Pacific Crest Trail (2019) 76: Back to the KOA

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 – 13 miles

Unsurprisingly, my shoulder was still hurting when I woke up this morning. I haven’t taken a zero for awhile, so hopefully it just needs some rest.

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Temperatures were sweltering today and the trail was exposed as I walked towards the KOA. The North Fork Ranger Station had shady picnic tables, campsites and water available for hikers; another hiker told me that cold drinks and food were available inside for purchase, but I didn’t investigate the selection.

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I enjoyed seeing land formations that I remembered from hiking into the KOA SOBO. Something that I’ve missed from Oregon with its big landmarks is looking back at a place and thinking ‘oh, I was there’. Due to flipping, I haven’t gotten the same well-structured image of the trail either, but it’s better than falling on the snow.

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My plan was to camp at the KOA tonight and do laundry before hitchhiking out tomorrow morning to the nearby train station. I was hoping the KOA would have cheap tent stakes for sale or a little treasure trove of forgotten stakes, but there were none, so I went around furtively collecting rocks and sticks until being waylaid by a ninety-something fellow who was shouting at hikers ‘if you want to hike, join the army’. He said that he wanted to tell me a story (he went to Korea and climbed mountains). He also said that he was born in P.E.I.! Fancy meeting you here! After I got my tent set up, another hiker offered me his spare stake, but I was already set up so no need.

Back to Los Angeles tomorrow. I haven’t completed my objective for this year because of the miles I missed near Idyllwild, but because of my shoulder pain and loss of tent stakes, I’m going to return home and hike the missing miles when I finish the rest of the PCT. It would have been nice to hike more this year – as expected, the distance wasn’t enough – but the amount of snow isn’t conducive to the type of hiking I want to do. I’ve been following along with people going through the Sierra and further north, and whenever I read an account of someone crying 90% of the time from fear… nope. Imma go home, eat my ice cream and cross my fingers for hiker luck to prevent any deaths this year.

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