Welcome to Wrightwood
May 26, 2017
Mile 356 to Wrightwood
Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike: Day 22
Slept in! Had such a long day yesterday that I gave myself the permission to sleep an extra hour. Woke up at atmospheric twilight, just before the sun started to show itself. Found a good ridge to go to the bathroom and watched the sunrise out of a blanket of clouds and mountains. I'm staying with my growing trail family at an impromptu hiker haven in Wrightwood. Justin, Sara, Sonya, Alex, Sam, Colten, Tyler, Ben, and Flame are all here.
I had some serious motivation issues during the 13 miles into Wrightwood, so I decided instead of being upset about not cranking out miles I would instead take my time and enjoy the views. I sang songs at the top of my lungs and meandered toward the trailhead. On the way, I walked under the chairs of a ski lift and ran into two young female day hikers. They said they had just been talking about the trail, and gave me a big ego boost by gushing about how cool it was that I was a female hiking the trail. With a spurt of energy, I caught up with Alex at the trailhead before he had found a ride and we hitched into Wrightwood together with a high school cross-country running coach.
The hiker congregation was mostly concentrated at the Wrightwood hardware store, though any place in Wrightwood would have been welcome—this is the most hiker-friendly town we've been to so far. Everyone in town says hello, praises us for what we're attempting to do, and asks us if we need a ride anywhere. It's refreshing after being looked at like vagrants in some of the previous towns.
We picked up our resupply at the hardware store and took Sam and Colten to the Wrightwood Brewing Company for a beer. It has been wonderful to have access to local, craft beer in so many of these small trail towns. Totally unexpected. We sat on the deck of the brewery, overlooking the town, and watched hikers filter in and run their errands.
From beer we went to the thrift store and then on to get supplemental resupply food at the grocery store. I definitely overbought and will now have to live with the weight of my eyes being larger than my stomach. It's hard to avoid overbuying, since the only two things I do all day are eat and walk, and while I'm walking I like to be excited when I think about what I'll be eating. Oh well, with the way my appetite has been increasing, it's still possible that I'll eat everything that I'm starting out with.
By the time we were done grocery shopping we needed to find a place to stay for the night, as we still had to organize all our resupply food (a chore that requires access to a trash can and thus cannot be accomplished once back on trail). The hardware store had since closed, and a hiker mob was gathering at the picnic tables outside the grocery store as each finished their food resupply shopping. Where was everyone going to stay?
Cake gave us a tip about a pot farm we could stay on, watch movies and sit by an outdoor fireplace. All other hikers seemed to have also gotten the tip and the owner of the farm had arranged to come pick everyone up at the grocery store in half an hour. I knew we needed somewhere to stay, but the threat of being vortexed tomorrow by being trapped on a weed farm made it an extremely unappealing offer. I'm finding that I am extremely averse to the idea of being vortexed. It almost feels like I'm allergic to it, the idea actually fills me with a physical feeling of needing to be back on trail. It was too late in the day to make getting back on trail tonight seem worthwhile, but we still didn't have a place to stay. Then, I got ahold of Flame and Sonya, who had found a welcoming house a few blocks from downtown Wrightwood. We walked over, talked to the owners/caretakers, and were given a spot on the floor to sleep, a shower, and a porch to hang out on. I still have the feeling of a hiker town vortex on me, and rather than tempting me, it is a feeling I just want to wash off. I'm making the best of it and am holding out hope for catching an early hitch in the morning.