5/23/17 3 miles PCT mile 654.3
I woke up around 7am to other hikers scurrying around packing up their things and getting water. We were in no hurry, although we should have been considering we had a big climb out of Walkers Pass and the temp was rising. Last night we rolled into camp near 9pm and I had Top Ramen and a pb and jelly sandwich for dinner. It was not enough food for me. I woke up hungry and I could not seem to eat enough to overcome the weakness that was once again creeping back into my system. I ate 2 packets of oatmeal, 2 pop tarts, a string cheese, several bites of my Parmesan wheel, a snickers bar, pb&j sandwich, and a few handfuls of trail mix. This was over 1,000 calories but I still felt weak.
We set off and I continued to snack on some dried fruit while I stressed about the 4,000ft climb and 90 degree heat coupled with my overall state of weakness. After a mile we got to Walkers Pass and I decided I would not recover should we push on and continue to walk 20 miles in the blistering heat. I knew there was a trail angel 2 miles west of Walkers Pass that feeds you and lets you stay there. We got a ride to the driveway and followed some rickety signs to the house. As we were walking down the driveway a truck approached and it was the trail angels Richard and Rita. They said they could host us and they drove us back to their house. The info I had said they have a guest house for hikers, this info is outdated as a fireman rents out the guest house now. They said, they would host us in their house instead. Rita and Richard were on their way out when we arrived, they were off to cut down their neighbors dead trees. Rita and Richard are in their mid 70’s and essentially live off the grid. Their electricity runs solely on solar and they have to use a generator to pump water up to the house. As Rita was showing us around she kept apologizing for the clutter and saying how she just can’t keep up. Their house is a log home and has become too much work for them and they were ready to let go of it. They literally live in the middle of nowhere so selling was difficult. Rita explained that it took them 7 years to compete their log house. She would spend the summers sanding logs and putting chinking in between the logs. I also grew up in log home, but it only took my parents 5 years to complete their home! It felt like home being at thier house, Rita showed us up to the loft (just like my old house) and said we could stay here on the ground on some couch cushions. As Rita kept on talking my stomach was growling, I needed more food. Rita eventually went downstairs to get me a towel for the shower. Then I hear, “oh no I’ve done it again.” Rita had left the water on and the tank had run dry. She fumbled with some keys and led us outside in the blistering heat to haul a generator out of the shed and down the driveway to a pump house. Matt helped with the heavy lifting and we got the generator hooked up and the water was soon flowing. I took a shower with my clothes on to wash them and then hang them on the line. Rita then made a large salad for us and we then went and took a nap. I woke up to the sound of Richard coming home and scolding Rita for letting the tank run dry. He sounded a bit grumpy. Rita ignored the scolding and said, “why don’t you take your shoes off and relax.” “I’m not someone who walks around wearing shorts and sandals.” Richard was a mountain man and he would not take his work boots off. They soon retreated to the porch where we would join them and enjoy the view of the hills we would soon climb.
Rita and Richard also had 2 small dogs. Little bit and Riley were their names. Oddly, Riley acted similar to our own dog named Riley. She would not let us pet her and if we sat down near her on the couch she would nervously eye us and then get up and go somewhere else. She was flightly and also liked to run away. Our dog Riley has become quite fat these last few months for no particular reason, so it is much easier to capture and pet her since she is to lazy to move. Little bit was super friendly and it was nice to pet a dog again.
Due to the heat we decided to leave after dinner so we could get an early start the next morning and beat the heat. Rita made us spaghetti and brought out a Costco sized can of green beans. Richard was late to dinner as he was out sharpening his chainsaw. Halfway through dinner the electricty went off in the house as the sun was behind the hills and the solar panels no longer hold a charge. Rita calls Richard “daddy” she kept saying, “daddy where were you”, “sit here daddy.” It was oddly cute. They were a funny couple where Rita would be in the middle of a story and Richard would loudly cut her off and say, “oh why are you saying that, nobody wants to hear that.” Both of them are of German descent but they were born in Argentina. Whenever we asked them about Argentina they said, “oh it’s gone to hell, the politics are horrible.” After dinner we hugged Rita goodbye and Richard drove us back to the trail.
The sun was setting as we climbed for two miles before we found a nice campsite for the night. As I set my alarm I said let’s get up at 5am, but Matt assured me he could be ready at 6am and we could sleep in until 5:30am. Ya right, I guess we will see!