Day 30: (22 miles…8 unnecessary)
mile 393 – 407.6
Hard way all day was the mantra, but it was not without some good unexpected surprises. As we were packing up, who should approach but “Imaginary Friend” who had left the trail a week or so prior to finish a job in Berlin. Apparently he goes by “Gear Slut” which frankly fits him perfectly. We catch up. He moves on and we say we will see him at the end of the day…maybe. An off duty Forest Service Ranger who’s on a day hike passes by and stops to talk. “Are you going to hike the detour trail or wuss out like some of the others and hitch to the next spot, he asks?”. He looks exactly like (and sounds like too) the Lorax from Dr. Seuss. We tell him that were just about to head out to the Burkhart trail, and if we were going to hitch we would have camped closer to the road. Finally we get on our way. The weather is perfect and our feet are really moving so quickly we miss read the signage and continue the PCT SOBO now for about 4 miles on the new endangered species (18.7 mile) detour before we realize we missed the hairpin turn. Crap! And we were really hiking fast. Back we go practically running back to the missed turn. When we reach the spot we stop to change our socks, hydrate and have a bite. Up walks Why Not , Poco Loco and Grasshopper! They initially attempt to go the way we have been, looking for direction markers, but we motion to the turn and head (now) in the proper direction, saying ‘trust us…it’s this way’. We get the opportunity later to explain ourselves after we had told them we got a ” late start”. We leap frog for the rest of the day. I’m toast cause I’ve already racked up 12+ miles which should have been only 4 by now. We are still fuming at our blunder and then start to laugh as we wonder what our tracking points must look like on the Delorme and to our friends and family who are following. We wish someone would have texted us, “Dude, where are you going?”. We make it to Three Points, Why Not’s group pauses as they are wondering what happened to Spirit… She should have been here by now or at least passed us. We then break down and tell of our missed turn and extra miles. Later Spirit arrives completely dejected, as were we. We tell her she’s not alone. It’s too fresh for her and not funny yet. We hike on to the next water source at mile 407 and camp on a road in between two locked pipe gates. We figure we’re safe here…at least from being run over, but NOT the wind. Exhausted we bed down with dust swirling around and at us throughout the night. Over 400 miles down now. Wow.