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.
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.
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.
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.