Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail: Day 7

Beautiful Sunrise over Southern California

For some reason each day on PCT is becoming more and more difficult. Each day you begin walking thinking you have stronger legs or your pack is going to be lighter today but everything is hurting by noon. Right now we are hiking through Southern California high desert. We started off our hike thinking that desert will bring us many hot days, not realizing what high desert is. High desert is located in higher elevations and you get cold mornings and cold evenings. On our 3rd day on the trail, ice was falling from the sky. It could be hot one day and extremely cold the next. Out here, you are at the mercy of the weather. Despite certain difficulties, the trail is magical and it’s hard to explain it in words.

One day upon setting up camp & getting ready for bed, I saw with a corner of my eye something that looked like a huge dragon fly. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was a humming bird. I calmly said to Serge that there is a humming bird nearby and asked him not to move. In that moment the humming bird flew up to Serge who was wearing a puffy blue jacket and started flying up and down inspecting his body. It was gently poking its long nose at his jacket (probably thinking he is a flower) and you could see how her nose was bending against the firm material of his jacket. She spent a few more moments hovering around campsite and then flew off. Needless to say, Serge had goose bumps standing frozen and trying to comprehend what has just happened.

A few days later we had our first encounter with Trail Magic. Trail Angels bring Trail Magic to the trail. As we were hiking through the desert around noon and the temperatures kept rising, I noticed a guy standing next to a road crossing. It almost seemed like he was waiting for us and it made me feel uncomfortable. As we approached him, he said that there is some Trail Magic underneath a bridge which we were about to pass. When we came to the bridge there was a table set up with camp chairs and two girls were welcoming us to rest. On the table there were fresh cut up fruit, vegetables, snacks and they were about to make grilled cheese sandwiches for all hikers passing through. They also included beer, vodka and even margaritas 🙂 We set there, shaded under the bridge, eating, drinking, listening to music and socializing with other hikers for over 2 hours. It was such a wonderful break in the middle of our hot & tiring way. These people go out of their way to do something nice for us and don’t expect anything in return. Of course it is our choice to be out here hiking the PCT, and undertake any challenges that the trail might bring but what these people do for us is truly magical.

“Six” and “Butt-Tape” are most likely discussing their blister fighting strategies

On every thru-hike you get a trail name. It is kind of a nick name that has to do with something that has happened to you on the trail. Every trail name has a story behind it. It will find you and stick with you. Serge and I got our trail names within the first week of hiking. On day 2 we met our new friend Trevar who goes by trail name “6”. When he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, within the first month he had 6 horrible trail names so “6” got stuck with him.

“6” has similar hiking pace to ours so we have been walking together for the past 7 days. A few days into our hike, I started to feel uncomfortable irritation on both of my butt checks due to heavy load of my pack pressing down on the skin. I have heard many times that duct tape is hiker’s best friend and you use it for everything (like taping up your blisters or fixing your ripped shoes). One afternoon we came upon a hiker box (a box full of random stuff that hikers leave behind). I looked through the box and found duct tape. I immediately pulled my pants down and asked Serge to put duct tape on my butt to stop the irritation. “6” just stood in awe and blurred out – butt tape. So that is how my trail name was born. Now every morning Serge puts tape on my butt, and “6” is laughing his ass off proudly justifying my trail name. Serge got his just a few days later – The Tourist. His big rimmed hat and the 24/7 camera hanging around his neck got him the name, not to mention amount of photos and videos he takes through out the trail.

It didn’t take to long to get used to dusty, dirty feet

Warner Springs is a small hiker town that has a post office, resource center, restaurant and a large campsite area for people to camp and rest. At this point we haven’t showered or washed our clothes in 7 days. The resource center offers hikers free bucket showers & laundry. They give out buckets, detergent for laundry and soap for the showers. After not having a shower for 7 days a bucket shower felt devine. I had to wash my hair 3 times before I could get it to soap up. Later in the evening the community prepared a dinner for hikers free of charge.