16.5 miles (Miles 1318.6 – 1335.2)
PCT Mile 1318.6 – Chester
I’m halfway there! Holy macaroni! It was a pretty big deal getting here! In honor of this momentous moment, I’m going to go through everything I did in the first half of the hike… right now.
Just kidding. That would take days. And I’ve already written about all of it in this blog. Whew, thank goodness!
How about just today? I saw another bear, a mountain, we hit a milestone, I acquired a sore foot, had a fun celebration in town, followed by a cache restock with Aloha, and the three of us Disco Pickles just hung out in the great outdoors. It was a good day.
As I hiked in my morning hiking trance, which basically means I get a good rhythm and just effortlessly glide down the trail with my mind quiet and clear (mornings are really good for this), I came up a small climb. On both sides of me were waist-high, bright green shrubs, but it opened up into a rocky clearing ahead. I heard a crash and stopped in my tracks, eyes wide and instantly scanning the terrain all around me. A big cinnamon-colored bear leaped over the trail about 40 yards in front of me and continued down the steep hill as fast as he could carry his large body. I am so impressed with how agile and graceful the bears just bounce up and down these hills without making hardly a noise out here. This time I could almost feel the ground when the bear’s paws landed – with a big “boom-boom” – but he barely snapped a twig! Maybe I’m surprised because the deer at night just walking around our tent sound like a herd of elephants. The critters out here are so entertaining. The bears are a big treat because the sightings are more rare. I just wish I could get a photo of one to share!
Thankfully, Aloha agreed to make a few drawings of the bears so I could remember what they looked like… and so I could share them in my blog, too:
Each time I climbed up to an opening in the trees I got a new view of Mt. Lassen, too. It stands out on the horizon behind and above the bumpy silhouetted mountains that are closer to us. It’s been fun watching it get closer and closer each day we hike.
Then we came to our milestone – the PCT midpoint. I wasn’t quite sure how to feel, and I still don’t. It’s one of those bittersweet moments. I’m so proud that I’ve come this far, and I’m so excited that there’s so much more ahead, but… it’s half done. What I’ve already hiked, seen, experienced, felt… has been so incredible. I guess I’m more happy than anything – I basically get to double all that! 1,325 more miles to go!
Technically, however, this is short of the real halfway point. It just depends how particularly you want to look at it. The trail changes each year due to reroutes, detours, hiking your own hike, and whatever else. I just really enjoyed the permanence of the cement monument. Here’s a note on our Halfmile map that explains it:
After leaving the midpoint monument, a pain in my foot became strong enough to warrant a limp. I sunk my foot into some soft sand yesterday while enjoying a view, and it caused me to fall forward onto my hands. I must have tweaked it then and not realized it at the time. I wasn’t too thrilled about this onset of a new, unsettling pain, but I could still walk, at least… as long as I only put weight on my heel. Oy. I pushed on until our lunch break, trying with all my might to not dwell on it. It only hurt when I bent my foot in just the wrong way, so it’s fine… right? I put it up at lunch and loosened my shoe laces, and after I got hiking again it started to feel better! It’s not perfect, but better. I just pray it’s nothing serious. If something happened to my foot… you just might see this girl turn on her “stubborn mode.” A day of rest is hopefully all it needs.
After Aloha picked us up at the trailhead, he brought us to the dentist in town – we heard that we had to stop in to say hi and get a free toothbrush. They were so friendly! They took our photo, gave us a congratulatory halfway cheer, a free toothbrush (the rumors were true!) and a certificate for dinner! Wow! Thanks, Dr. Webb and crew!
Also – I want to give a big shout out to Piper’s mom! Thanks for the amazing trail magic and info at the Hwy. 36 crossing! Awesome!
Our evening was wrapped up first with a margarita and food at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in Chester. There was a huge group of hikers there already that we’ve been seeing on the trail the past few days, so that was fun. Super Ultralight was with the three of us, and after dinner we dropped him off in Old Station so he could join Doodles and Scones for a section. Greyhound lost his backpack full of gear on his way here… that’s a whole side-story in itself! I think Aloha was really happy to help him out these past few days.
We are camped at Cache 22 – the middle of a hot, dry section of PCT trail out here in N. California. Aloha has been visiting, adding water, beer and chips to trail angel Tred’s awesome spot. When we arrived we visited with Bill, Fortune Cookie, Ladykiller, and Muk Muk. It was fun to get in on a small slice of trail magic.
The night settled in with a gorgeous sunset:
Tonight I love Sierra Nevada Porter. It was desert, and a good one!
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!