Day 18, 13 miles
I have to admit something. I did something last night I never imagined I would do.
It was getting late into the evening. I was cooking my dinner on my wee stove and pot, in a pristine but very empty campground. It was within a 1/2 mile of a highway. I could hear the occasional car or truck zoom by. Where is everybody? Are they behind me? Or are they ahead? PCT Association warns lone female hikers not to camp near highways. I was just finishing up dinner as the wind picked up. Dark clouds quickly moved in and it started to rain. A wave of panic came over me. What should I do? I grabbed my pack, stove, and clothes I had spread all around the picnic area and dashed to the washroom.
I got into the bathroom, closed the door, and locked it. I’m safe. I’m sheltered. Hmmmm. I hear the rain come down on the roof. I look around. Ok, I’m spending the night in a park picnic washroom. There is enough space for my therma rest and sleeping bag.
Really Sally? I fall asleep.
I wake early and escape from my 2 star accommodation. My surroundings are covered in frost. I cook up porridge and coffee. Quickly pack up and head back onto the trail. I hadn’t gone 500 yards when I heard foot steps behind me. Cabezon and Emmeline! They too found refuge in a picnic site washroom 4 miles back. Later we find out, Sarah and Scott were sheltered in a picnic gazebo 1 mile ahead and Skippy hiked the whole 33 miles to the famous Macdonalds at Cajon Pass.
Skippy is like a thru hiking rockstar. His pack looks like a small school backpack. He even cut off the hip belt. Hiking a 30-40 mile day for him is like a walk on the seawall for us mere mortals. He should be called Zippy. He zips up and down the mountains making new friends all along this magical trail. Everyone knows him.
I forgot to take photos of my stay at the deserted picnic site and campground. I copied these next pictures from online photos so I could have a record of my unforgettable night.