Day 104 – 106 From Belden to Old Station we hiked with Cjell, a Minnesotan who just graduated from college. Cjell was a “friend at first sight” and from the very beginning we talked and talked, swapping trail stories and gossip, recounting exciting travels and adventures, musing aloud on faith, light-weight gear and our plans to change the world. Even though the scenery wasn’t all that breath-taking the time flew by with all the fresh conversation. Cjell had dated a girl from England for a few years so he was fluent in British English. He’d also started the PCT quite late (in early May) so he’d met a ridiculous amount of other thru-hikers… one of whom carried pounds of loose change in his pack “for pay phones,” another who hiked with a hockey stick, and 2 who’d killed & eaten a wild marmot! (Ok, that last one was actually Cjell & Boomer, our San Diego Trail Angel who was back on the trail).
The first day out of Belden we did our longest day yet – 32 miles. And honestly we felt a lot less tired than days when we’d done half that milege in the High Sierras.
Day 106 We had an extrodinary breakfast of unlimited granola, fruit, cereal, english muffins, breakfast burritos & more at Drakesbad Ranch in Lassen Volcanic National Park. All that for $5! And they also offered hikers free laundry, showers and a hot-spring fed pool. There we were joined by Joel, Buckwheat, Gingersnap, Highlander & a hilarious hiker named Slim. Slim, a heavy-set middle-aged man who had a crazy past until he’d had his fill of drugs, women and armed robbery and took to the trail. He’s been hiking the PCT for half a dozen years now and hopes to hit it big when his Indian tribe opens up a casino.