PCT Day 44 – Saturday May 27
Zero at Casa de Luna
Today was SUCH a better day than yesterday.
Yesterday I was trying to hike 17.5 miles so I could spend the evening at Casa de Luna, one of the more well-known and beloved Trail Angel homes that take in PCT hikers. I didn’t get a chance to stay at Hiker Heaven, another beloved Trail Angel stop on the PCT about 24 miles back, because I was in Burbank with Daniel. So I really wanted to stay at Casa de Luna to make up for not staying at Hiker Heaven.
But yesterday was such a struggle. I hiked so slowly that I fell behind my friends and around 7:00 pm I decided to pitch my tent on a not-very-flat spot on top of a ridge. It was only .8 miles down to the road which led to Casa de Luna but I was done. And I wasn’t sure if the Andersons would have room for me or let me come in when it was so late. Some Trail Angels don’t.
So I pitched my tent and then met some locals who were walking their dog. They told me that there were some nice flat spots at the bottom of the hill by the road. They even offered to drive me to Casa de Luna but I was feeling bummed out and wanted to just be by myself. So I moved my tent to the bottom of the hill – which was a MUCH better spot – and made a spam quesadilla on my stove.
I’ll admit it – I was having a little pity party. I missed Daniel and I was feeling homesick.! And I was feeling frustrated that I keep hiking so slowly. I know that what I’m doing seems like a lot to non-through hikers but I’m not going fast enough if I have any hope to finish the PCT this year. I keep hoping to suddenly get my “Hiker legs” and hike 20+ mile days with ease but it’ not really happening yet. I’m tired and I don’t have enough energy to hike fast when I go uphill and my foot hurts when I go downhill. Plus something is wrong with my hiking pad and it seems to be a bit lopsided which is difficult to sleep on. So I was feeling generally discouraged last night. I rolled up in my sleeping bag and cried myself to sleep.
I felt better when I awoke this morning despite the fact my tent was soaked with dew. Yesterday morning we woke in a misty cloud and had to hike in the fog for hours which was annoying. I rolled up my wet tent in a trash compactor bag and walked across the street to the ranger station to get water. I decided to hike 15 miles today to a little campground. My friends were still at Casa de Luna but I missed my chance to go there. I am signed up for the June 12th Advanced Snow Skills class in the High Sierras offered by Outdoor Education and I need to crush some miles if I’m going to make it on time.
I was just finishing my granola at a picnic table when a white van pulled up to drop off a bunch of hikers. A woman walked over to me, with her arms outstretched to give me a big hug.
“I’m Terri Anderson,” she said. “Did you just arrive?”
Everyone knows who Terri Anderson is. She is the Trail Angel who runs Casa de Luna. I nodded and told her that I was hiking out today.
“I think you should come to my house,” she said. “We’re barbecuing today!!”
I wasn’t that hard to convince. I hopped in her van and soon we pulled up to Casa de Luna. Her driveway was filled with couches and hikers lounged around eating pancakes and relaxing. I made it just in time for pancakes! Yay for second breakfast!
Casa de Luna is a haven for hikers and I felt very welcome here. They had chairs, hammocks and comfy places to lounge in the shade on the front lawn and back yard. An outdoor shower and buckets for hand washing clothes were also available. Five outhouses lined the front yard (yay bathrooms!). Tunnels into the woods out back provided plenty of places to camp under the trees.
My friends were, indeed, at Casa de Luna and we decided to take the day off and enjoy the Andersons’ hospitality. I spent the afternoon napping under a tree in a hammock and icing my foot. Since the day off was unplanned, I didn’t have to spend any time on town chores and could fully relax. It was heavenly.
After dinner, Terri put on some music and started handing out PCT Class of 2017 bandanas – the only catch being that each hiker had to dance for their bandana. I enjoy dancing and did the robot dance for my bandana.
There must have been 60 or 70 hikers here today. As the evening wore on, hikers kept trickling in. Soon all the obvious camping spots were full in the woods and hikers started setting up tents in the back yard. But Terri didn’t turn anyone away.
What a great day. I’m so glad that Terri kidnapped me. A day off was exactly what I needed.