The message read, “Triple D (A walk in the park) or Astrid & Israh. Pizza & beer on me! Gail from California. We are in loop E, space 55. Meet us tonight (Tuesday) at Annie’s Creek Restaurant at 7:30 p.m.” I posted the note Monday on the bulletin board outside the camp store at Crater Lake National Park (Oregon), hoping to meet up with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hikers I’ve been following from a previous vacation in California a couple weeks prior.
To begin the story, I wrote an article about walking “briefly” along the PCT in June, https://300wordlimit.com/2013/07/11/sierra-buttes-hike-along-the-pacific-crest-trail/ and the girls I hoped to see again.
Dash, a hiker blogging about his experience, replied back to my inquiry (he mentions two girls from England) and said that they “all” should be hitting Crater Lake the same time as I will be there. What are the odds of that happening? I’m on vacation hiking around the Sierra mountains, go back to work for a couple weeks, then head out on another vacation up to the Redwoods National Park in Northern California and then over to Crater Lake on Monday for a few days. Could it be that I will see them again?
As soon as I checked into the campground on Monday, I posted my note and waited. Monday…..nothing. Tuesday, I added the dinner at Annie’s….nothing, although I did enjoy a Dead Guy beer and pizza. I went back to my campsite that night a little bummed but understanding the trail dictates timelines.
It’s Wednesday morning and I’m having coffee with my friend Kim when I notice a hiker in the site next to us. I moseyed on over, introduced myself and asked if he was a PCT hiker. Tom had been hiking for a few weeks and was off the trail for a couple days to meet up with his daughter who was bringing supplies he ordered from REI and to refresh with a shower and hot meals. I invited him back to our site for coffee, and a few hours later, after giving him a hard boiled egg, avocado, and other snacks, we were drinking beers while he was sharing stories of the PCT.
Early afternoon, Tom left to check into the lodge he reserved while Kim and I headed off for a picnic at a creek we found earlier that morning. As usual, we stopped at the store’s bulletin board to check if there was a message to my note, but no such luck. After our picnic we needed ice, and while Kim went into the store I checked the note. Nothing. But three guys that looked like they just got off the mountain, boxes at their feet (resupplies sent to the store from their family & friends), were hanging out at the picnic tables behind the board. David, Matt & Ed were PCT hikers and I gave them some money which immediately they bought ice cold beers. I laughed and asked if they were blogging about their experience, and they said no, but the guy they were hiking with had a blog, “A Walk in the Park.” What?! Dash was HERE?
I turned around towards where they were pointing and this young guy, around 25, comes walking over. I introduce myself as “Gail from California” and he get’s a great big grin on his face. “Gail, who wrote on our blog! Wow, great to see you. I’m Rick.” I gave him a big hug and asked how long they would be off the trail, and he said only briefly to pick up their boxes and head out again. They were averaging about 24 miles a day. And what about the two girls from England? He hadn’t seen them in quite a while and last he heard they were off the trail for a week visiting friends. And Dash? Well, Dash was off the trail with a fall from a tree dislocating his elbow. Rick hoped that he would be able to come back, but he wasn’t sure. So we visited for a little while longer, I gave him some money and off we went, me back to my tent and small hiking adventures and Tom, David, Matt, Ed and Rick, back to the forests, trees, mountains, snakes, porcupines, red foxes, bears, and the most beautiful trail heading up to Canada.
Small, wonderful, world we live in and the cool people you get to meet along the way!