For the sake of efficiency and time I am not going to be too highly detailed with zero (non-hiking) days. My main focus is what I am doing on trail, this way I can stay on top of my writing. As much as I love to detail everything out, trail writing is hard and time consuming, especially on top of being exhausted and in pain most of the time. I wish it weren't like this, but it'll help me be faster with my writing. Just wanting to keep y'all updated. Additionally, I would like to mention that I feel my writing quality has gone down in comparison to my Oregon Coast Trail writing. Each day out here is very intense and down time is minimal. When I write, it is usually from notes I keep each night and when I get to a town I bang it all out. I may try and change my writing style while I am out here, to capture more in the moment feelings and experiences, rather than word vomiting from memory during town stops! Thanks goes to each and every one of you reading and supporting me out here. I seriously appreciate it. Much love to all of you.
At grandmas I wake with a swollen leg. It alarms me. Collectively we all wake one after another. As the day progresses, I grow more and more stressed about my wound. My leg is so swollen, my old blister opens a little more in between my toes. On top of this, my period arrives in full force and my cramps keep me on the couch. Standing is so painful I grit my teeth and make faces. My pain tolerance is usually quite high and this, hurts.
AJ, Honeybuns, Bananas and DG do a resupply run. They're gone for most of the day. When they return, we only have a few hours before DGs uncle takes us back to the lake. Annie and I still need to do our resupply. Amid the chaos of resupply sorting, I get frantic and I cry a little. I escape out back to smoke a little bit of a cigarette and I weep. The pain, the frustration and my period all together make me a mess. I accept the fact that I need to not hike, so my wound can scab up and I can avoid infection.
DGs grandmother recognizes the amount of pain I am in and she joins us, while Bananas drives us to a CVS pharmacy. I buy gauze, some stretchy tape, iodine and Aquaphor. We then head to a grocery store and a natural foods store for a little resupply food.
I mentally decide to hitchhike to the nearest town, Wrightwood where I can rest and let my leg scab up before I get back on trail. Having no insurance, it's extremely important that I avoid infection. Bananas says he'll join me and I am so thankful for his moral support.
When DGs uncle arrives, we say our goodbyes to his sweet grandmother. She made all of us feel like her own grandkids, it was amazing. We all load up in the truck, and drive out into the dusty dusky mountains, back to the picnic area we came in on.
When we arrive, it's dark. We all snake our way down, down, down the hill back to the pavilion. The rest of the group will camp here and hike out in the morning, Bananas and I will hitch out. When we get there, we're greeted by a dog barking at us and two drunk guys, Tom and Nate. As we bed down, I set up right across from them. They drink and smoke cigarettes and try to remember the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody. They can't recall it, so I pull it up on my phone and read it word for word to them. They continue on into the night and I finally nod off into sleep.
When we wake, Bananas and I make a sign from an old pizza box saying "PCT HIKERS 2 WRIGHTWOOD" and we move to the road. Right as we hold up our sign, I get an email from a trail angel I had contacted the night before saying he'd come pick us up and on top of that, host us until my leg gets better. I don't say no to such an offer, so we move back down to the entrance to the park.
Tom and Nate from the night before hang with us a bit while we wait at a creek intersecting the road. Rich, the trail angel shows up in a blue Subaru with a spoiler in the back. He's in his 60's and happily loads up our packs into his trunk.
We drive past the San Andres faultline and up into Wrightwood, it sits at about 6k feet.
Inside his tiny house are a few other hikers milling about, doing dishes and vacuuming. The atmosphere is calm and inviting. Fran is there! She left us a while back in Idyllwild on a family emergency, but now she's back with us. Behind us is the rest of the group and they should be with us in a day or two.
I spend the next three days milling about. Cooking for folks and cleaning house. I find a great pleasure in communal cooking and sharing and we make the house a jovial wonderful place for about four days.
There's this thing that happens sometimes called a vortex, where you're sucked into a place and you can't leave. Rich provided such a relaxing and quiet space, it was hard to leave! When my wound finally had a good scab, me AJ and Annie heaved our packs and got a ride to the trail head.
My feet are finally back on the PCT.