Sawmill Campground (mile 498) to Hikertown (mile 517), 19 miles
Cost: slept on the couch in the main building, donation
It was a cold night and cold morning so I wasn’t too eager to leave early but as soon as a few droplets of rain started to hit my tent, I jumped up and packed up in record time – not wanting to pack up a wet tent!
I dropped off Rattles’ shoe goo that I’d borrowed last night to patch up my holey shoes again (there’s about 4 layers of shoe goo on my 2 week’s old shoes!), then left just after Zog did, in the cold, misty morning.
Soon after leaving I caught up to Zog on the trail as he was watching a mole, oblivious to us, on the trail. It was a tiny fluffball of cuteness and the first mole I’ve ever seen.
Then at mile 502, I made it to the official 500 mile PCT marker (804 km). I had now walked the length of the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela. The camino seems like a walk in the park in comparison!
If I was to reflect back on the past 500 miles I would say they have been the toughest miles I have ever hiked. I have cried, screamed, been snowed/hailed/rained on, been blown off my feet by violent winds, been too hot and too cold, been scared for my life, felt alone, confronted snakes, battled constant aches and pains… But I have never felt more alive, or seen such stunning views as I do on a daily basis and the lows are what make the highs so much more powerful out here. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else and the more the trail tries to beat me down, the more determined I am that it’s not going to beat me.
It was a beautiful morning through lush green and red tinted forest with storm clouds ominously looming overhead.
I made it to the guzzler near the Liebre mountain truck trail and saw my first ever guzzler! I lifted the plastic lid and scooped out water to filter. PT and Rowan were already there and we all made it an early lunch stop and a chance to cook some food to warm ourselves up.
Hikertown was the destination for the day at mile 517. I didn’t know what to expect other than it was somewhere hikers could stay the night and fill up on water before the long, hot, dry stretch across the mojave. I entered through the gate and found myself walking through a wild western movie set, or so it seemed. I passed the ‘school house,’ ‘post office,’ ‘hotel,’ ‘la cantina,’ and other buildings that were used as cabins for hikers to sleep in. I followed another hiker to the garage at the back of the property and found a familiar set of hiker faces. There was a shower, toilet, kitchen and couches in the garage and it was $5 to sleep in here or $10 in a cabin. A man came in and explained that the cabins were full so I was destined to sleep in the garage and chose the comfy couch I was sitting on.
Many hikers choose to night hike from here through the hot stretch but as there was a storm threatening to hit at any moment we were all staying the night and would wait to see what the weather was like tomorrow before deciding what to do.