Miles Hiked: 16.2
PCT Mileage: 651.3
Today we had less than 17 miles to go to the road where Fry’s friend Freddy was going to pick us up after he got off work at 3pm. I wasn’t in a rush to leave since we had so much time and the trail was mostly downhill. Fry is from California and knows so many friends and family who live in towns along the trail. It’s been fun to meet all his people! Doggone left first since he was trying to get to the trailhead by 1pm to meet his wife Taxi Lady so they can go back to their camper in Tehachapi and move it farther up the trail. The rest of us (Pippin, Fry and myself) left about 40 minutes later. I was hoping it would give Lumber Jack more time to catch up to us. I was the first one to leave camp. The morning air was chilly.
I enjoyed hiking the first six miles alone. I listened to a podcast and hiked pretty fast because the trail was really easy. I sat down on a log to take a break and dump some rocks out of my shoes. When I did Fry and Pippin caught up they were hiking pretty fast. Pippin told me that Dirty Mike was in the hospital with heart issues and that she was trying to catch up to Doggone so we could get a ride into town fast. The plan was to rent a car and go see Dirty Mike at the hospital in Palmdale about an hour and a half away. Pippin was very upset and worried. I felt really bad for Mike and was glad that he got off trail two days ago so that when the heart issues started he could go to the hospital right away.
The three of us hiked as fast as we could for the next few hours. My muscles were really tight and it kept getting worse the longer we went. I was glad we all hiked together and kept each other company because I was not in the mood to rush today. If I would have known I would have woken up way earlier so I could take more breaks. We caught up to Doggone as Taxi Lady pulled into the bus stop near Walker Pass. The tree of us squeezed into the car with Doggone, Taxi Lady, Feels, Booster Seat, Buffalo Roy, Tag a long, and their two dogs Sam and Zorro. It was quite a squeeze to fit all nine of us plus two dogs into the back cab of a Toyota Tundra. The bed was filled with all our packs plus Doggone’s camping stuff. We got into Ridgecrest fairly fast. It was 1pm by the time we all got to Ephen Tacos where we all enjoyed lunch together. It made sense to get food before we did anything else. It gave Pippin time to reserve a rental car and for Lumber Jack to catch up and hitch into town. Ephen Tacos was really good. I had three veggie tacos, slaw, and a beer. Directly after we went to pick up the car and Lumber Jack from Mc Donald’s. We dropped our packs at Freddy’s house and picked up Dirty Mike’s belongings from the hotel where he left in a hurry on the way to the ER and then transferred to a bigger hospital in Palmdale. All of his belongings were a mess inside a garbage bag. An hour and a half later we put them all inside his backpack and checked into the hospital.
We all took turns visiting with Mike. He was sad to get off trail but generally in good spirits. He never stops cracking jokes. I’m pretty sure he drove some of his doctors crazy or made them laugh a lot. We found out days later he had some sort of small heart attack with unknown causes. It’s such a bummer we won’t see him again for a while. There is still hope that he will come out in Washington. After visiting with Mike for as long as we reasonably could, we went to resupply at the grocery store and trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s is so good I wish we could always resupply there. It was late by the time we dropped off the car and met up with Freddy. I felt bad that Fry didn’t get to spend much time with his friend but it was important that we got to see Mike! Freddy was really fun to hang out with. We all went to a bar for dinner. I didn’t get anything because I ate so many Trader Joe snacks in the car including Dolmas, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, and cheese crisps with truffle oil. I had no regrets. At Freddy’s house I was pretty fast at getting all my chores done. I had an amazing sleep on nothing but the floor! I was surprised how well I slept with absolutely nothing under me but a carpet. I must have been tired.