When my daughter Hana Lyn, who is visiting from Maryland, found out that there is a lady in Burney who sells Mary Kay, she was so happy. She had run out of foundation. So Linda messaged Bobbi Frazier and we arranged to meet at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the Word of Live Assembly of God (WOLA) for resupply.
When we arrived, the WOLA coffee shop and lobby were buzzing with activity. Bobbi was there and so also were two members of a 4K for Cancer Team running from San Francisco to New York. So while Hana Lyn transacted with Bobbik and got a latte, I spoke briefly with one of the team leaders for the 4K Run, Cheyenne Greenside. Kathy Newton who was organizing hospitality for the runners during their rest stop in Burney, told me that they would be having a barbecue at WOLA that evening and invited me to come take pictures for an article. (See 4K Runners Grateful for Burney Hospitality).
In the meantime, I noticed several PCT hikers in the coffee shop. Five more hikers were enjoying the hospitality of WOLA. Two of them were heading back to the trail that day and three of them were planning to rest, resupply, and stay for the night.
I managed to chat with the two who were planning to trek on that day.
Rebekah Archer is a charming, thoughtful young lady from Melbourne Australia who is flip-flopping (skip-hiking) the trail. Her trail name is Weaver. She began solo hiking in Campo on April 9. As she hiked through the Southern California desert she made several friends with whom she hiked. Rebekah said she saw a lot of rattlesnakes in the south.
When they reached Lone Pine (Mile 788.8), she chose to skip the Sierras and hike north from Chester. Hiking from Chester to Burney she has seen a lot of deer but no bear yet. I told her she may well see one in this area.
After she passes through the Northern Cascades to Canada she plans to return and hike south through the high Sierras after the snow has melted.
In the midst of her journey north, Rebekah will take two weeks off from the trail to spend time with friends from Australia who are coming for a two week visit in San Francisco. Then she will rejoin the hikers she met earlier in the desert and hike to Canada with them. Rebekah has planned her hike so she can enjoy, the “best of all worlds.”
The second PCT hiker I talked with in the coffee shop was a young thru-hiker from Frankfurt Germany. His trail name is Avocado. He started from Campo on March 28. This is the first time that he has done such a long hike. He has hiked the mountains of Europe but never longer than two weeks.
Avocado said that what impresses him about the PCT is the “diversity of beauty full of extreme contrast” that he has experienced on his journey through the desert, the High Sierras, the Southern Cascades, Hat Creek Ridge, and then descending into the forests of Burney Basin. He is looking forward to seeing Burney Falls, and then passing through Mt. Shasta, into the forests of Oregon and the Northern Cascades in Washington.
Just before leaving Germany for his adventure, Avocado completed his undergraduate degree in sociology from Frankfurt University. As he is walking north through the wilderness, he is pondering whether he should continue his studies or begin his career.
From the point of view of a sociologist, Avocado said that the PCT culture is a “tiny special society.” It is international. There are people of all ages and backgrounds making the journey for varied reasons. There are day hikers, section hikers, through hikers, and hip hoppers. Trail angels support and encourage the hikers and businesses in small rural towns cater to their needs. Rugged outdoor adventure interfaces with hi-tech social media and special PCT apps to facilitate the journey. There is a fluid blending of individualism and group formation that enriches the PCT family. Avacado said that he may write a short paper on it in the future.
He said that he met only one person hiking through the snow in the Sierras without a cell phone. Avocado considers his phone to be not just a means of communication but a safety device insuring location and rescue in case of mishap in a treacherous area.
After talking with Avocado, Hana Lyn, my wife Linda, and I headed to Burney Falls to hike the Loop. While there, we ran into Weaver again, sitting at a picnic table writing in her journal. She was planning to have an ice cream before visiting the falls and heading north.
Hana Lyn, with her new Mary Kay foundation, had several opportunities to snap selfies by the falls and on the bridge over Burney Creek.
Ah! The best of all worlds!