Here I am sitting in the very lodge I’ve seen countless thru-hikers staying at in the many videos and trail journals stay at with hopes of Taco Bell and greasy breakfasts from Denny’s. The Black Forest Lodge. I’ll never get over the fact that I’m out here, which kind of makes me think about my prior conception of life on the trail. I may be stating the obvious here, but the trail is just a dirt path and nothing more. What happens on it is different to every individual. You could read 100 trail journals and get a different story every time, which is so cool to me. But what’s weird to me is that I’m living a story too, now I’m one of those thru-hikers sitting inside and watching harsh weather blow by waiting to get back to the trail.
Day 19: Mathew decided he wanted to hit the trail again, I was going to stay in Big Bear one more day. My dad and I drove around so he and I could resupply. We went to a Mexican restaraunt across the street so Mathew could have his first taco – er, his first 6 tacos. Afterward we took him back out to the trailhead so he could resume his hike. Part of me wanted to go out as well, but I needed to make sure my knee was in good shape before heading out on the next long stretch.
Day 20: It’s go time! I wake up early, take one last shower, and collect all my gear that was previously exploded all over the room. My bag is heavy with 8 days of food, and I hope the water situation is decent out here so I’m not hauling around too much along with my food. The weather looked like it might turn for the worse, so I left my rain gear out somewhere I could easily reach in case it started to rain. I pick up my bag, put it over my shoulder, and start to head out the door. Before I could even leave the room, it started to snow heavily. I take a moment and look at it: I’ve hiked in the snow before, no big deal. But it started snowing harder and harder, and I looked out at the mountains. It was sticking. Would I be able to find the trail if I went out? I have my phone and maps, but.. I dunno. I decided to take the day off. Not that I believe in the arbitrary date to get to the Sierra, but I do have some time to kill before I get there. I might as well.
Later my knee started to act up again, so I guess in the end it was best to take it easy today. My dad and I went to go see Captain America: Civil War instead. It was okay, but my knee was killing me the whole time being crammed into the small theater. This might be a problem. As we left I started to wonder what’s going to happen with this. Is this going to stop me from hiking? Am I going to have to call it at some point over this? I felt that way when I had tendonitis, all I can do is give it a shot and hope for the best. I set it aside and started to think about what’s next for me when I finish the PCT. I decided the Arizona Trail sounds good. I know it has its stretches of forest, but I can’t begin to explain how much I love the desert. Sounds like a plan to me!
We walked down to Big 5 so I could get more fuel and picked up a new button up shirt. My old one was absolutely massive on me and it was driving me crazy. I also decided to do away with running shorts for the next stretch. I hate pants, and I hate zip-off pants even more, but I miss having reliable pockets. Too many times things have fallen out of my pockets with my running shorts and almost getting left behind. If it weren’t so hot I’d wear my awesome Prana pants that I love so much, but they’re a little overkill for now. Once I get to the Sierra I’m so wearing them.
Day 21: I stayed up pretty late updating this blog, so I slept in a bit later than usual. I woke up and laid in my bed for a while, then checked the Facebook group. The legends about it are true, it is a serious source of drama on the trail. I write a few replies which I promptly delete having no interest in getting involved. If I had something better to do I wouldn’t be browsing around on these pages, but I’ve run out of trail chores to take care of. What’s a guy to do?
I eventually got out of bed and found my knee felt a little better. In theory I could hit the trail again today, but in theory it’d probably be better for it if I didn’t push my luck. I decided to take one more day off. I walked down to the lobby with a less exaggerated limp than the days before and paid for the day. I was super hungry, but my dad wasn’t waking up. I could walk over and get something, but I opted to sit around and eat from my huge bag of trail mix to get rid of some of the excess.
We went out later, got tacos again, and got back to the room. My dad passed out once again, and I’ve been sitting here doing nothing but listening to music (Flogging Molly, why did the PCT make me get back into Irish punk rock?), checking all the different PCT pages, and watching TV. I don’t have the remote so it’s stuck on some dumb reality show. More and more certain things are just becoming noise to me, I find myself looking at things and staring at them in bewilderment like “Why is this even a thing?” and all that jazz. I’m starting to adjust to the trail a bit more, and as I do that I lose touch with things I used to find important. You can’t have it both ways, but I prefer how things are now.
My knee aches here and there, but I can actually walk on it again. I think I’ll be back out on the trail again tomorrow. I believe there’s another wave of storms blowing in next week that I don’t want to stick around for, and I’m ready to find out what’s out there for me in this next stretch.
I don’t really have pictures. I said I’d take more of trail towns, and I have been. But it’s been difficult trying to transfer them around so that I can get them up on WordPress on this unreliable WiFi, it was a miracle I was able to upload what I did yesterday. I have an imgur gallery with all the images I’ve taken so far found here:
As it becomes possible for me to upload images, everything I have will be uploaded here. I also have an insane amount of videos, but it’s pretty well impossible for me to get them up at the moment. It took an hour just to get the SAR helicopter video up yesterday. When I’m done hiking the PCT I’ll put them all together. That’s going to be an insanely work-intensive task. I’ve done video editing quite a lot in the past, and a 10 minute video usually took me somewhere around 5 or 6 hours to complete at a time. Currently I have 175 video clips… Good luck, future me.