Date: July 4th
Miles: 13? 14? 15? Unclear how to keep track out here
We were up late, 11 or so, and I’m reluctant to get out of bed. I rouse myself around 6:10 and my pack is packed and I’m dressed so there’s really not much to do. I go downstairs and have a cup of tea and chat with Scott and his family. Energizer Bunny was already up.
When I finish my tea Scott drives us to the Terminus, stopping at a sporting goods store so I can get fuel and Fred Meyer so Energizer Bunny can get a Swiss Army knife, which the airport has made her leave behind.
We get to the Terminus around 9am and get hiking. I’m excited to be on the beach, which is beautiful, and I find myself picking up sea shells and sand dollars. The beach is littered with crab shells, which is totally new to me. I’m even singing too myself, the sea breeze making it a private sound. I’ve missed singing a lot out here.
As we’re walking I’m stopped by a woman who asks where we’re going and I tell her. She tells me about some of the Caminos she’s hiked. I walk a little further and a former PCT hiker who was headed north spots us and gives us some info about the upcoming trail.
“It’s a lot of stopping for coffee,” he says. “Very different from the PCT.”
I’m noticing that Energizer Bunny is quiet around new people but chatty with me. She’s also started looking to me to translate when people don’t understand her Hong Kong accent.
We walk on the beach for 6 miles or so and much to my surprise, I am downright sick of it. It’s the same view the whole way – ocean to my right, sand in front, grassy hill to my left. And there are cars zooming past is because this part of the beach is also considered a highway. And I’m a little nervous about water – the guidebook and resources talked about how plentiful water was, so I’ve only brought a liter, but I’m not seeing any notes about exactly where to g water in this stretch and it’s making me nervous.
We get to a beach entrance/exit point and I ask if she wants to keep walking the beach or wants to get on the road.
“Road,” she says.
We find a store and I buy a bottle of water and we make lunch at the park next door. It’s a mountain house, and it’s not good. I can already tell camp food is going to feel miserable about here because real food is so nearby.
Then we get walking. I’m not sure the road was better than the beach and I’m missing the general choicelessness of the PCT. There, there is usually only one way to get to where you’re going. Here there are a million, and constant temptation for easier modes of travel.
Luckily the road, highway 101, has a generous shoulder. What we don’t know is where we’re going to sleep. We walk and walk and walk. I’m worried about water again.
I pull out my phone and google restaurants nearby and see a coffee kiosk a half mile ahead, so we head there. Energizer Bunny orders a Mountain Dew and the man fills our water bottles. I ask if he knows if any campgrounds around.
“Bud’s is three miles ahead,” he says.
It’s Fourth of July and I’m nervous we’ll be shit out of luck, but I call anyway. They have one tentsite left and I book it. I also notice on their google page that there’s a Chinese restaurant next door. I spend the next three miles fantasizing about food, and eventually we get there.
“Food first?” I ask Energizer Bunny, and she agrees.
After food we check in and set up our tents. I take a shower because it’s there and make a note to actually buy some shampoo and conditioner to carry, since I’ll have regular access to hiker camps.
I’m in bed as the fireworks go off. It feels good to be back in my tent. But I’m a little nervous I’ve broken something I need for walking, some kind of momentum or spirit or willingness to suffer. I’m afraid I left it on the PCT. I’m afraid I won’t find it again.