Thursday, October 9, 2014

FAQ about the PCT, After the Fact (Part One)

John Muir Trail
hikers gave the
best leftovers!

These are the questions I got asked most while we were hiking the PCT. 

Q: What is your trail name and how did you get it?
A: My name is Leftovers and this is my husband, Tabasco. I got my name because I was eating everybody’s leftover food at Lake Morena. He got his because he carried a bottle of habenero Tabasco for most of the trail.

Q: Where are you from?
A: St. Louis, Missouri. (Actually, I’m from St. Charles, but nobody knows where that is.) This would often lead to a discussion about the city, in which the people who had actually visited seemed positive about it (“The Ozarks are beautiful.” “City Museum is awesome!”) and the people who hadn’t visited were negative (“Don’t they have a lot of crime?” “Isn’t the weather terrible?” “Isn’t that the place where all the white people shoot all the black people all the time for no reason?”).

Q: What was the highlight of the trail?
A: The parts where we weren’t hiking! (Cue laugh track.) But I’m actually serious. Hanging out with other hikers and going to trail angel’s houses and finding caches of soda by the side of the road— that was honestly my favorite part.

Q: I mean, what was your favorite section?
A: Oh, that! Well, that’s a different story. For most of the trail, I told people that the Lake Tahoe area, including the incredible lakes in the Desolation Wilderness, was my favorite part because of the sweeping views and the wildflowers. However, in the end, this section was beat out by the North Cascades in Washington, which was the most beautiful scenery I could imagine. Wide views, jagged peaks, shreds of mist, blazing blue skies, larch trees turning golden, acres of huckleberry bushes blushing red— it was the most incredible thing I had ever seen, or probably ever will see. (Also, by the end of the trail I was feeling better emotionally, which made it easier for me to appreciate the beauty.)

This is pretty much what all of northern Washington looked like.

Q: What was your least favorite section?
A: Northern California. By the time we left the Desolation Wilderness, I found myself very disheartened that we’d been in California for two and a half months, and we still had a month left before we’d hit Oregon. The weather was horribly hot and humid, we ran into the creepiest town I’d ever seen (Belden Town, if you’re curious), a crop of forest fires erupted which turned the sky red and rained ash down on us, and we woke up one morning to find a dead bear in a pool of blood on a road twenty feet from our campsite. It was pretty much awful.

Q: Did you see any cool animals?
A: Yes! We saw several black bears (not all of them were dead), which was thrilling. We also saw a lynx and a gray fox in southern California. In the Goat Rocks of Washington we spotted some shaggy white-furred mountain goats. And of course we saw some cool rattlesnakes in the desert.

See that tiny black speck near the edge of the river? That's a bear!
(Also, see the nice misty scenery? That's smoke from a forest fire.)
Coming tomorrow… part two! 


1 comment:

  1. Absolutely know where St. Charles is...spent the night tent camping in the city park right by the old train depot. Really enjoyed our night there. Walked to the Lewis & Clark restaurant; ate at a great breakfast spot a couple blocks up from the park. Lovely town!