June 22, 2014

Hitch Hiking into Summer on the PCT

I am spending the first day of Summer at Bucks Lake in a stranger's family cabin who I just met yesterday while hitch hiking.

Having not a very good time in Sierra City, I needed to get out of the hole.  The problem was that I didn't feel like hiking. Sometimes on the PCT, I just have to get away. The trail is a beautiful experience but it's more about the enjoyment for me. If trail life gets frustrating, it's time to focus attention elsewhere.  So, I decided to try and hitch to Quincy.  As many vehicles raced by me with my thumb out, I quickly became discouraged.  A lady picked me up outside of Sierra City and brought me to an intersection where I should have more luck. I started walking again.

Car after car zipped past me as if I didn't exist. Later, an older couple stopped to tell me they were only going 2 miles up the road.  I would have taken the ride, but they didn't make that an option. 5:00pm and I was thinking about dropping into a campground.  Why would I stop trying though? It was summer and I had many hours left. Besides,  if it didn't work out, I'd pop up into the forest and pitch my tent like I always do. It was a Friday night but most cars seemed to be going the opposite direction.  Someone yelled at me out of their window, but I couldn't hear what they said over the nose of their vehicle.  I decided that was probably best for my marks against humanity.

Finally, a couple pulled over and let me hop in. They were from Reno, Nevada and were on a random day drive. As they squished all of their belongings to the side and apologized for the mess, I insisted it was perfectly fine because they were picking up trail trash anyway. When I haven't taken a shower in a week, am covered in dirt, and my hair is a rat's nest, it's silly that people would apologize for a mess. Me sitting in their car contributes to the mess. I often apologize for my appearance or putrifying trail scent. I'm telling you, it's a scent that makes day hikers smell like the only God given beautiful flower on this earth. As they dropped me off at a major Intersection, they explained it'd be an easy 21 mile hitch. Yes! I was halfway there! Things were looking up.

Finally having cell service, I called my boyfriend to see what he was doing.  Hanging out with his friends and he still decided to pick up the phone, which is one of the things I love about him.  He makes me feel important.  I told him about my hitch hiking and  how I wasn't sure how it was going to pan out. I needed a side adventure, and this was it! My spirits were coming up, and I laughed at the people who drove by pretending that I didn't exist.  Many people are so fearful for their lives that they don't get to experience the positive impact a stranger can make.

Not too much longer, and I got a ride from a guy who had just gotten off work. He could only take me 10 miles up the road, but that was better than nothing.  I hopped inside his car, chatted a bit, then I was on the road again with a big smile on my face. 11 miles to Quincy!  5-10 minutes later, a lady picked me up. We chit-chatted as I found out that she leads backpacking trips out of Tahoe.  "Amazing!" I thought. She proceeded to call her sister, so I would have a lawn to set my tent for the night. Then she popped up and asked, "Well, why do you want to be in Quincy anyway?" I said, I at least want a shower, and I needed to get away from Sierra City.  She offered me to come stay in her family's cabin at Bucks Lake with a couple friends. "You'll have a bed, a shower, and food. It's up to you, but I thought I'd offer."
My mind couldn't let that offer slide. It seemed wonderful, I just hoped that everyone else would welcome me as much as she did. 

As we arrived at her cabin, I was a little uneasy.  I didn't want to interfere with anything. Afterall, I was a stranger.  
I took a shower, and joined them for dinner on the gorgeous balcony with the lake in the background.  Pesto pasta with wine, and a delicious spinach salad. "Spinach!" I exclaimed.  I haven't had spinach in so long!  It was like heaven on my palate. Vegetables are not common thing I get on trail.  As we wined and dined, I felt completely spoiled.

Never do I expect to have such an amazing hitch hiking experience. These people took me in, a complete stranger who smelled like goop, and made me so happy!  I was their new trail friend. They all had huge back country experiences through their childhood and lifetime. It was a fun connection. 

I woke up in a comfy bed, on the first day of Summer, walked out on the balcony and stared at the lake as the sun's reflection glistened like a million crystals. The trees towered around me as I drank my cup of Good Earth tea. I am happy and spoiled.  Yesterday I was crying from multiple frustations and made a decision to skip a peice of the trail for my own sanity. To purists, this is a no-no; every foot of the trail has to be hiked. For me, I've learned there are goals that everyone has their way of achieving. 

In life, I may think I have to stick to a certain path because of societie's rules. Other human beings made those rules because of their personality traits, and what worked best for them. Someone else's best is rarely going to coincide with mine.  If I would have unhappily got back on the PCT instead of hitch hiking, I wouldn't be as happy as I am in this moment. It's possible that I'm wrong, but that gets into a discussion on quantum theories.  You can never fully know. It's one or the other.

So now, I am happily hiking back to the Pacific Crest Trail.  What an awesome break and a great way to start Summer. I think I'm going to jump in the lake and then hike to Belden. What a life! :)

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