PCT Day 34 – Zen and the Lost Art of Hitchhiking

Started: 07:30 @ MM 549.7 – Camp in the pines (Elevation 6,197ft)

Finished: 13:00 @ MM 558.5 – Tehachapi, Willow Springs Rd (Elevation 4,139ft)

Water: Drank about 2L plus morning coffee and bottomless soda at BK!

Food: Oatmeal, Granola Bar, Cliff Bar, Figs, Trail Mix, Jerky, Burger King, Popcorn.

Wildlife: 0 Snake, 0 Bears

Health: 0 Blisters … New shoes are coming!

As a thru-hiker, there is a special feeling that comes over you when you wake up in the morning and know that you will be walking into a trail town that day. Trail towns are both a delight and a misery. On the joyful end of the spectrum, a trail town means a hot shower, laundry, food that doesn’t require rehydrating in a ZipLoc bag and (if you’re really lucky) a real bed in a hotel room with cable TV. On the doleful end of the scale it means resupply, spending money, organising shit, dealing with bureaucracy and the awful cacophony of real world living. Trust me the real world is very loud when compared with the alternate reality of the wilderness!

The beautiful alternate reality of the wilderness.
The final 8 miles into town were an easy downhill jaunt through the seemingly endless wind farms. By midday I was eating the last of my food rations and joshing with Spreadsheet, Butterfly, Bingham, Titicaca and Turbo about the food we planned to inhale as soon as we hit town. However, first we had to get there and this meant another stint of hitchhiking. I was fast coming to the conclusion that I was doing something wrong with the whole hitchhiking malarkey. It certainly wasn’t my forte. Everyone else seemed to catch a ride within 5 or 10 minutes. So far the best I’d managed was about 45 minutes and generally it was in the back of a pick up or a beaten up panel van …. Hummmmm, perhaps another missed memo!
Hollywood Hitching … What am I doing wtong?
Our little huddle of hikers was too big for one ride so we split into two groups. Just when I was growing optimistic that I might catch a ride in under an hour, the biggest fuck wit on the trail came shambling along the road. All hope of anyone stopping was lost as the toothless wonder plunged us firmly into the realm of hobos. My heart sank and I almost decided to walk the additional 8 miles to the next road junction. However, I was soon shocked and flummoxed in equal measure when a high end roller stopped and gave him a ride! I was most definitely doing something wrong.
Yet another top quality hitch!
After what felt like an eternity a beaten up Toyota pick up (again) pulled over. I was grateful … I was even more grateful when I got out at the other end. The pick up was being driven by a crazy Peruvian lady. She didn’t pause for breath once during the 20 minute journey. She started off in English but quickly slipped into her native Spanish. I had absolutely no clue what she was shouting about, but she was becoming more and more animated. She was throwing her arms around … yes both of them at the same time … and the pick up was careering all over the road. When she finally deposited us in the KMart parking lot, my relief was palpable and my guise somewhat pale. Bingham, who’d been riding shotgun, looked to be in shock. He spoke Spanish pretty well so I asked him what she had been ranting about … “oh, she sees angels” he explained. I thought it probably best not to enquire any further!
Never has a Whopper and Cheese tasted so good!
Without further ado we made a beeline for Burger King. What followed was an orgy of fast food. Never has a Whopper and Cheese tasted so good. We hung around in BK like a bad smell for a good hour. Other thru-hikers came and went, each with different and more dramatic reports of impregnable snow in the Sierras or 40 mile waterless stretches beyond Tehachapi. I tried to stay focuses on the moment, guzzled another quart of Cherry Cola and contemplated the pudding menu … I would worry about all that trail stuff when I really needed to. Now it was all about the joys of town. Once I’d eaten my own body weight in junk food and felt suitably sick, I waddled off to the Best Western. The Colorado Hiker Flash were very generously letting me crash in their room. The shower was glorious and the laundry most satisfying … the doleful stuff could wait until tomorrow!

2 thoughts on “PCT Day 34 – Zen and the Lost Art of Hitchhiking

  1. Sorry you are having so much trouble hitching a ride. I had the opportunity to give three thru-hikers a ride from the trail into Wrightwood. I was so excited to help out and hear the chatter. Everyone is so happy to be on the trail. Wishing it was me.

    Liked by 1 person

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