Another truly magical day

I’m sitting at a table on a beautiful patio, nibbling on fresh bread stuffed with garlic cloves, wondering how on earth I came to be here. When I was in Belden talking to a local about the trail I said ‘it’s amazing because you never know what’s around the corner’. The last few days couldn’t be closer to that truth.

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Today has been full of so many welcomed surprises that I’m pinching myself to make sure it wasn’t just a dream. After hitting the trail around 7:30am, I found myself at the highway into Chester after 3 miles. This is where all of the folks I had camped with last night were heading. Those who got there before me had called a trail angel to pick them up, and when I crossed the highway I saw there was trail magic on the other side! When the trail angel arrived we realised she was Piper’s Mom, the one who refills the coolers with fresh fruit, sodas, packets of chips and other goodies. Not only did she satisfy my hunger cravings, she satisfied my childhood dreams of one day being famous after she asked my name and then exclaimed ‘you’re Muk Muk!?’ She had seen my recent horror films from a link on the PCT 2013 Facebook page and immediately gave me a huge hug, telling me she was so relieved I was alright. I almost got teary again. Thank you Piper’s Mom for looking after us hiker folk, we appreciate it more than you can imagine!

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The next water source was Stover Spring which had a pipe gushing with icy cold water. I wet my entire t-shirt, hat and bandana as the day was already super hot! Luckily the first half of the day was relatively flat, and if it wasn’t for all the logs across the trail acting as speed humps, I would have been flying along after my Mountain Dew, banana and packet of sun chips this morning!

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There were signs of horses close by ahead on the trail and I wondered if the girl riding the horse was ahead of me. I spent a long time imagining what it would be like as a horse walking the trail. Sometimes I actually feel like a pack horse with my hiking poles acting as my front legs as I plod along down the trail. When I caught up to the horses I discovered it was two men from a property close to Drakesbad. They asked me about the hike and more specifically how often I set up my tent. I told them that I may set it up more frequently after my incident with the mountain lion and relived some of the account. They reacted as if I was telling them what I had for breakfast and simply said ‘yeah you don’t want to get too close to those things’.They also told me the river a mile away was big enough to swim in which brought absolute joy to my day, but an even greater surprise was in store…

I took a fresh sandwich and a cold beverage down to the river and sat in one of the most perfectly situated spots for my lunch break during a heat wave. After gobbling down every last crumb of the delicious sandwich it was time to immerse myself in the freezing cold water. It was absolute bliss and one of those moments on trail when you realise just how lucky you are to have the freedom to be out here.

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The 1000 foot climb after the river during the heat of the day was not so blissful. I felt completely lethargic and wanted nothing else than to pull out my sleeping mat and have a snooze under a shady tree. Something however was pulling me forward towards Drakesbad. I knew I didn’t need to arrive until 7:30am tomorrow when breakfast was served, but when I realised I could make it there around 6:30pm, I suddenly got the motivation to simply get there as quickly as possible. The thought of a comfortable place off trail was extremely tempting, even though I knew they didn’t let hikers camp on site.

The final 3 miles to the ranch were extremely confusing and badly marked, to the point that I found myself way off trail and had to bush whack a substantial distance to get back on track. Part of my motivation to get to Drakesbad was to fill up on water, as I’d already passed the other drinkable sources, and when I saw the bubbling lake which was the last source before the ranch, I knew I simply had to get there. Even the exit to the ranch wasn’t signposted, and Halfmile’s app sends you bush whacking down a grassy slope only to be stopped by a huge stream. I had to backtrack to the first junction I’d passed and was quite frustrated by this point as it was almost 7pm already.

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I felt like a complete outcast when I arrived and was scared to walk too close to the other guests because of my stench and filth. I was forced to walk inside the restaurant which doubles as the front desk. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to ask. I said to the woman Francine that I had a reservation for breakfast tomorrow and she said ‘you must be Rozanne, we also have a table reserved for you tonight’. My mouth dropped open as she indicated the table outside with my name on the reserved sign. I teared up and gave her a ginormous hug. I don’t think she was expecting that reaction but hugged me back none the less. She even said I could shower first and then come back and eat!

