Gone to Hiker Heaven – Day 36: Acton KOA to Hiker Heaven

 PCT miles: 444 to 454Miles: 10

A train goes behind the KOA and went through several times last night which wasn’t super pleasant. Around 5:15 I woke up and just laid in my tent. Lynn wanted to go to breakfast and managed to find us a free ride with a guy who was headed to work. I don’t know if people drive crazy out here or if I’m just not used to moving faster than 2-3 miles per hour anymore, but cars feel pretty insane to me right now. 

We got to breakfast and who’s there but Karma, Nirvana, Rawhide, Twerk and a bunch of other hikers I hadn’t seen in a while. They were all staying at Hiker Heaven. 

Nirvana, Karma, Soulshine
We ate breakfast and I resupplied (it may have been smarter to resupply later so I didn’t have to carry the food 10 miles for nothing, but I didn’t want to have to think about it later.) We got a ride almost instantly to the KOA from a Hiker Heaven volunteer in his doorless Jeep. 

After that I took a brief nap with my rainfly draped over the top half my tent (for ventilation) and then Scissors arrived. She sat in the shade with us and shared that she was really considering leaving the trail. She wasn’t having the experience she’d hoped for. 

The conversation made me think about what kind of experience I’m having. I wouldn’t describe it as “fun.” I’m not finding that I’m creating friendships that are especially meaningful to me. I’m not having the deep conversations I’d expected and heard about. In a lot of ways the trail has been disappointing – the things I’d read about aren’t what I’m experiencing. 

But still, this is what I’m doing and it feels like the right thing. Hard but simple. 

We dispersed and I started trying to pack my things. It was 1 pm, hot, in the sun. It took forever and I grew irritated and ended up shoving what I could in my pack and then taking everything to the laundry room – which is to say, shade – and exploding my pack and repacking it. Lynn sat watching Once Upon a Time so I watched over her shoulder while I packed. I grabbed a quick shower since my hair felt greasy from the shampoo I’d used the day before.

I finally got my things together, lost my bandana that I wear for sun protection, bought another one, nearly left my hiking pole, and promptly lost my new bandana. 

At 345 I headed out. I saw Mixed Bag – he caught up – and kept walking. I managed to keep a good pace the whole way and did 10 miles in 3 hours. 

I called Mark for the last hour and then my brother. The hikers in town let me know there was a shuttle running to Hiker Heaven every hour so I put in a quick order for takeout Mexican food before jumping in a truck.

Hiker Heaven is actually someone’s house – the Saufleys – and they have set up an amazing operation that is catered to the needs of hikers. I got a tour when I walked in – a laundry system where I could drop off my clothes and have them later returned with my name on them, an outdoor and indoor shower, an area to charge all of my electronics, plenty of chairs and places to hang out. It’s magical. I almost cried walking in.

I set up my tent and ate my food and chatted with people. A large group of hikers were drinking and the vibe got weird so I went to bed. 

I’m noticing a kind of unfortunate dynamic out here where people are sitting in groups and talking and sort of being openly or casually rude to people and trying to bond with other hikers by being rude to someone in the group. It’s pretty uncomfortable to be around. 

I think I’ve spent a lot of my life wanting to really connect with people and that was part of what I thought I’d get out here. Whether it’s the bubble or something else, I haven’t really gotten much of that. Maybe it’s coming. Maybe it’s not. 

Tomorrow the plan is to hike out in the evening because that’s when Rawhide is trying to leave. I’ve ordered the bulk of my gear to the Sierra but I still need to figure out food. 

2 responses to “Gone to Hiker Heaven – Day 36: Acton KOA to Hiker Heaven”

  1. Jennifer Wildeman Avatar
    Jennifer Wildeman

    Hiker Heaven sounds incredible! I would think that the PCT is different than what pretty much everyone expects, at least in some way. It’s kind of surprising to me that you’re finding that you’re not in fact connecting with people. But from what you describe, it sounds like a lot of connecting may be happening during these drinking sessions, and in being rude to others. I can’t see you connecting with people through either of those. Less than 50 miles to the 500th mile!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth Frazier Avatar
    Elizabeth Frazier

    Sounds like hikers are just PEOPLE like everywhere else. I’m not clear of any reason why they really should be different. But I thought this was about self discovery? And sometimes people can be a huge distraction from those deeper things. How beautiful(and rare) it is to have someone who just by being who they are directs you, guides you to be your best.
    Thinking about you everyday, Colleen. Your are a smart, brave, and special soul.


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