Contentment

May 2, 2017

This morning brought the delight of a hot shower, delicious breakfast, and Jay feeling much better after a sound night’s sleep. The Rock Inn had provided just the medicine needed!

It was with reluctance that we left this haven of warmth and friendliness to face the inhospitable wind once again as we walked two miles back to the PCT. Clouds still hugged the mountain tops, which was where the PCT quickly took us.

Near noon, the clouds lifted, revealing blue sky and sunshine! When we saw two hikers, Cheetoh and Ruby, eating lunch in the lee of a rock escarpment, we decided to join them. We enjoyed the conversation as much as the food, once again trading hiker stories. The end of lunch was marked by a western tanager, first sighted by Cheetoh. We all paused, captivated with its bright colors of yellow body, black wings, and red head. These birds have my all time approval, because not only are they beautiful, but during breeding season, they eat many insects, including wasps!

Lifting clouds reveal azure sky – at least for a few moments!

Soon after we began hiking again, the clouds returned, making our sunny lunch just a memory.

Water today came from a spring at Upper Shake Campground. Trail crews have put a great deal of work into this portion of the PCT, creating a lovely detour to fetch life-giving liquid! Live oaks and Coulter pines became more numerous, paving the trail with cushiony pine needles peppered with rolling acorns.

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Pollen (male) cones on a Coulter pine

Near the end of the day, we came across this hiker-made sign. Seeing miles marked in kilometers reinforced the knowledge that we shared the PCT with many people from other countries.

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800 kilometers = 497 miles

We pitched our tent a half mile south of Sawmill Campground, once again choosing solitude over the companionship of other hikers. Temperatures had dropped precipitously since our sunny lunch, and I crawled into my sleeping bag wearing all the clothes from my pack. I admit to harboring a few longing memories of last night’s comfort at The Rock Inn. However, as I reflected upon western tanagers, pollen cones from Coulter pines, and acorn signposts, serene tranquility filled my heart. (My nose, on the other hand, remained cold!) πŸ™‚

May 3, 2018

Early in our hike today we came across another hiker-made signpost. Five hundred miles seemed like a lot until I did the math and realized that we still had 2,150 miles to go!

500 miles! Worth celebrating!

A man offered us water and mints from his car as we crossed a dirt road. He was running support for another hiker, but had come prepared to help anyone he met. We ate the mints with gratitude and thanks. I’m now embarrassed to admit, I have forgotten this trail angel’s name.

An unexpected trail angel!

Live oaks and pines continued to line the trail, bathing us in beauty. The sunshine brought rising temperatures. With a mostly downhill slant to our path, miles flew by!

Blue skies and sunshine filter through the canopy of oaks and pines, with green ground cover delighting the eyes!

“Enjoy the trees,” Jay warned. “We’ll be hitting Antelope Valley this evening, and it will be a while before we see such lush vegetation again.”

Our first good look at Antelope Valley, notorious for wind and high temperatures.

As the afternoon progressed, the ubiquitous wind began to strengthen. Chamise chaparral and dry grasses became the major life forms around us. Though we had not planned to reach Antelope Valley today, our light packs and the easy trail kept urging us forward.

Nearing the valley floor, our oak and pine cover was left behind.

Just on the other side of Highway 138, a sizeable piece of property has been turned into a hiker hostel. The owner, Richard, and the caretaker, Bob, are happy to have hikers take shelter here for a donation of $10 per person. They provide a shuttle to Neenach Cafe and Market, which is owned by Richard, but we arrived just as the last shuttle was returning.

Hikers are welcome to pitch their tent on the bare dirt anywhere on the property. There are many small buildings with beds available on a first come, first served basis. One bathroom serves all hikers (about 30 that night). The wind, which was rapidly approaching gale force on the sweeping valley floor, convinced Jay and me to take shelter in a room. Not too clean, but it was private, with walls sturdy enough to block the wind, which was all I asked.

A sprawl of small rooms house either none-to-clean beds, or a jumble of junk.

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Hikertown
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Another view of this hiker hostel.

8 thoughts on “Contentment

  1. Congratulations on completing the first 500 miles of the pct. I was glad too when you were able to shelter in the rock creek inn.

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  2. Thanks for the description, Sis! And I loved the Rock Creek Inn postcard. Looks like a neat place to visit. I’m so glad your hike is racking up the miles. Nice job!

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    1. The Rock Inn is definitely worth visiting if one wants a short walk back in time, to an era where one has a sink in your bedroom and the bathroom values function over form. I’m very grateful it was there when we needed it!

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  3. The Rock Inn is definitely worth visiting if one wants a short walk back in time, to an era where one has a sink in your bedroom and the bathroom values function over form. I’m very grateful it was there when we needed it!

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  4. When you are going to pass through ebbett’s pass or Carson pass, if you let us know when, we could meet you with supplies you need.

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