Casa de Luna – 500.5 miles.
So I’ve decided to embrace my trail name Snakebite. I wasn’t convinced at first as it didn’t happen on trail, but the trail folk seem to like to story of the crazy Aussie who gets bitten by a snake and goes to eat icecream instead of the hospital. Other names that I’ve attracted are Pouch, Onamahranarinkydink, Burqua… I think there may be others but Snakebite has officially stuck 🙂
It became official when we had to sign a big canvas at Casa de Luna. Every hiker signs, and each new group of hikers has their photo taken in front of it. Someone has our photo so I will hunt it down for you 🙂
I wake…when I wake. It’s still early but not my normal craziness. I’m keen to leave early to avoid the sun. There are pancakes which my vegan belly won’t eat, but I find some friendly bagels and create an amazingly healthy bagels in maple syrup hiker brekkie. All of the healthy things.
People are still sleeping. There is a closure along the PCT so we have to figure out the logistics of getting to the next section. We’re offered a ride in a few hours.
And I’m offered a beer. At 830am.
When in Rome.
So my early morning start becomes an afternoon start. We walk to the shop for more cold things. There is more music and chatting and corn rowing.
Finally we pile into cars after shot-gunning beers (apparently a pre-trail tradition) and head to… a bar. Holy crap. When do we hike??? This is the place where we can hitch to the start of the next section (so no it’s not all about the beer). We eat late lunches and wait out the sun a little. I’ve had enough and am antsy to get going so I stick my thumb out and a few of us get a ride up the road.
Once there, the rest want to wait for the whole gang (Cookie, Chloe, Ceili, Tara, Sam, Kyle, Rodrigo, Jae, Ratatouille…the gang is big!) to start hiking. It’s hot on the side of the road, and I am impatient so I start the hike. I’m also very slow uphill so I expect they will catch me.
The detour is about 2 miles before the PCT officially starts. It’s all up, but foresty and pretty. I make it up and keep going along the PCT proper. I can’t stop. I’m pumped. This is a big day.
IT’S 500 MILE DAY!!!
I hike fast, eating too many midgies on the way. I’m a woman possessed and cant wait to get there.
And then I do.
500 miles. The furthest I’ve ever walked. The hardest I’ve ever hiked. The most challenging but amazing long experience I’ve had.
I’m stupidly proud of myself.
And then I wait. And wait. Where are they all??
I set up my sleep pad next to the rocks, eat some things, take some selfies. It starts getting dark.
Then I hear them. The sound carries from quite far away and I get THE SONG ready on my phone for when they get there. I see their headlamps.
Hooray!!! It’s Jae and Kyle there first. Fist pumps, cheers, singing. We’ve done it.
Then we get ready for the next and the next to arrive. We sing Proclaimers a million times. We make an arch with our hands for the next ones who come in. We set up our headlamps on flash mode so it becomes a strobe light party around the 500 mile mark.
Someone has packed in drinks which get passed around. We dance for a long time right there on the trail. Then somehow it turns into a talent show. Fueled by liquid courage, one by one we all get up in front of the group and sing a song. Some funny, some clever, one original, some serious. All amazing.
Who are these people that get excited by the crazy things, jump at the opportunities, take the risks?? Where have they been hiding? The PCT is a perfect magnet.
Finally we are sleepy. There is a dirt road about 1/2 mile away. We march out, get to the road and all line up next to each other on our pads in our bags and cowboy camp under the stars.
The stars are moving a little circle-like above my head…what was in that bottle? It’s beautiful. My absolute favourite day so far.