Miles: 298.7 to 325.5
Okay. So, not all of the PCT is in the designated “wilderness,” but whether we wander through National Forest, state land, Bureau of Land Management or whatever, it’s still easy to tell if it’s Monday through Friday or the weekend.
During the week, it’s rare to see anyone who isn’t dirty, smelly and lugging a backpack full of water bottles. We become our own class of people, instantly recognizable to each other. Skin that looks tan, but is really dirt. Wind blown hair. Slight limp. That’s a thruhiker.
But on the weekends, our world opens up beyond the belongings on our backs and the brown stripe we follow without question. Outsiders appear in their cotton and day packs. They smell like laundry and have no dirt under their fingernails.
They have a carefree attitude that comes from knowing the wilderness for a few hours; filling their lungs with fresh air and stretching their legs. But they also know they will return to their cars, wash the woods off in the shower and sleep between clean sheets.
On Sunday, we shared Deep Creek Canyon with so many day hikers. They asked us questions about where our car was parked and where the PCT joined with the trail we were sharing (hint: it was the PCT).
We answered their questions as patiently as we could and passed them by.
That night we slept by a lake and watched the moon rise over dinner.