Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 9
No problems with bears last night, but I did see fresh tracks a mile from camp. It's still
way too windy today. It reminds me of the Missouri River. I hope it dies down soon. It
makes everything more difficult, and all the blowing dust gets me filthy.
The hills are getting rockier, which I like, but the trail still goes up and down all day. I put in
28 miles today and I'm beat. I also still have to carry three or four liters of water, but I'll be
entering the real mountains of the Sierras in a few days. There should be all the water I
want there. I hope this awful wind dies down by then.
The wind kept me up most of the night. The fine grit in the air filtered into my tent and I
kept waking up with a mouthful of sand. My tent was also rocked by violent gusts
throughout the night to make sure I stayed up.
The wind was still blowing this morning and it made life miserable. All day the trail led
through soft sand that my feet sunk into with every step. All day the wind blew. At times, it
blew so hard I had to stop and brace myself to avoid being blown over. I bet the gusts
topped 60 mph and it's still blowing.
I found a campsite that is sheltered by some bushes, but there is still sand and small
debris raining on me and into my dinner. On top of that, it's cold out. I'm still in the desert
and it's supposed to be miserably hot. I'm going way up in the mountains in less than a
week. How cold will it be up there?
I woke up early this morning so I could hitch into Onyx by the time the post office opened
and be back on the trail by 10:00. I made it to highway 178 at 8:15 and encountered my
first problem. I've run across several guys who like to hike in skirts. Apparently it's more
comfortable for them. There were two guys in skirts already hitching at the trailhead. I felt
my chances of getting picked up would be much better if I stayed away from them. I
started walking down the road with my thumb out.
I had waked for about an hour when I saw the skirt boys go by in a jeep. When no one had
picked me up two hours later, I made a sign to hold up that said Onyx. It didn't help.
Someone did throw me a bottle of water, which was nice since I was getting really thirsty.
It was open, but I drank it anyway.
Five hours into my trek I was still 15 miles from Onyx and too thirsty to carry on. I started
hitching the other way, and caught a ride to the trailhead right away. Twenty minutes later,
a car stopped and I was on my way to Onyx.
I arrived at the post office only to find my package wasn't there yet. I went to the gas station
to drown my sorrows in Dr. Pepper and ice cream. I was outside on the curb eating a
Snickers bar when a pickup with four guys in it pulled up.
They talked to me for a while about the trip and the trail, then one of them handed me a
coin with some Bible verses on it.
We talked about God and Jesus, and how close I feel to God on the trail. I told them about
my rainy camp with the preachers on the Missouri and how nice it was to meet good
Christians along the way.
The proceeded to explain that they were on their way to a church retreat where there would
be fellowship, white water rafting, and free food. One of the guys in the group couldn't
make it so they invited me to take his place. I said, Why not! and climbed into the truck.
We drove an hour into the mountains to a Boy Scout camp. There were about 100 people
there camping. We found a nice spot by the lake, set up and went to dinner. The chicken
gumbo was excellent!
After dinner, there was a live band and an excellent keynote speaker. It left me with a lot to
think about, but the festivities lasted until 11:00, which is way past hiker bed time, but I'll
have a lot to talk about in the morning.