Days 13 and 14: Fri/Sat, May 17/18

Slept about 12 hours Thursday night because why not. Didn't break camp until 9 or so, by which time I had taken stock of my food and could tell it would last me another 24-30 hours at most, meaning I'd have to come down to my resupply box sooner than I wanted/needed. My food situation by the end of the day was: 4 corn tortillas, a half-dozen spoonfuls of peanut butter, a bit of olive oil, and maybe 20 dates. Using all my hiking savvy, I turned this into dinner and breakfast and got into Ziggy & Bear's house at noon today more or less on empty.

After breaking camp that morning, immediately went up almost 3k feet to the San Jacinto summit at 10,800. Had it almost all to myself for about an hour. Fuckin awesome. I really could look straight down 9,000 feet on Palm Springs on the desert floor. Solitude was broken when two middle-aged ladies joined me at the summit around noon. Before seeing them, I could overhear their conversation, which centered on some distinctly unfriendly observations about one of their mutual acquaintances. I was amazed they had the breath for it. They had come up from the Palm Springs Tram, which does 9000 feet of the work for you. They said there were 5 more women behind. I decided to get down.

Back on the PCT, got water from the coldest and purest of mountain streams, ran into some other thru-hikers who were seriously lame for a number of reasons. They hadn't taken the summit route, and in general seemed not to be enjoying anything very much. They were sloooww. I lost all of them walking at half-speed down Fuller Ridge trying to strike up conversations. These all failed ... I'm liking the trail, they're not. It's unspoken, but a big divide to get over. Can't imagine they'll be around for long.

Hiked until dark that day and cowboy camped at the windiest goddamn place in California, a campsite around 5000 feet. Had been a huge day--3k feet up, followed by an uninterrupted 6k straight down, 19 miles total, not all of them PCT. Slept on and off due to the wind. Got up at 7 and continued the remaining 4k feet down to the desert floor. The last 2 miles to the interstate underpass were murder, all on soft sand with what I legitimately guess was a 40mph constant headwind. At the underpass, was hoping to find coolers full of soda, and I did find coolers ... empty. In 15 minutes, a guy drove up in a Jeep with a trunk full of new sodas and beers. Local guy, introduced himself as DNA and he said he'd kept the soda cache stocked for hikers for the last 8 years, in addition to occasionally rescuing people with heat exhaustion/stroke and taking them to the hospital. Hard to tell what he was on about by talking to him, but hard to argue with the kindness of his acts.

Made it to Ziggy and Bear's, where I was immediately told to take off my pack, shoes and socks, sit down, and my bare feet were placed in a tub of warm water. Hard to describe the thoroughness and efficiency of this place, but suffice it to say they have everything hikers need, and the house was purchased specifically for its 100yd proximity to the trail. Got a hot shower, a huge salad, my resupply box, and a ton of conversation with Ron, the guy who's helping run the place. Hiking-wise, he's done it all, and repeatedly. The people behind me from yesterday never made it. Just me and one other guest, a section-hiker calling himself Juma from Fairfax, VA who is a smart guy to talk to.

Ziggy and Bear charge nothing but I've already given them a bunch. And tomorrow morning I'll see Kristin. Going to bed satisfied.