Day 19: Wrightwood Wins My Heart.

May 29, 2021

Mile Marker: 411

Miles Hiked Today: 9

Sleeping in now feels impossible. Planner and I both woke up this morning around 5 am even though we had no reason to.

I couldn’t stay asleep but I stayed in bed for a majority of the morning. Jeff had come in twice and told me he was surprised because I hadn’t moved yet compared to the others. I could have stayed in bed all day!

Jeff and Cindy both let us know that we were welcome to stay as long as we needed. They had to run errands but told us that we could stay until we needed to leave.

Around 10 we all decided to take a ride with Jeff into town for a potluck lunch.

This potluck was for hikers and free. No charge.

What?!

Supposedly this hair salon and the ladies who run it (I think) set up a potluck every year for hikers and all they ask is for us to vote on which is the best. The winner then gets 50 bucks between them.

It was amazing home cooked food and all the women were telling us to eat more and more and “Make sure to vote.” We all ended up going back at least 3 times for more food.

We (Planner, Gator, Conrad, and I) then got a shuttle from a man named Bryon. The trail is closed for about 20 miles because of a fire last year. Hikers could either hike a highway or get a shuttle around it. Majority, it seems is taking the shuttle because the highway seems dangerous. For us, we didn’t come to hike highway miles we came to hike the pct and if that isn’t open, then so be it. Bryan had said it perfectly “You guys are just hiking the 2021 PCT”.

Bryan also refused any money that was offered to him. He just wanted to help us out.

So…. In Wrightwood, we had a free place to stay, shower, and do laundry. We had a huge free meal AND we got a free ride.

I mean… how lucky are we? I could not be more thankful for the people who do this. I don’t know if they realize how much this impacts our hikes and our spirits but we always leave feeling so grateful and ready to tackle more miles.

We then got to trail around 2:30 and did a nice easy 9 mile hike to camp. It felt nice to get here early and Some Guy, Tide, and Bottleneck also showed up.

It’s been our little tramily as of the last couple of days and it’s been super enjoyable.

We all sat around talking and I found out Tide had put in an application for the Peace Corps and has an interview on June 16th. My heart was smiling as it felt full circle. When I was on the AT I had to do the same thing and I remember asking RPCVs all the questions like Tide and Bottleneck were. (They started trail together and are from Oklahoma!)

Here I am now, having finished my service and can now answer all those similar questions that I was asking other volunteers on the AT. I can’t get over how special it feels.

It also, brought up emotions within that I didn’t want to explore at the time in front of them. And to be honest, that I have actually been refraining from exploring thus far on this trip.

It’s unreal how much I still think about Ethiopia. How much I miss the culture and the language.

I lay in my tent tonight surrounded by wonderful people in a gorgeous area but regardless, my heart still longs for my people in Ethiopia. My eyes water tonight not necessarily because I am sad, but because it truly was a life changing experience. I am so grateful for it and meeting all the people that I did.

To my fellow friends in Ethiopia, I am constantly sending you all love and light. I will always cherish my time spent there and I will never, ever forget it.

What a truly wonderful day. ❤️

Iz and Oz

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