5/13/17 20 mile PCT Mile 498.2
We had a breakfast of pancakes at casa de Luna before we left. There was also free coffee, so I helped myself to four cups. Mrs. Anderson insisted that everyone have their picture taken. While someone else was about to take the picture she pirouetted away from the group and dropped her pants and underwear. I have to say it is better that saying cheese. The reactions are probably priceless. “I have an internationally famous ass” she said. It was hard to argue. She does this for every photo they take. We got a ride back to the trailhead and began our next stretch. It would be 40 miles to the next trail stop: Hikertown.
The first portion of the trip would be several thousand feet up. This is generally the case every time you leave a town as they are almost always in the valleys and the trail stays in the mountains. My legs, as they did the day before, felt light and springy. This is very unusual, especially first thing in the morning up a hill. It felt as if I was Tigger from Whinnie the Poo come to life. “Is this Hiker Legs? ” I wondered bounding along effortlessly. It wasn’t, Though the feeling did last most of the morning. But, by late afternoon, we had to stop by a spring to load up on water for a long dry stretch to camp. The extra weight and subsequent elevation gain put me right back to familiar territory: heavy legged semi misery. I did not get my hiker legs. They don’t exist. Well, I take that back. The do exist. On some other hiker. Who has stronger legs. They are not going to suddenly appear below my waist. Perhaps after another 1000 miles of sweat and pain my calfs will grow 2 percent bigger or something. But, essentially, I am going to have to make due with the same spindly ass bird legs I have tromped around on my whole life. While I am on the subject, here are a few other myths you will hear if you decide to hike this trail.
1) Hiker Poop Somebody is going to try to convince you that the constant walking and trail diet will have a profound effect on your digestion. You will have such solid crap that you will barely need toilet paper. They are as full of shit as the 30 squares of toilet paper I use every time I dig a cathole.
2) You’re going to need 4000 calories a day. Maybe eventually, but everyone is different. I ate about 2,500 a day for the first month. I ended up hauling around 4 extra pounds of food from town to town that I never ate. The desert heat will supress your appetite and if you have some fat on you you probably wont need to eat quite that much.
3) You can eat as much as you want and you won’t gain weight. Yeah. If you are 17. That same sentence would apply while you are sitting on your bed playing Call of Duty and yelling obscenities at me through your headset. Little shit.
This is my experience. You might be thinking I’ve been hiking 4 miles an hour, crapping out bricks and eating like a bear two weeks before hybernation. I’ve lost 32 pounds. In this case, good for you. Also, I hate you. It is a hate born of jealousy though, so you should pity rather than resent me.
As I had now passed through my “Hiker Legs” mirage and Sarah was feeling sore, we were slowing down. We weren’t sure if we should push on to Mile 500 or camp at the last designated site. We rounded the bend and saw a sign reading “Trail Magic”. It had an arrow pointing to the campsite. This made our minds up. Three people who had hiked the PCT last year had driven up a dirt road to the campsite, made a fire and set out coolers with beer and soda and water. On the picnic table there was chips and salsa, cinnamon rolls, and fresh fruit. The trail angels names were Smush, Baby, and Marcus. I guess he didn’t get a trail name. Neither did most of the ten hikers who camped there that night, so I guess Sarah and I weren’t alone in that regard. Smush seemed surprised at this and told us how she got her name and how others got their name the year she hiked. My favorite was “Butt tape”. Her husband had to put tape on the inside of her ass cheeks because they were chafing so bad. This is why couples should not name each other. They know too much. We sat around the fire until “Hiker Midnight” (9pm) eating s’mores. I really want to do what these people had done. I was thinking about bringing premade sandwiches and a pony keg of good beer. We awoke that night to a truck slowly driving around the campsite several times, shining a spotlight on all the tents before eventually leaving. Perhaps they were wondering why all these tents were in their meth smoking park. Perhaps something more sinister. We got to experience both the good and the bad of camping in a site with road access. “Jason was right.” I said half sarcastically, “I should have brought my rifle.”