Pacific Crest Trail -

Escaping the vortex

We have had the extreme pleasure of experiencing the full effect of the Trail Magic Vortex that is in the distance between Hiker Heaven and Hiker Town. This has brought our mileage down but has also allowed us to all take some time off to relax and rest up for what lies ahead in the next 500 miles. We have really enjoyed all the trail has had to offer thus far but we are now counting the miles until we are out of the desert!

When we left the Sauffley’s we headed out in the evening and made it 4.2 miles in the dark before heading to sleep. We have discovered that nothing helps put you to sleep faster than weak headlamp batteries. The next day we woke up early and hiked the 19.9 miles to San Francisquito road. This is where the trail is closed for 39.4 miles due to the Powerhouse Fire and also where you can catch a ride down to the infamous home of the Anderson’s. The PCT offers an alternative route around the closure which is a 21 mile road walk down San Francisquito Canyon Road to Elizabeth Lake road to Pine Canyon Road to pick up the trail where the closure ends.

It’s hard to describe an experience at the Casa De Luna trail magic home of taco salad and amazing kindness. The trail angels Terri and Joe who run Casa De Luna host more hikers than you could imagine in one place every single night. When the van we were traveling in pulled up in front of the house I heard a bunch of people clapping. When we got out, I realized that they were clapping for us. Everyone there claps when a new hiker or group arrives to welcome them to the unique experience that comes with a stay at the Anderson’s. They make pancakes and coffee in the morning and huge vats of taco salad ingredients for dinner every single day.

The amount of work that goes in to making enough food to feed up to 70 people each night is an incredible feat that is repeated day after day at Casa De Luna by Terri and Joe. They have a table set up in front of the house where hikers can choose a rock and paint whatever they want on it and then find a spot in the endless backyard to display it. There is a pathway under the trees in the backyard that leads to all these small flat campsites along the side of the trail that seems to go on forever. It’s one of the coolest things we’ve seen so far along the trail.

We had a fantastic time here and it was hard for us to leave but after two days we packed up our stuff and with a ride from trail angel Jack Rabbit we were back on the trail at San Jacinto Road again. While packing up our bags before hitting the road walk a nurse pulled up in her car and asked us about who we are and what we are doing. She was so sweet and friendly and very eager to learn about why these groups of bearded men with packs have been walking down the road every day. We spoke with her for a while before heading up the first hill of the road walk. I had just gotten to the top of the hill, about fifteen minutes into our walk, when my foot slipped on some sand and I fell and scraped my leg on the gravel. Not a minute after falling Jack Rabbit pulled back up from dropping some other hikers off further down the road and asked if we were okay. I was fine, but decided that going back to the Anderson’s to properly clean and cover the scrape was the best idea. So another huge pile of taco salad was made and devoured and we set out for the road again the next morning.

We hiked the road in no time flat and as our day neared it’s end a man in a pick up pulled up and started talking to Dion. It turned out that his wife was friends with the nurse we met the other day and they lived on Pine Canyon Road, the road we were taking to get back to the trail that night. He invited us to end our hike at his place and camp in their backyard for the night. So, that is exactly what we did. We awoke to the wonderful smell of bacon being cooked and were invited inside for breakfast and a peak into the life of a family that unschool’s their children. The Canfield family has three daughters that range in age from 10 to 17 that they have unschooled from home. It is a very interesting take on education and I really learned a lot from visiting with them. Buddy enjoyed seeing their garden, zip line in the back yard and all their newborn kittens that they care for in a little shed out back. We left mid afternoon to do the 2.7 miles on the road up to where the trail is, what a bad idea. It was so hot! Mid day hiking is not our favorite but we received a text from Buddy’s friend Cali he met in Cajon Pass that she and her dad were going to meet us by Hiker Town and do a little bit of trail magic for some hikers down there.

We trudged our way through the heat and made it to Hiker Town mid afternoon where we met Cali and her dad Dip. We drove down to the end of the road crossing there and camped next to the Aqua Duct. Dip had a cooler full of beer, soda and tons of ice and was passing out drinks to all the hikers who walked by. A good time was had by all and the next day we walked back to Hiker Town to begin our day from there on the trail and headed down the long hot walk that is the Aqua Duct. You walk on a dirt road for almost 20 miles which is easier than hiking the trail but there is no shade and it is just brutal when the sun is up. We have been working on early mornings and night hiking to try to get the miles in for this next section. I have a great Aunt who I’ve only met once a long time ago who lives in Tehachapi that we will stay with once we’ve finished this stretch so we are going to buckle down and get there!