Blog Archive

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hitching to the Haven

Day 13 6/25
Mileage 6

At the Dinsmores'! We woke up to beautiful mist and sunshine on the lake and quickly ascended to the trail. An increasingly snow-free descent put us at Stevens pass around 1:00. Thusly began our first PCT hitch hiking saga! I originally had visions of being scooped up by the first car that came by, being enthusiastically greeted by some fellow hikers in a Subaru or something, and getting whisked away to our destination. This, unfortunately, was not the case. Advice to would-be hitchers: if you're going to do it in a group of 5 smelly people, be prepared to wait. Peter, Zoe, and Will got picked up about an hour and a half later, and Kyle and I got a ride from Roy and Aviva, two musicians from Arkansas who had hitched and ridden trains from their home in Dixie and were borrowing a car to go to a fiddle festival on the Olympic peninsula. Not only did they willingly pick us up, but they even thanked us for letting them! They try to pick up hitchhikers whenever they can, and were wracked with guilt over not being able to fit two guys and a dog a couple miles back, and were thus glad to renew their good karma with us. They even gave us cherries they had just picked! They dropped us off in Baring, which consists of a post office, a cafe, and a general store. In the same building. From there, it was a short walk to the legendary Hiker Haven, run by trail angels Jerry and Andrea Dinsmore. "Trail angel" is PCT speak for people with some sort of affiliation with the trail who help out hikers in some way or another, from providing water caches in the desert to shuttling hikers to and from towns, to providing a place to stay and even doing laundry. When I say they're legendary, I mean really the stuff of legend. Hiker Haven is a renowned destination for almost all thru hikers. Their backyard includes a hiker bunkhouse, shower, laundry room, hammock, and gazebo, all open for use by thru hikers and long-distance cyclists. They are PCT celebrities of the highest caliber. The game doesn't seem to have changed them, though, because they're two of the nicest, most welcoming, down to earth people I've ever met. Jerry is a retired diesel mechanic who found a group of bums sitting around in Skykomish and invited them back to his place for showers and a campfire, and learned that they were not bums in the traditional sense, but were in fact a doctor and his children thru hiking the PCT, and thus Hiker Haven was born. Andrea is a retired cross-country trucker who greeted us in her "always sassy" tinkerbell shirt with a huge smile and hugs, undeterred by our stinkiness. Their license plates say "PCT DAD" and "PCT MOM" respectively. We got some pizza (awesome) and dried out our gear on the lawn. We're spending the night in the hiker dorm and will take a zero day tomorrow. We're trying to figure out what to do in the next couple days, given the still-high snow levels. It's great to be here and experience the Dinsmores' spectacular hospitality firsthand.

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