It’s great when plans do not work out!

Day 96 – 7/16/15
Redding
Miles – 3.6
Total Miles – 1428.8 (PCT 1374.0)

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The plan was simple: pack up, hike about 4 miles to JJs Cafe for breakfast, at 10:00, hitchhike to the PO for our box and then hitchhike back, do our box, hike out around 1 or 2, and try to get partway across the Hat Creek Rim. We slept in because we had the time. As we were finishing packing, GG showed up. She told us that just 10 minutes toward town, we could get showers for $3.00 at the RV park. Well we changed our plan and added showers before doing anything else. We walked over and found that the RV park office does not open until 8:00, we had a 45 minute wait. As we were standing there trying to decide what to do a thru hiker named Lord Vader asked us if we were The Ravens? We said yes. He told us the that an old teacher of ours was here at Old Station yesterday looking for us. From our blog we knew that this had to be Dave and Marji Thomsen. Dave was a woodworking teacher we had at Palomar College. We were excited and sad all at once. We had missed them by one day. Lord Vader also let us use the shower in his hotel room. He was hiking out and was done with the room. He gave us his hotel room key and up the trail he went. Quickly, we took showers and got to use the luxury item of towels, something thru hikers do not have. After the showers, we hiked the 4 miles over to JJs, but our planned breakfast had now turned into a lunch. It was already 11:00 and the PO was now open back up the road. I quickly emptied a backpack and headed for the road to try hitchhiking. I started to hitch but there were very few cars going in my direction. I did not have any luck. I ended up walking the three miles to the post office. Meanwhile as I walked,  Dave and Marji had come back to Hat Creek to look for us and found Mama Raven and the kids back at J.J.’s.  Soon Dave came to the post office to bring me back (he also picked up and drove five other hikers to JJ’s).
Dave and Marji invited us to their house in Redding for the night and will drive us back up here first thing in the morning. A swimming pool, laundry, showers, and a home cooked meal and good friends. . . we could not pass that up. We have not seen the Thomsen’s in over twelve years. Once at their house we did a lot of catching up with every bodies livers over the years. It was well over 100° outside and the kids wanted to go for a swim. We all got bathing suits on and headed for the pool. Yes, even Mama Raven got in. The water was very warm and we talked and played in the pool for several hours. When we got out, I went back to working on our food box, Mama Raven finished the laundry, and the kids just played. Marji made a delicious “Mexican Mountain” that The Ravens devoured!
Dave and Marji had been telling us about a glass bridge over the Sacramento River that had a huge curved arm that made a giant sun dial, so around 9:30p.m. after it had cooled down a bit, we drove over to see it. It is really amazing. The curved arm went up about 150′ and held the cables which support the bridge. The bridge is a wide foot bridge with thick glass panels you walk on. There are lights below the bridge that light up the glass panels. It was beautiful. The thing that got Mama Raven’s attention were all the spiders. Thousands of them, under the bridge. The spiders and their massive web was as amazing as the bridge.
This whole day was completely unexpected. We are so thankful that this day happened the way it did. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is far more than just the physical act of hiking. A major component is the human element. Getting back together with Dave and Marji was very special. It was a reunion of old family members.
It’s great when plans do not work out!

Marji, Dave, and The Ravens

Marji, Dave, and The Ravens

Capitan Crunch

Capitan Crunch

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Preparation Update

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We are working hard on getting our food together.  So far we have half of our dinners, almost half of our breakfasts, and a long way to go with lunches. We are hoping to finish all the food well before our departure date.

On Sunday I was loading the dehydrator with trays of wild rice, chili, and sausage when I noticed that it was only blowing cold air.  Upon closer inspection, I found that the heating coil in the dehydrator was not working.  I emptied all the trays while Ann looked on line for a new dehydrator.  We found one through Amazon for about $100 and ordered it.  When it arrives we can get back to finishing the food for the trip.

We received some bad news, The Hikers Heaven will not be opening this year.  Hikers Heaven is run by a family in Agua Dulce who would let the thru hikers stay at their house, pick up their packages, do laundry, and get showers.  It was a very important location for everyone hiking the trail.  It seems that the people who run it were accused of causing thru hikers to bunch up.  Which is not true.  The KOP does that.  So instead of causing alleged problems they closed their doors.  Now we have to come up with other plans.  Instead of a food drop at Agua Dulce, we will be having one at Lake Hughes.  Normally we would not go near Lake Hughes but the Powerhouse fire two years ago closed a section of the trail and to get around it we will hike right next to the Lake Hughes Post Office.

We filled out the paperwork for our passports cards.   Next we will file them.  For kids under 16, both parents have to go the filing office.  Hopefully we can get this paperwork finished before we leave.  We need the passport cards to get back into the US after finishing the PCT in Manning Park, Canada.