Ashley and Natalie have shipped their food ressuply boxes to the Mount Laguna post office instead of the store. The post office, which is 12 miles away, closes at 11am today, a Saturday. They get up with the pre dawn light and get going.
I follow a less urgent while later. I didn’t get much sleep and would rather rest some more. I am still coughing at night from my cold and am now out of cold meds. But resting now would mean hiking in the heat of the day. Time to walk.
I take foot breaks about every two miles. This means off the feet, shoes and socks off, and dry socks on before hiking again. This is a long climb. For awhile I can see a highway and bicyclists riding uphill on it. I don’t know who to pity more – them or me. Probably me. I’ve got several months to go while they’re likely out only for the day.
The trail leaves the chaparral behind and drops into oak riparian forest along Long Creek. As I climb, the oaks give way to pine forest. I am thankful to be walking in shade.
I get to the edge of the Burnt Rancheria Campground where we’re going to stay. Now where are the girls? I find a note from the Fisher Sisters stuck to a PCT trail marke. They have a site to share with other hikers. And on the side, “Father, this is where we are.” On the bottom are some squiggles and arrows that point up the trail. So I continue on the trail another mile.
I pass some day hikers. They offer directions. They saw the Fisher Sisters’ note. They think the best way to get there is back the way I came. No thanks. I am not going
back down elevation I just climbed.
I wander through closed sections of the campground then through occupied campsites. I find the Fisher Sisters.
They made it to the post office. Twelve miles in about five hours. But they arrived ten minutes after closing. A postal clerk was still there and got them their boxes. Fast and lucky girls. If they hadn’t gotten their boxes, would’ve been a two day wait for the post office to open again.