-Woke up in the car at our campground at Pioneer Mail. It was beautiful outside when I woke up and it was nice and warm inside the car.
-While we were packing everything up, we noticed some hikers heading southbound. (It is important for me to notice a hiker's direction because most of the people hiking southbound are hikers from last year who are hiking south to Kick Off at Lake Morena. If they are a returning hiker hiking to Kick Off, it means I probably know them from last year.) We walked over to the hikers and sure enough, they are old friends! We got to hang out with Puppy and other hikers who I know but whose names I forgot (Shotput?). Lol. It was a very happy reunion. I'll see them at Kick Off this weekend.
-Tin Man hiked south to Lake Morena while his buddies Jack Rabbit and Magellan packed up their car and headed south to meet Tin Man at Kick Off.
-From what I can tell... Kick Off 2014 is going to be one outrageously fun party. There are so many more people showing up for Kick Off than from what I had expected. I'm sure many from PCT 2013's Vortex will show up. I'm thrilled to see everyone!
-We finally left and stopped by the outfitter shop in Mt. Laguna. I needed a new z-lite sleep pad and a sheet of Tyvec. While I was shopping I got to catch up with Dave Super and my old friend Rustic from last year in Washington. Rustic and I became very close friends towards the end of last years' hike and it was GREAT to see him alive and well!
-From the outfitter we headed down to Julian so 1-Track and I could get our mail from the PO, eat, and get dropped off back on the trail at Scissor's Crossing (mile 77). It's been a busy day!!!!!!! I've been working non-stop; everything is organized and I am ready to go back to the trail.
-Storytime and Giggles are awesome. They have been more than helpful, patient, fun, and accommodating. Their trail magic is outrageously awesome. Words cannot express how amazing they truly are.
- 1-Track and I got dropped off at Scissor's Crossing. We decided to relax in the shade of an overpass until the sun goes down since this next 14 miles is a constant incline up a mountain. On the PCT, this is a popular place because it is the only good rest spot and water cache in the desert maintained by a trail angel in the area.
-The trail angel who maintains the Scissor's Crossing's cache is named is Larry. He has been bringing water down to this overpass for years, supplying hikers with a desperately needed water source. His water cache has a reputation of being very reliable. (***FYI: hikers should never expect trail magic no matter how reliable it has been in the past!!!!***) Today, just as 1-Track and I got cozy under the bridge and ready to rest up for our big climb, Trail Angel Larry came stomping down beneath the overpass to the cache site where I was seated. Larry was angry, but composed. He didn't make eye contact and didn't come across as wanting to be sociable. I was taken back at first. So I introduced myself to Larry by saying hi and asking if he was the trail angel. He said he was indeed the trail angel but that he was quitting. He had had it. He was fed up. He was hurt to have to stop providing this magic, but he had to do what he had to do. These are the impressions I was getting out of his words and behavior. But I wasn't understanding exactly what the problem was. I decided to help him with whatever he needed help with anyway, without question. I started emptying water bottles and taking the bottles up to his car. After chatting, I learned that Larry has been maintaining this water cache for years, and due to the cache site being located on a state park, Larry has had to do some politicking in order to bring hikers water. Things were going well until some hikers recently trashed the cache site leaving a huge mess for Trail Angel Larry to clean up. Those hikers poorly represented the PCT community and all of the locals who are supportive of our hike. It's ashamed that a few bad seeds are ruining it for the rest of us... but I completely understand why Larry has to turn his back on the cache. He can't and shouldn't jeopardize smearing his name on our (hikers') behalf. Although finding myself in this encounter with Larry was a bit awkward and uncomfortable, I am glad to say that I learned a great deal from this experience. I learned how hard trail angels work to bring magic to us. I learned how large of an impact us hikers can have on the communities we pass through. I have always appreciated and loved trail magic and the angels who bring it, but now I really value all the behind-the-scenes action that angels are involved in. THANK YOU TRAIL ANGELS! YALL HELP MAKE THIS JOURNEY POSSIBLE. THIS JOURNEY HAS SAVED MY LIFE, AND YOU HAVE BEEN A PART OF IT. I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL.
-Rustic showed up to the cache site a bit later. He weighed my pack. My base weight is 15.5 pounds! Yay!
-My pack feels so light and organized! I hope I don't need a tent! Lol.
-Valerie works at the Julian Post Office... one of the friendliest post offices on the entire PCT. She has been such a great help to me and my brother. Collectively, 1-Track and I went in to the post office about 5 times one day! Valerie was so friendly, sweet, motherly, patient, and supportive of us. I couldn't go without mentioning her and how thankful I am to have met her. :)
-Got to night hike with 1-Track. I really enjoyed hiking with him.