Friday, November 9, 2012

It Ain't Over Until It's Over!

Hi friends!  Greetings from Julian, California - only 78 miles from the Mexican border and the end point of the Pacific Crest Trail.  I am almost there!

I suspected that the reality of keeping a blog on the trail was going to be challenging, but the reality was even more different than I had anticipated.  My decision to travel quickly on the trail was the main factor.  Basically, I've had no time for any time on the computer.  Heck, I've barely had any time for phonecalls to my parents!  I've been zoomin' in and out of towns pretty much non-stop on the quick resupply program of eat, sleep laundry and go.  And that was a choice that I made.  I would love, love, love to do this trip at a slightly more relaxing speed and with some company.  That being said, I've had an incredible trip - but the nature of it has felt at times very rushed.  But, I wouldn't change a thing.  This girl has no regrets!  It's been awesome, hard, I've been scared at times, but mostly - I've been happy, smiling and enjoying my time out here on the trail.  It's a good life.  And, it's felt quite natural for me - I've

I've been mowing through the miles at a voracious speed and enjoying pushing myself.  With only 78 miles to go, I made a spontaneous decision to make one last town stop here in Julian.  I was tired, feeling quite exhausted and entirely done with camping.  I needed a bed!  Also, I liked the idea of enjoying one last taste of "town life" on the trail.  I've really enjoyed my town time as hurried as it has been.  These little stops in these little places have been one of the biggest pleasures of the trail.  Julian is known as a hiker friendly little town and is also a very charming tourist town. So, I stuck out my thumb and got a lift into town.

I was standing at a desert cross roads in the middle of nowhere and there was no traffic.  It's a hitchhikers bad dream - a great big road with nobody on it.  I waited 15 minutes and only 2 cars drove by and both were full. So, I was surprised and pleased when the local Sheriff pulled over and gave me a lift.  He put me in the back seat where the bad guys sit, behind the glass and bars.  His front seat was full of weapons, and bullet proof vests and cop stuff. He said he just had one errand to run before he took me into town.  We stopped at a single wide trailer in the desert for a friendly visit with a local while I waited in the backseat.  "You want a chilled soda while you're waiting?" asked the Sheriff.  He came out with a cold Diet Coke and a Pomegranate. "The pomegranate's a present.  Just don't eat it in the back seat.  Too messy!"  The Sheriff delivered me right to the front door of the local downtown hotel.  Nice.  Thanks Sheriff!

In order of "things to do in a trail town" food always takes priority.  So, stinky, filthy and wearing tattered running shorts, I hit the local BBQ joint and downed 2 pints of beer, a giant Cobb salad, a pulled pork sandwich and some garlic parmesan fries.  Oh.  My.  I could and might do an entire blog post on food on the trail. I ate, showered and slept like a baby.

The plan was to head out at 5:30AM, hit the local breakfast joint and hopefully find myself a lift from some friendly local.  Breakfast joints are always full of old farts with time on their hands.  Well, before I got to breakfast I hit the computer to check in and there were a few dire messages from locals warning me of really bad weather coming my way.  And then I looked out the window.  It was dark when it should have been light and it was blowing and raining sideways.  Jeezus!  I was in the desert.  The 3 days before had been some of the hottest of my whole trip, I had been hot and bothered and it was slowing me down a bit.  When a local sent me the weather forecast I was surprised when it read:  "Winter Storm Warning. Dangerous Wind Gusts.  Accumulations of 4-6 inches possible".  So, with only 78 miles to go I decided to sit tight.  The storm is forecast to be a 3 day affair, and so far it's holding true.  It's cold and miserable out there right now but not snowing.  It's definitely cold enough that it is probably snowing at the high elevations and I would have been truly miserable.  Yay for good decisions!

While pondering my decision at the breakfast joint, a small miracle happened.  I met the only guy in town who had hiked the trail.  Actually, he had just arrived home from the trail.  He had hiked the trail going North, and yes - I had met him in passing. In the course of a 15 minute conversation, not only did I meet a wonderful new friend, but we formulated a new plan for me.  I also met another local who said "Go stay at my house!  You'll love it.  I won't be there".  I'll be there tonight and tomorrow night.  I've spent the last 24 hours getting to know my new friend Special Delivery. Special D for short.  It's his trail name.  Forgot what his real name is.  He's awesome and generous and kind of spirit.  It's been fun taking a mini vacation from my vacation and Special D is fine company and Julian is a fine place.  How these things happen to me, I'm always amazed. 

