PCT Day 9: Effin A and the KOA

Day 9 5-27-2015 Sleep 2200-400
Miles 401-447

The morning started off well
The morning was cool, with some trapped cold air in little canyons on the way.  But that sun came up and it was quickly hot once more.  I am really glad I did all that heat training before getting on the trail.  I would crank the sauna, stretch as I usually do, but just see how long I could stay in there at 170degrees and 10% humidity, brutal.  I passed the 420 mile mark.  Of course it was the nicest mile marker with decorations of a plant/flower of some kind.  When I say mile mark: people are able to tell where they are via an app on the phone.  Often there is a “500” written with rocks or something like that.  It is not the highway; there are not green signs every mile of the trail.  This 420 mile mark reeked of marijuana.  There was not a rolled up joint for every hiker to celebrate there completion of 420 miles.  Although, that is a thought for some trail magic…just saying.  No instead the smell is radiating from a plant called “Poodle Dog Bush” Which, is an invasive noxious plant that grows rapidly after a wildfire rages.  It is similar to poison-oak and can really mess up your hike.  I am entering a pretty long section infested with it.
420 Miles done!  I get a gold star?

In the heat of the day, I am picking my way through the poison plant.  It sucked, I was miserable, “get me out of here” I thought.  At one point, I am sideways on the trail trying to avoid touching the plant to my left, while not touching it on my right.  I am covered in sweat and so uncomfortable.  Then I hear it.  Like glass shattering.  The high pitched sound of a rattler.  “Oh eff me, I think”  standing still as to not touch any plant or startle the snake more, I try to figure out where the snake is.  I can’t see anything, the trail is all overgrown and there is no sight to the ground.  Shit.  Kill me now, I think.  A few deep breaths later and I am able to make out what I think is the snake.  So I continue picking my way through the poodle dog bush.  The snake seems to be getting louder, but surely he will understand my predicament?  Not how it works?  So I got out of that situation, walked for ten minutes or so to relax then found a place to regroup.  Laying on my back, with my feet up; I think to myself, Joey relax.  It is just a stupid plant and a little reptile.  You are suppose to be hiking 50 miles a day.  You are suppose to be a badass.  Suck it up and stop being a pussy!  And sure enough that worked.  I keep hiking on for a ways.  Dripping sweat and losing my mind.  When I looked up and realized that I had startled a young female “airing out” a little ways off the trail.  She covered up sort of, but remained topless.  I awkwardly tried not to be awkward.  I kept my glance forward on the trail, but tried to be friendly, as though not ignoring her.  Yes, real smooth Joey.  We deduced that it was hot out (thus the nudity) and I wished her a good day as I moved on.  Feeling dumb, I got a chuckle about the encounter.  Thinking to myself, “whelp, I don’t know if I could have made that more awkward” I should be used to it, all those street festivals back in San Fran.  But I guess it just caught me off guard.  This kind of thing happens on the trail, not super often.  But I can’t count the times where I hadn’t seen someone for hours and decide I am just going to change my shorts right here.  And then magically there is always someone walking around the bend.  And I get to do the, “OH, HEY, nice day huh?”  So it is good to receive for a change, or give, I don’t know.  

Poodle Dog Bush, it even looks like a cannabis plant
Focus! Yes back to…what was I doing again?  Oh yea, dripping sweat, getting fried and losing my mind.  Like the scene from the movies, I reached the next water.  Running, lunging forward and falling to my knees.  Face plant H2O style.  Water never tasted so good.  I was actually excited for the next nine miles.  It was a huge descent down to my resupply.  I thought, “I am going to rip this up and be flying” all full of myself.  And full of **it I was.  I ran a bit but my quads started giving out, damn this is a long descent.  Finally, I popped out at the road and was basically limping.  I walked/hobbled over to the Acton KOA and was surprised by the hoard of thru hikers.  It was like a music festival, only dirtier…if that is possible.  Got my package from the store and sprawled out on the lawn to repack my pack.  So I want you to visualize when you are packing for a trip and you have your stuff all spread out on the bed at home.  Okay, now that is me, except on the grass, with my shoes off and feet up on the picnic bench.  I see a nice looking fella come over and kneel down by the sprinkler box.  He starts poking at it with a screwdriver he has procured from his pocket (looks like he has done this before).  I ask, “oh are you going to turn the sprinklers on? Do I need to move?”  He looks up at me and grunts.  Since he wasn’t adamant about it, and didn’t make more notion as I stayed put, I figured, NO, no Joey, you do not have to move, you will not get wet.  Well you shouldn’t assume…ASS.  Sure enough the water starts spraying and now I am doing the Chinese fire drill trying to move all my stuff to a safe zone.  All in all, pretty hilarious…just not for me.  It was nice to get wet, but my electronic stuff is rather adverse to water.  I pack up in huff and retreat back to the trail before cursing too much and making a scene.  As I am walking uphill from the KOA, the tiredness sets in.  I thought I was going to hike on for another three or so hours.  I decide if I am this tired, I must need the rest.  Bed early, wake early and make up for it.  I realize in writing this, this was by and far my most “exciting” or “dramatic” day on the trail.  Touché KOA
I get to go all the way down there!


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