Thursday April 26 – 2:p.m. – Awaiting my ride (a sweet ’75 VW Bus driven by the infamous Sugar Mama Patti Cakes) to Kick Off, a last minute realization that I needed to meet her 5 miles down the road from the Trail Angel’s house I was staying at left me in a rush and panic to get moving fast. Ziggy, a kind and sweet woman of about 70 or so told me to leave behind what I needed, I could pick it up when K/O is over. Had I known I needed to be down at the highway, I’d have hitched a ride with her to Cabazone earlier in the day. No big deal, I just need to get moving. Shortly after leaving and about to head in the wrong direction, a truck pulled up, inside was Ziggy waving a Post Office Pick Up slip – She’d found a reason to drive into town and of course, give me a ride.
In turn Ziggy asked me to say hello to several well known people in the PCT world. I pulled out my paper and pen and made the short list. Next I asked her to make a list of things I could do around the house, as ‘The Bear’ her ‘other half’ at 80 years old, sprained his ankle earlier in the week. 6 weeks off his foot while the heaviest of hiker traffic was about to hit the ‘Hiker Oasis’. She said I made them smile, and that was enough….
Is there so little kindness in the world, that just rying to help out makes people smile? I’m glad I can help…
April 26-29th – Lake Morena State Park – 20 PCT Miles from the Mexico border. ADZPCTKO “Annual Day Zero PCT Kick Off” – a place where present and past thru-hikers come together to learn about water and trail hazards, Poodle Dog Bush, Lime Disease from Ticks, Test out lightweight gear and tents, and so much more. A weekend of PCT Commaradary.
- April 29 – Right now – While sittin here, the guy next to me is bouncing between journalling and working on his blisters. He, like me, hadn’t ever experienced blistering while hiking. He’s hiked the entire AT and never had one. Now he’s in the same position I was in… Well, he’s in the preventative stages, I didn’t quite take the proper care. He’s threaded a needle, now it’s run through the blister so the puncture won’t close up. A drainage port of sorts…. Yet he’s having a problem with it. Tying the knot so it’s in a loop is too tricky for him in the position he’s in, with the one little light we have shining out here.
So I pass on a little bit of hiker friendly. I’m tying the knot of a thread running out someone I’ve barely said a dozen words to’s blistered foot. Why? Because we’re hikers, and that’s what we do.
April 27th – Mid Day – “Hey Ron ! I have an idea…..” Shrek pulls up along side of me as I walk back to the campground. Shrek is a Trail Angel in the Cascade Locks area, he, like all of us, is a character and kind as can be. ” There’s a Railway Museum down in Campo that I want to go check out. I did some work on one of the cars down there, and I thought, since your name is ‘Train’ you might want to take a dress photo on an actual train.”
I pondered it, and figured, “what the hell”…. My love of trains is simple…. I want one to live in. Caboose, Club Car… I don’t care, I just think it’d be cool, and plenty big for me… But it’s just a dream. SHrek’s involvement in volunteering through the years allowed us to walk through train cars that are behind the scenes and off limits. Walking through such untouched history was fantastic. So many aspects of these cars in the last stages of decay, yet beautiful all the same.
As time grew short I found the spot I wanted a photo. The problem; the families entering and exiting the building ahead. But quick as a flash, I had the camera set up, the dress out, on and up to the train… Snap Snap Snap… Ten shots. I hope one turned out… It looks like it did! now get me out of this gown and let’s get out of here…. Just that fast.
April 29 – early Morning – I’m not at liberty to tell the tale. But four men sitting together. One telling a tale of love lost and found long ago. Tears streaming from his eyes in an unexpected display, honoring and reliving a pinacle moment…. More than one cried. I didn’t notice that my eyes had welled up until the tear reached my cheek.
April 26-29 – ProDeal, a documentary film maker, keeps going back to what I first had told him, and continued to repeat… He doesn’t think the story is necessarily in the dresses, it’s in that which I keep explaining when I hold up my thumb and forefinger. “But it’s just little me. With Issues”
April 27 – Condor. Jester. Half Mile. GottaGo. ProDeal. – Gods to me…. and they all signed my gown, and some of them even wanted to hang. =-)
APril 28 – 8 p.m. Overwhelming sense of loneliness. Why does this keep creeping up? It’s time to get back to the trail.
April 29th – 6:30 a.m. Up and out for breakfast, but first – The campground is half empty. More than a hundred thru-hikers, all starting here, have left the boundary of the campground to the trail beside… the trail of the Pacific Crest. They march forward as a man stands under a tree in the dew covered grass, overlooking a glistening field. From here he plays his bagpipes into the crisp morning air.