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I was still in shock when I sat down and they came to take my order. I had a three course meal ahead of me and I was so hungry I could have eaten the napkin! I cleaned off every plate and was the last person in the entire restaurant. On my way to brush my teeth I passed a large group of people toasting marshmallows around the fire. They asked if I was hiking the PCT, and not long after I started talking, I had my first ever S’more in my hand (toasted marshmallow and chocolate inside two gram crackers), and the speakers seat around the fire. It took me a full hour to eat my S’more as I was telling story after story and enjoying answering all of the questions they had about the trail. At one point, one of the younger boys turned to me and said ‘I’m inspired’, my heart honestly melted.

Thank you again to all of the trail angels who shed absolute joy on us PCT’ers out of the kindest of their hearts!

16 thoughts on “Another truly magical day

  1. My son Zion is the boy you inspired. Both my boys keep talking about you: wondering where you are, how you’re doing, how awesome you are! Listening to your stories and positive outlook inspired me as well. We look forward to reading your blogs and wish you strength, courage and joy on your journey!
    (Oh and Zion wanted me to tell you he’s praying for you. 😉

    • You guys were amazing! Zion spoke like a boy well above his age. You have obviously raised two wonderful boys who I hope will endeavour to experience something like this in their lifetime. Amazing to meet you all and so happy that you can now share the adventure with me. Lots of love, Muk Muk

  2. Love this report! Hard to believe it was hotter than the desert, or that you’d never had a S’more before — wow! Not having had a S’more at some point in your childhood is positively un-American. Oh, wait…uh, never mind…

    And I just learned (from wise old Wikipedia) that the graham cracker was invented by a New Jersey Presbyterian minister, Sylvester Graham, as a healthful food to suppress “unhealthy urges.” He probably wouldn’t have approved of the S’more.

    It would have been a lot of fun to be around that campfire hearing your stories and watching the faces in your audience. How lucky those people were – better than a movie with Smell-o-Vision!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smell-O-Vision

  3. Glad you’re back in the groove. I saw UBs spot had several Help messages yesterday before a Cancelled message. And his track is west of PCT and circling. Any news? Who is Peanut? UB? That steak looked really tempting.

  4. Hei Mukmuk! So happy to see that you have been enduring some amazing trail angeling after your super scary adventure with Mr and Mrs Mountain Lion. You have loads of courage to have continued straight on. I know I would not have been able to! And now you are braving the heat in NoCal while I am having my little easy dinner in the garden and it must be a frying 20 degrees C (about 70F) here in Norway… BIG hug to you 🙂

  5. Well hello there Mukmuk! My name is Todd Lout and I was around the fire with you and took a photo of you the next morning withy my sister-in-law (Melissa, who commented here about her son).

    It was absolutely wonderful meeting you, hearing your stories and catching some rays beaming off of your sunny disposition. My family loved you and we’re gonna keep up with your posts!

  6. Hi Muk, when it is hot you should get a visor so your head can loose the body heat. Wearing a hat like you are will make you hotter. Or poke some ventilation holes in your hat.

  7. “She even said I could shower first and then come back and eat!” Yea what she was really saying was YOU STINK! But that is OK we all still love it! Great Prime Rib! Keep hydrated that heat sucks it out of you very fast.

    Keep Hiking!

  8. Hi darling, that looks like the best steak ever, that it even fits in your stomach!!.How lovely to meet a trail angel and thank them personally. Such great work those angels do and such an excitement for the pct hikers. Great country you are going through, so pleased that it is flat this time. Love Mutti xxoo

  9. Hi Roxanne, Sometimes your journey reminds me of an intense romance, with all the ups & downs & unexpected twists which, if allowed, can set us on a crazy emtional roller-coaster…..enjoy the ride!!
    scott 2

  10. Hi Roxanne, it was a pleasure meeting you on the trail in Southern Oregon! I hope you enjoy your stay in Ashland are able to sort out all that mail from the post office. Sara says the PCT elevation at Crater Lake is about 5,000 ft so hopefully you will be out of the smoke.

    All the best in your journey! Dale, Koko, & Kizzy (the Sheba Inu’s).

    • Dale you are such a champion! I’m still sorting through all the boxes haha! Thank you so much for driving me into town and helping me collect and deliver my 8 packages! Thank Koko and Kizzy too! 🙂

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