We didn't get back to the trail until after lunch time, but like I said, I was used to hiking in the dark now, so I was still able to get a decent amount of mileage in. We ended up at the same campsite by chance, a supposed reliable water source with absolutely zero water. Sigh.
Also, more wind turbines
I passed by a small bit of trail magic that first night, though -- there was water and a trail register, and a place to sit with an umbrella, which probably was extra nice on a hot day, but we weren't having too much of that these days.
Some good-looking trail magic
It was the infamous aqueduct walk the next day! It was totally flat except for some downhill near the beginning, and quite possibly one of the easiest days I'd had on the whole trail.
Flat as far as the eye can see
It was a ridiculously windy day, and everything I had ever heard about it was from NOBOs night-hiking it to avoid the horrible heat of the day, so it was kind of weird to hike it with a puffy. I even thought about taking it off a couple of times but it was actually pretty cold due to the wind. A very
The fabled aqueduct
I stopped in at Hikertown, where I ran into Ctrl+Z, Katie, and Yahtzee again. We decided to make a stop at the convenience store/restaurant a few miles down the road, and I got a great vegan burger.
We weren't planning to stop and stay at Hikertown overnight, but we knew it was going to be really cold that night, and we wanted to sleep indoors. Hikertown had these tiny shacks that were basically just a cot with 4 walls and a ceiling, but that kept us warmer than our tents that night. We stayed up later than usual to play Yahtzee together (yes, she carries the game around and that's how she got her trail name).
Playing Yahtzee late into the night
It was Halloween the next day; unfortunately, I didn't do much to celebrate (but I basically was eating candy all the time already anyway). I was the first one up and got going early. I hit the 500-mile marker for NOBOs, which is when it hit me that I really didn't have all that much longer on the trail left.
Not sure if excited to be done, or sad it's almost over
Most of the views we had from high up now were of nearby cities, and it was weird to be so close to civilization all the time. I basically had cell service everywhere. At night, I didn't have complete darkness anymore because I could always see city lights in the distance. I camped alone that night, and weirdly enough, I felt alright about it. After never wanting to camp by myself for 2000 miles, I was finally enjoying the solitude.
I made a harder push that day so I only had a few miles to Casa de Luna, a famous couple of trail angels, the Andersons. The next day I only had about 12 miles left, and it wasn't a bad hike. Casa de Luna was a couple of miles off the trail, but I'm glad I decided to stop there. I met a bunch of other hikers, including Ross, who I had originally met in Northern California
and spent a whole hour trying to put out another hiker's abandoned fire with, and Big Tex, who I'd see a few times again later.
I also got to sit down and have one-on-one conversations with Papa Joe and Terrie, the extremely well-known trail angel hosts of Casa de Luna. It made me grateful to be a SOBO because I knew how hard it was to get one-on-one time with them in the NOBO bubble (I had heard about days they had over 100 hikers camped in their backyard), and it was also their last year hosting. I felt honored to be one of their final hikers.
The largest group of SOBOs I had come across on the trail, probably
I got to eat a ton of Terrie's famous taco salad that night, and talked to Papa Joe and Terrie about their upcoming move to Washington. In case you didn't know, I absolutely love living in Washington, so I was super excited for them.
Made my mark on the 2019 PCT banner at Casa de Luna
I hadn't planned on spending the night at Casa de Luna, but I decided to camp in their amazing Manzanita forest in their backyard that night. A bunch of other hikers (including Ctrl+Z and Katie, who I had also convinced to stop here) decided to stay the night too. I was so glad I stopped here.