Driving up Main Street in Burney on Saturday, July 23, Linda and I saw a group of hikers sitting in front of Burney Lodging. I pulled over and asked if anyone needed a ride to the PCT trailhead.
Five hikers came forward. Four of them wanted to go to Burney Falls Park and one wanted to go to the 299 trailhead.
I didn’t think that we could fit everyone with packs in the Jeep, so Linda volunteered to stay behind with Troubadour, the hiker who was headed to 299, while I drove the others to Burney Falls.
The group of four consisted of one young lady whose trail name was 6 Tacos, and three young gentlemen named Tapafla, 1 Gear, and Lo Flo. After loading in their packs, 6 Tacos took shotgun while the three guys piled in the back seat.
As we drove out, I asked if any of them had any particular experiences they wanted me to share.
1 Gear, whose real-world name is Chris Juarez, reported that he “got spooked by a mom bear with two cubs.”
Apparently the bears got spooked too because they climbed a tree to let 1 Gear pass.
Lo Flo (aka Elliot Schwimmer from Oakland, California) said that he “ran 12 miles in the opposite direction (south) from the Chimney Fire.”
Running from a raging forest fire is definitely intense.
6 Tacos (Alaina Bainbridge from Durham, North Carolina) wrote, “Once I ate six tacos!”
I didn’t get a highlight from the fourth hiker Tapafla (Dexter Corning from South Bend Indiana).
All were thru-hikers. 1 Gear had been on the trail longest. He started out from Campo on March 27. Tapafla and 6 Tacos had both begun their journey on April 4, and Lo Flo had begun on April 19.
They told me that as well as the Brit Family Robinson there was another family hiking the trail this year named Swiss Family Robinson. They also told me about one other mother hiking the trail with her 9 year old son, whom I believe is the youngest thru-hiker on the trail this year.
This was the first time that I had had 4 hikers in the Jeep all at the same time. Because 6 Tacos was in the front, I got a little more of her story. She has hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Virginia. This is the first time that she has hiked on the West Coast. She’s finished college and doesn’t have a fixed schedule, so she’s hoping that after she reaches Canada she will be able to visit some of the larger cities in the northwest like Seattle and Portland and maybe hitchhike down the coast. So many beautiful places and things to see! One of the places she wants to visit is the Redwoods.
6 Tacos also loves beaches. While growing up, she spent a lot of time at the beaches in North Carolina. We talked a little about Topsail Island. But the California coastline is so different with the Pacific waves thrashing against the rocks and cliffs of the Coastal Mountains. She is planning on visiting Big Sur.
From the back of the Jeep one of the guys asked if you could swim below Burney Falls. I told them that I had. The water is cold and turbulent, but a quick in and out is definitely refreshing and exhilarating. Not many people go in but some do. If you do go in, enter farther up toward the rock face where the force of the falls will push you back toward the shore. You don’t want to swim near the creek heading downstream.
I dropped them by the entrance booth and headed back to town to pick up Linda and Troubadour.