We had heard rumors for several days that outstanding trail magic was going on at Ebbetts Pass, and that the trail angel would be here until 5 PM today (June 30th). We raced the final mile and reached there around 4:15. All I hoped for was a soda of some sort. Sadly, he announced he was fresh out when I arrived, and instead kindly offered a banana and omelet. I sat there for 5 minutes or so, and noticed the Japanese hiker next to me had the telltale signs of Coke in his cup. I could see the bubbly around the edges. I looked over at Taters and made a sad face. I could see mischief in her eyes, and before too long, I decided I’d better check the ice cooler just in case. Sure enough, they had two 2L bottles remaining, and the trail angel was just messing with me. He’d been tipped off by Darko and Taters moments before I arrived that all I was craving was soda, and he had done a good job playing along with the ruse. Unforgivable.
We drank our fill of soda and chocolate milk, and feeling now truly slothful, headed out again. He said to let hikers know he’ll remain open an extra 15 minutes. Surprisingly, we encountered maybe half a dozen hikers during the next mile, and told each of them to go full speed on the chance of them encountering the ends of the the trail magic. Their reactions were great to witness. One guy started running and yelling at the top of his lungs, “We’re coming! We’re coming!”
Unfortunately, we didn’t encounter this next pair until about 40 minutes later and it was too late to encourage them to rush to the trail magic. They really could have used it. Momma Bear and her 9-year old son Daniel Boone, had hiked here from Mexico (!). They both had full packs, still with pickaxes and microspikes, and it seemed we met them at a particularly low point. Momma Bear’s eyes welled with emotion several times telling us about recent hardships. I wished we had been carrying a soda or something to share with them, but unfortunately we had nothing worthwhile. (UPDATE: We were all very happy and proud to hear that they did in fact reach Canada in early October! Article here if interested)
Yesterday, Darko, Taters and I drove down to South Lake Tahoe. They missed the stretch from Sonora Pass to Echo Lake, due to a nearby forest fire last season, and I missed it due to other reasons. It was uncanny that we were both headed to the same stretch of trail in the same week, so we put the band back together again. We decided to hike this section southward, as we thought it’d work best with stashing the car. Below is the main outfitter in South Lake Tahoe. They have a small alcove inside for thru-hikers. I kid you not, there was an odor emanating from the room. 🙂
The mosquitoes were out en force. We only got in 10 miles for the day, but it was fairly strenuous for me. It was strange again to be above 8,000 feet.
We also carried 3 beers each, to hand out to hikers going the other way.
We had an early morning road walk to reach Doc Campbell’s, a renown resupply store near the CDT. There was an old man running the store and he had several mean-spirited political views he was eager to espouse. We got some necessary ice cream and walked to a sunny stretch just beyond a bridge. It took 30-40 minutes, but finally a van pulled over and a nice guy named Pierre gave us a ride back to Silver City. Pierre attacked the turns in the descending road with determination and vigor, and I was quite glad when the experience was over.
The timing of everything worked out perfectly. We met Di in Silver City, and she whisked us back west to Arizona, and then onward to California the next day. Six-2 and I bought a bunch of goodies from Costco and then went to the base of San Jacinto and did trail magic for an afternoon, greeting a handful of PCTers coming down from their first big summit.
John’s video showcases some excellent footage of the Middle Fork:
We made a decision around 5 PM to leave the middle fork and take a path up above the canyon that would put us on a traditional trail, as we needed to reach Doc Campbell’s relatively early in the morning, to secure a hitch back to Silver City, where our main extraction was coming.
We cooked in the dark after a long day. We crossed the shallow Gila around 102 times today.
Here are two shots from the following morning of our campsite. Notice Six-2’s creative pitch for us to maximize the little amount of flat space available.
We had a mostly unfun road walk today on tarmac and in the desert sun to reach Silver City. Loved the city though. They had a proper brewery, and we stumbled upon Jasmine right away. He was helping a local contractor build a large entrance deck for the local outfitter. The contractor was a very generous man who welcomed us into his home and even went out and bought beer for us.
Love small town Americana stuff like this guy’s private drive.
We had a great time hanging out with Jasmine and Six-2’s friend, Tom.
We found the foundation of a house on a small mountain. I recognized it from one of Joe Brewer’s trail videos.
This water source was kinda eerie, as it was super cold and dark and it seemed to descend for forever. We cooked dinner here and then hiked into the night, trying to lose elevation and then walking alongside a dry riverbed for several miles. We were off-course, I think because we’d gone to this water source, so it was comforting to reach a road before we made camp in the dark.