Mile 454.4-478.2 (23.8)
First thing in the morning, Spider wrote our names on the shower board. Then, refreshed and in our clean hiking clothes, we packed our gear away, tidied up our room, and got a ride into town.
We started hiking where we left off. That meant walking a mile or two of paved road through the north end of Agua Dulce before getting back on the beloved dirt path. As we walked, we saw Water Boy and L-Rod (aka Donna Saufley) shuttling carloads of hikers straight to the trailhead. L-Rod stopped once to offer is a ride the rest of the way, and we said no thanks. Spider and I are totally in awe of everything the Saufleys and volunteers do for hikers: check out their fundraiser here.
We had two ridges to climb to get to the Anderson’s. Neither were too bad. The first felt fine in the cool of the morning, and though the heat of the day was in full effect by the second climb, it was gradual enough and there was a breeze as we went higher. I saw a huge rattlesnake in a relaxed, stretched out position with its head resting on the trail. Spider nudged it along with his trekking pole, and it slithered away slowly, unperturbed. A little while later we encountered a massive bee hive in a crack in the cliff. No one got stung.
We got to the road at 3pm and hitched to town. Went right to the market/gas station and bought snacks, locals coming by to talk while we ate popsicles and canned ravioli.
It was a short walk to the Anderson’s, aka Casa de Luna. Terrie and Joe Anderson have hosted hiked for some 17 years. We set up camp in a peaceful manzanita forest deep in their backyard. I took a nap and Spider walked back to the store for more snacks. Later, all hikers donned in Hawaiian shirts, we feasted on taco salad. By PCT standards, it was a small crew, only two dozen hikers or so. Among them were some familiar faces: K2 (who started on the same day as us) and Fabian, John and Brenna, and Nick and Recon. Camper Dan and his brother Paul were there too with the camper van. We hung out until a little after dark then slept like babies under the manzanita.