Guest blogger Erin “Wired” Saver solo thru hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail in 2011. Wired accomplished this with “No Skips, No Flips,” not easily done last year with high snow, raging waters, and many forest fires. Erin’s PCT daily blog is one of the most followed trail journals: http://erinspctjournal.blogspot.com.
One year ago I met Wired through an online blog. We first exchanged opinions and information on gear, hiking solo, technology, and more gear. After one of our first discussions about best tent to buy, she replied back to me “The Tarptent Moment tent makes me think of a coffin and that I’d have trouble escaping from it quickly.” I knew then I could count on her to always be funny, genuine and honest. Please welcome Erin “Wired” Saver!
When Rockin’ had the idea of me doing a guest post on her blog, I immediately knew what I wanted to write about. As expected, hikers form strong bonds along the trail. What I didn’t expect, were the great interactions I’d have and relationships that I’d form with others along the trail and in the PCT community. The relationship I have with Rockin’ is a prime example of the unique bond that is formed with others along the trail. Never in my life, have I experienced such and open and welcoming community. Here are a few examples of some of my most memorable experiences and interactions along the trail.
I first met Rockin’ through her blog. My friend was a fellow blogger and mentioned Rockin’, so I checked it out. She became a great resource and inspiration for me, and strongly influenced my decision to blog daily. At the same time, I was emailing on another forum with a woman named Christy about solar charger options. Imagine my surprise when I realized that Rockin’ and Christy were the same person! Rockin’ offered to host me and my fellow hikers in Tehachapi and that was AMAZING! Even though we live hundred of miles away from each other, we still keep in touch through emails, texts, and phone calls. Plus, I hope to join her for some of her section hike through Oregon this summer. So great!
When I got to Tuolumne Meadows, I hitched to the nearest town to get phone reception. There were few cars driving through Tuolumne Meadows at that time and I was fortunate to get a hitch from Marilyn and Chandra(who never picks up hitchhikers). In the short amount of time we spent in the car together, it became apparent that I could easily be good friends with these women.
150 miles later, when I got to Lake Tahoe, I got an email from Chandra. She was following my journal and she lived close enough to help me with transportation back to the trail. I was setting out solo and she hiked into Echo Lake with me to wish me luck. Then, in the next town of Truckee, I had some gear issues and had to make and unplanned stop. Again, Chandra to the rescue! It turned out that her good friend Pilar lived there and she was able to take me in for a night. What a great chain of events! We still keep in touch and I hope to repay the favor someday if they ever venture up to the Portland area.
So here’s the story of my favorite hitch. It was late afternoon in the small town of Etna in Northern California. I was tired and knew I was going to get back to the trail pretty late. Few cars were headed toward the trail head, so it was a difficult hitch. A man was offering shuttle rides for money and I was waiting for him to return from a shuttle run. I was in front of the drugstore with two other hikers (Half Fast & Red Blaze) and half trying to hitch while sitting on the curb journaling (since we were going to get to bed late). A man drove up and parked way too close to me. He stepped out of his car and said, “What are you guys, vagrants?” I didn’t know what to think and then he pointed at me and said, “Hey, I know you. You’re famous on the internet…Okay, I’ll give you a ride to the trail.” While he was in the drugstore, Half Fast noticed what was in the trunk of the car…it was a shovel, machete, and shotgun! Hiker 101 would tell you NOT to take this hitch. When he came out of the drugstore, I asked him about the conspicuous items and that’s when we saw the PCT patch on his backpack. It turns out that it was Mike who volunteers for the PCT and does a lot of the trail maintenance around Etna. He is also the person that puts the trail registers on the trail for hikers leaving Etna. He drove us 20 miles in the opposite direction of his home to the trail head, and I couldn’t resist getting a picture when he dropped us off!
I guess a lot happened in Northern California cause here’s a story from Shasta. I was hiking with Liz at the time. Two days before we were to make it to town, we realized that we hadn’t heard much about Shasta and didn’t know of any trail angels. I put word out on my journal that we were looking for some assistance in town and the amazing Sarah replied! Her husband, Todd(who I never met), was thru hiking a few days ahead of us and Sarah offered to pick us up and give us a ride to town. After meeting us, Sarah then offered to host us for a night at her parent’s house with dinner, showers, and laundry…along with her four young children! How amazing is that!? Since Liz and I both work with kids, it was great to spend the night there and get some kid interaction. Most entertaining was when all of us jammed into their SUV the next day when Sarah offered to take us to run errands and get resupplied. Just imagine those road trips you took as a kid when all the kids were annoying each other. It was hilarious! She was also going to drop some trail magic off to a cooler along the trail. Sarah told the kids that if they were good, they could each have a soda when they dropped us off. She even let them hold the sodas until we got there. It was so cute to see them hold those sodas and use all the self-control that they could muster to not open them immediately. We kept in touch the rest of the trail and Todd finished just a couple of days ahead of me.
Lastly, I want to mention all the relationships I have with those who followed me on my journal. I had an immense amount of support and I was in shock of how many people all over the world experienced this journey with me. My favorites were people I met while in towns along the way. Some of them had never even heard of the PCT, and then they went home to find my journal and followed me the rest of the way to Canada. I had people and families who sent me care packages with their photos included and it really helped me to put a face to all those who were writing me supportive messages. Many of whom, I have built relationships with, just like Rockin’ did with me. I am excited for those who are hiking the trail this year. I look forward to following along as they hike, and helping them when they reach the Portland area. I just love the evolution of the trail. Rockin’ was inspired by a female hiker who she met sitting on a rock. She has gone on to inspire countless others, including me. Now I can continue the cycle for those ahead of me. Gotta love it!