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June 7, 2024 - Day 21

June 7, 2024 - Day 21

jbwils Jun 8th, 2024
jbwils's 2024 PCT Thru-Hike

We woke up this morning on the ridgeline looking down highway 15. It was a spectacular view with a subtle haze over the mountains. I got moving before Tiber and Spoons to beat some of the heat thinking I would stop about 10 miles in.

I stopped briefly at a water cache run by ‘The Trail Ratz’. They had a hand washing station and over 50 gallons of fresh filtered water for us. I loaded up about 4 liters and began the climb.

I think our bodies are starting to get used to this lifestyle as the miles came easy. It was a wonderful view the whole way up and it seemed we were climbing out of the heat of the desert. About 10 miles in, it may have been exhaustion, elevation, or walking 20 plus miles a day that created enough room for thought but an overwhelming feeling of gratitude washed over me. I was so full of love and thanks for the support a of my parents and loved ones. It was a very special moment for me as I started to get fairly emotional. It wasn’t an easy climb but I was at peace with each step, as sore as I may have been.

Rather than stop 10 miles in, I was feeling motivated and energized so I kept pushing. Unfortunately, I didn’t ration my water well and ran out about 4 miles from the next source. I knew between the McDonald’s feast the day before and the amount I had consumed throughout the day, I would be fine but I was craving a coke and a Powerade more than anything. I decided to just push through to the trail junction that led to a water source.

After getting to the top, there was a guy unloading things from his truck and he called me over. The first thing he said was ‘would you like a coke?’ Shocked, I happily accepted. He then pulled out a Powerade from his truck as well and offered it. At this point, I was convinced maybe I passed out a couple miles back and I was dreaming. He then unpacked a cooler and proceeded to pull out bread, avocados, cheese, spreads, and lettuce. ‘Feel free to make a sandwich as long as you wash your hands.’ His name was Joe and he is my first true experience of trail magic. His energy and generosity was incredibly contagious. He grew up in Mexico, left his home when he was 15, and started work as a trucker. Following that, he worked as a fisherman, and then took people out on snorkeling trips in Cancun. His Aunt then offered him a place to stay in Milwaukee so he grabbed his passport and visa and headed to the states. He visited California on vacation 35 years ago and hasn’t left since. He does high end construction now, has two sons, and lives out of his truck traveling around the national parks in California. He was a kind soul.

I spoke with him for a while until a couple walked up as well and Joe offered the same spread. Spoons and Tiber finally caught up and were equally pleased with the surprise meal, coke, and refreshments.

We continued our hike for 6 miles to hit highway 2 where we’d wait for another generous person to give us a ride to Wrightwood, a small ski town. The next section was one of my favorites thus far. We walked through Mountain High Ski Mountain and had some of the best views we’ve had all trip. We all were buzzing from the generosity and kind spirit of Joe and couldn’t be more thankful to be hiking the PCT.

Once we reached Highway 2, the first car that prove by stopped and gave us a ride into town. He said his name was Steve. He was with his wife who seemed to only speak Spanish. We didn’t grab her name but we were so happy for their kindness.

Once in town, he asked where we wanted to be dropped off. Wrightwood is a very small town consisting of just a couple stores and a small residential area. We saw a sign that said ‘All Beer on Sale’ and promptly asked to be dropped there.

After grabbing our suds, we ordered some pizza and headed to our cabin. Now, we feast and drink.

Today was a great day.

Happy days…

Previous: Jun 7th, 2024
Next: Jun 9th, 2024

Comments (2)


HillSlug98239 Jun 11th, 2024

Trail magic really is magical!


Pkbruchez Jun 10th, 2024

John, your Dad told me about this trek. What an adventure. Both of your parents were just bubbling with enthusiasm about your hike and blog and were kind enough to share the site when I ran into them at church. What beauty and what kind encounters. Oh yeah, huge congratulations on your architecture masters!!! Enjoy this well earned respite. Paul Bruchez


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