One thing I’ve learned on pct is not getting freaked out by huge ants. They are everywhere and now I just pick them up and throw them out the door if I find them in the tent. Or my sleeping bag. Or anywhere, because they get into everything.
It was a pretty great feeling knowing that I only had 12 miles to go before seeing my parents. And having a bed and other luxuries of civilization.
I got a little excited when I heard the toot of a train. I’ve taken that Amtrak over the Sierras before. I remember this section being fun because of all the snow sheds. Also there was a volunteer from a museum in Sacramento who talked about CA goldrush history. If you’re a history dork, it’s a fantastic trip.
I came to the last couple of miles to the pass. I could see the highway in glimpses, so close and frustratingly distant. The last part was all downhill, yay! But, the worst sort of downhill, all jumbled rocks and switchbacks. Ankle turning terrain. Ahead of me, a guy picked up his tired dog and carried it most of the way down. Aww! I couldn’t catch up to the guy carrying his dog. It wasn’t a small dog. Damn.
At the pass I came to highway 40. There was a small store and table area at the Summit Haus. I got a juice bar and sat down. It was 3 pm, exactly when I’d told my mom I’d get here. I made it!
A woman with bright eyes sat down at my table. There were two empty table pushed together and she sat right next to me. She wore purple pants and no shoes. She gazed at me and started asking all the regular hiking questions. “Where did you start? Which way are you going? Ooooh, all the way, I think that’s wonderful that you’re doing that, just marvelous!”
It was a little weird. I left and walked closer to the road to wait for my folks. Then another lady, this one with purple hair, came to sit by me. She started offering me free stuff for hikers up the road. Probably it was all fine and normal. Probably these were totally nice ladies being kind. Probably I am turning into some kind of forest weirdo. And probably I should not listen to so many podcasts about freaky cults. But this is Donner Pass and crazy shit has happened here.
Then my parents drove up and I escaped.