So, I'll hit the trail early on Sunday morning.  It's been a grand adventure.  I should get those last 78 miles done in about 3 days.  I've got some kind folks at the finish line on standby to pick me up at the border.  I'll relax for a day or two in San Diego.  And then, I'll go home.  But, it ain't over until it's over!  78 miles. :) 


AzTa said...

Absolutely amazing adventure great job!

AzTa said...

Absolutely amazing adventure great job!

Danni said...

Woohoo! Maybe I should go with you at a slower pace someday. With Meghan and Amber too of course!

Mary said...

I can't believe how fast you have hiked!

Ben said...

Coo-eee! It's Ben. Glad to hear you're holed up comfortably in the weather. Sorry I missed you at Idyllwild. I did meet Team Spiderbark there and then I caught Tracks at the Warner Springs PO and we hiked together through the end (yesterday around 5pm with cold wind and threatening clouds -- his friend picked us up -- the El Paso burrito stand in Campo is great!). The guy at the Mt. Laguna store (such a welcome lunch stop!) told us their forecast (1 to 19 inches of snow that night) after we'd gotten a quick rain squall at sunrise... rained off and on from that night to the end. Good luck with the rest!
I'm not on Facebook etc., but you can find my email (and eventually PCT stuff) on my website.

Ben said...

Oops: website

Helen said...

Leslie a truly superb effort, especially given that you were out of action for so long prior to your departure!
Banff has wrapped itself in snowy white to welcome you home.
Do hope we will have some follow up stories. It has been wonderful to share the journey when you did make time to post.


Anonymous said...

YAY Leslie!!! Have a great 78 miles. Cory and I will be thinking about you and we can't wait to read about the last miles. Erica

Ellie Greenwood said...

Enjoy the last 78 Leslie! You are amazing and hope you share your stories on the blog when you finally get home to beautiful banff xx

Meghan said...

Whoop. Git' it! So proud of you, Leslie. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't even know you, but have been reading your blog for a couple of years, and wow, you are so smokin'... FAST! :) Way to go girl, you kicked some serious PCT A$$. You're an inspiration to those of us who sometimes find it difficult just to go to a spin class after sitting at their desk for 8 hours. Really. Amazing.

Leslie said...

Thanks friends. I love to hear from new Bloggy friends, as well as old! So great to hear from y'all and some day soon, I'll sit down at a computer "fer reals" for longer than 5 minutes and a glance. The PCT has been wonderful - as expected when one gets to enjoy 3+ months doing what they love to do. There were many surprises and small pleasures out there to enjoy. But the trail and the people have been the *stars*!! I look forward to sharing more of my journey!

Love from a comfy couch in San Diego where I am relaxing after finishing up those last 78 miles.


Brian said...

Woohoo! Congratulations on a big accomplishment. So happy to hear you finished safe and sound with some great experiences.

Percy said...

Wow, I heard about you from my friend Art, who you ran into during your decent from Mount San Jacinto...
Congratulations... and hope by now you would have met your goal. Great job!
- Percy

Percy said...

oops... just read that you have finished... hehehe...

Leslie said...

Thanks AzTa!

Bruce Grant said...

Go Leslie!!! What an adventure you have had. I have thought of you often over these past months, and am so glad everything has gone your way. but then again, you always make the best of things regardless :-)

Enjoy your last days on the trail...must be tough to believe you are so close to the end.

Megan Huynh said...

Congrats Leslie! From Jamie and Megan

Footprint & Illusion said...

Hi Leslie, congrats, you were really fast! It's Footprint & Illusion from Czech Rep., we met in Oregon before Mt. Jefferson. We hoped to meet you again in the desert since we had to finish section from Campo to Walker Pass (Onyx)but we missed you somewhere between Wrightwood and Aqua Dulce.
We finished on Nov 6th and weather in desert section was really challenging! congrats again and see you on CDT :-)

Unknown said...

Excellent acount---inspires me. Maybe I'll do this in the next couple yrs. Now 64 so the clock is ticking...

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