Day 30 (May 7): PCT Mile 369.3

An Unforgettable Zero Day in Wrightwood

I slept very soundly on my couch and woke up around 6:00am-ish. I stayed put for a while content to spend some time using my phone.

Stretch and Grinder stopped in and out of my “room,” which is kind of the guest’s snack bar area, to make and sip on some coffee. They plan to begin hiking again later on the morning. Also, a couple that stayed upstairs came through and left early. “Point” is hiking sections of the trail and her husband is following along with the mini-van.  He likes to cycle in the various spots they’re traveling through.

I enjoyed my CT Crunch and was ready by 8:30am to go into town for my various tasks. I had a bit of a scare when I thought my socks had gone missing (two from two different pairs), but found them hiding in the dryer. My ride into town didn’t pick me up til 9:00am. I spent the morning walking about town to various stores. I bought my resupply at Jenson’s Grocery Store. A lot of weight once again!

Directly outside the store there are some picnic tables lined up, so I sprawled out my food and removed unnecessary packaging/organized to check that I got enough and not too much. I feel I might be heavy in the snack department. Seth Rogen and Matt were around too doing the same thing.

When I had finished up and was just chatting, I spotted Calzone and Songbird walking down the road. They said they were going to the coffee shop for a free coffee (for PCT hikers) and so I went to join.  At the Village Grind I got an iced coffee as well as a chicken panini…

Tastiness all around. During my time at Calvin College, I would attend “Paniniland Thursdays,” a weekly event some friends and I created.  It was a gathering of folks to partake in the eating of the delicious toasted sandwiches whilst catching up with one another and enjoying our time of fellowship. This brought me back to those pleasant times. Not my same exact recipe from back then, but still very good.

I met some new hikers here. I also decided here that I would take the entire day off rather than jump back on trail. Best to rest this leg up and be in full health going into the next stretch! So, I called and reserved another night on my couch next door to my potbelly pig friend. Afterwards, I went outside to chat on the tele with mother Sheryl. Next up, was a trip to the post office. And guess who I found there!!!

Sumi! Reunited at last 😃

Stevie Wonder and Sumi are going to Canada…Woot Woot! It was a difficult time being apart, but I feel we will be stronger going forward than ever before. I surely will need his uplifting spirit to tackle the upcoming Mount Baden-Powell!

So the area where I took those last pictures is a little shaded picnic area meant for hikers behind the grocery store parking lot – Jenson’s Hiker Haven

I left my pack hidden behind the building there and then went across to get a free hot dog from the gas station. It was delicious, like one of the big Costco ones. Called young Joseph Engbers to catch up while finishing up and then walked back to my pack…

Or at least where my pack was! My trekking poles were there, but no pack. I told Joe I had to go, then started looking around trying not to let the panic take over that was creeping up inside me.

First, I went to the grocery store thinking maybe someone had seen it out by itself and grabbed it to keep safe…Nada. Then asked at the hardware store nearby…No go. I retraced my steps just to make sure I hadn’t left it somewhere…wasn’t by the “hotdog gas station” or the post office. A little more freaking out at this point, but still trying to remain calm. I called father David to see if I should call the police to report a theft, but didn’t connect. Then looked up that the town didn’t have it’s own police department anyway.

At this point, I returned to the place where it went missing and posted a thing on the PCT 2019 Class Facebook page giving info. about my pack missing. I also happened to see a Lifewater plastic bottle down in the ditch next to the Hiker Haven place. I thought it could be random trash, but it did appear to have the same crinkleness to it as mine. I decided to follow the ditch down a ways. It’s like 10 feet down and pretty wide, maybe a dry creek bed? A ways down, I saw this…my ziploc bag of granola bars.

I was on the right track! Then, 50 feet further, I discovered my pack and its contents sprawled about…

Sheesh O Pete’s, right! I did a quick look and it seemed like everything was still there!  Didn’t take my GPS or any food that I could tell. I was absolutely elated to find it, but just shook up too. I shoved everything back in, buckled it back together, and took off to tell the stores and various hikers I’d run into during my search that I’d found it. One girl, Pinata said she was about to call home to have her extra gear sent or to start a Go-Fund me account. It was nice to know folks had my back.

I was still on edge after the whole ordeal and went over to the front of the grocery store to take everything out and go through it more carefully. After re-packing, I concluded that the only thing missing were my Mambas (candy). Whether they were left back in the ditch or the thievery person really wanted some Mambas I’ll never know, either way I was ok letting them go. Could have been such a disaster. Sumi, my glasses, my hat, my pack…all have gone missing on the trip.  Get it together Stephen James!

Feeling that I needed some time to unwind, I loaded my stuff up, walked across the road, and found a bench to sit on and relax for a while. Then around 5:30pm, I went to Mexico Lindo Restaurant. A group of hikers had said they planned to go at 6:30pm for 5 cent margarita’s (with a combo), so I figured I’d go early and connect with them when they arrived.

The food was tasty and filling. A classic chimichanga for me. The marg was superb as well..

I did say hi to those other hikers, but only briefly.  I was looking forward to getting back to call it an early evening. So around 7:15pm-ish I called and got picked up to go back to the Holistic Health Day Spa.

I showered again and then watched a movie on my phone. Feeling very relaxed after a stressful afternoon.

9 thoughts on “Day 30 (May 7): PCT Mile 369.3

  1. Wowsers! Sounds like you truly had the luck of Sumi watching over you!! It too bad that ya’ll have to deal with this kind of stuff in town where you hope to relax. Very happy to hear that the thief was just having some munchie cravings though. Excited to see and hear about your next adventure on Baden-Powell. I have been reading some others exciting adventures there, sounds amazing. Keep it north Stevie Wonder. Still routing you on from home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brian Beach

    Unbelievable! Can’t turn your back for a second, good grief! Glad to see that the wise influence from Sumi touches even the blackest of hearts. Lesson learned I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm I hadn’t thought about that. I think a human. Raccoon couldn’t have dragged pack that far away and bear seems like it would’ve torn open things where as my pack had been unbuckled.


  3. Sherry Hoekwater

    I’m beginning to imagine a big bear trail tale coming out of this experience – a great campfire story like dad would tell. 😉
    Though really I am extremely happy that you did not lose your pack and that it didn’t take too long to find it. You have endured some difficulties but you have not let them get you down! And the good of it is that once more the fellow hikers have been supportive. There are angels all around.😇
    Hoping for happy days ahead as you get back on trail!


  4. Jim Nydam

    Your title for your journey is appropriate. I am happy to read Sumi is back on the trail. I hope your trail ahead will be filled with expected events. Happy trails!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jim Nydam

    Your title for your journey is appropriate. I am happy to read Sumi is back on the trail. I hope your trail ahead will be filled with expected events. Happy trails!


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