to rest out of the heat of the day when a man approached me and asked if I could get some guy to get up and hike into town. I said, “I will see what I can do”. When I found the guy, Andrew, he was dressed in new khaki shorts and safari hat. It was obvious he needed help and the other guy passed the burden onto me. At first glance he was out of shape, old and had way too much weight in his oversized pack. I talked to Andrew, his pulse was racing, his breathing was labored and he only had a quart of water. I begrudgingly gave him half of my half a liter. I was kind of aggravated because now I was going to be in danger because some guy who watched Reese Witherspoon carry an over-sized pack in a movie and thought, “if she can do it so can I”.
I raced off down the trail to find help or to get cell service with hardly any water at the hottest part of the day when I would have been resting in the shade. About half a mile down the trail, I ran into another older gentleman taking photos. I told him what was happening he said, he would give the guy some water and that I was just over two hours from the ranger station. As I raced off again, I noticed he only had a quart military style canteen on his hip. I told him if he had enough water left to soak the guys’ hat in it and put it on his head. I wondered to myself if I had just caused this guy to be in danger, also. As soon as I got a bar on my cell phone, I sent a text to my mom with the guys info and asked if she could find the number for the ranger station, call them then text me back the number. When I got to the ranger station, I alerted the ranger. “Well our jurisdiction only goes 2.5 miles and he’s 3 miles out.” At this time I had gotten a text from a police officer, mom had had to call 911 because she could not find the Rangers number. The text said, “I hear you are lost on the PCT, where are you”? Well if I was lost I wouldn’t know where I was, would I. I tried to get some other hikers to go back with me to help; no one seemed interested, they had beer and big juicy burgers. I gave the officer that had contacted me the correct information and she kept wanting to go from the wrong side of the trail to get the guy. Meanwhile, I just wanted a burger and beer, also. I was getting annoyed, why was this my responsibility? I waited for hours at the trailhead for someone to come so I could take them to the guy. A ranger finally came and said, “They found the guy but he was nowhere near where I said, and they were walking him out”. That didn’t sound right but I wanted a hamburger and beer, also. I sent the officer I had originally spoken to a text asking if they had found Andrew. As I was walking to the store for my much anticipated burger and beer I heard sirens and saw a fire truck rush by. I said to myself, now they found Andrew! As I was eating; multiple emergency vehicles and a chopper came by. Then I got a text saying, “ if I hadn’t called, Andrew would have probably died” and apparently they walked out another distressed hiker in the process.
Day four was super windy; I had trouble putting up the tent in the sand. The tent stakes weren’t very cooperative. My feet are a mess, so I am headed into town tomorrow for a 0 day. The wind was so hard the tent folded on me. I hoped the tent stakes stayed in the sand because it was pouring the rain down.
So today I have officially become a homeless person waiting outside of a library so I can get out the rain!