Mile reached: 1560.2 (+16.0)
High: Spending the afternoon with my family on the trail doing trail magic
Low: I received a message in the morning that my family would meet me earlier than expected. However, I had slept in and thought I would be late.
My mother lives in the mountains just off CA-3, which crosses the trail. So, we had been coordinating the past few days about meeting on the trail and finally settled on this day. However, due to an unmovable dentist appointment it looked like I would beat her to the rendezvous by a few hours. But, when I made the decision to go to sleep I resolved to just sleep in the next morning. No sense in rushing to wait by the side of the highway for a few hours, right? Well, I got a message in the middle of the night via satellite that my stepfather would come earlier. I sent a response indicating that I would not be there that early, but I was unsure if my message would get relayed in time. So, I set off at a brisk pace to regain some time.
The trail steadily lost elevation to CA-3, and tree cover was still minimal. It was warm in the sun, but at least it wasn’t bad going downhill. While I was cruising down trail, I heard a cacophony of clanking metal. At first I wondered if some beater truck was barely making it up one of the rocky roads, but then a cow stuck its head out of the Manzanita! It looked like the Trinity Alps were taking a cue from their namesake.
Right as I arrived at the highway, I found some trail magic in a styrofoam cooler. It was pretty awesome: fresh fruit, chips, Gatorade. I helped myself to a little and sat in the shade of a tree. It appeared that I had beaten my family there, and this was confirmed when they showed up half an hour later along with my little brother.
They came prepared by bringing a full size propane grill, beer, bratwurst, and tuna burgers! I was even able to do an emergency wash of my socks. Tragically, there were no camp chairs, so we spent the afternoon sitting on the ground or on coolers. I was surprised by the number of hikers that showed up. A few I knew like “Poseidon”, but others I had never met. Though, several recognized me via either my hat or shorts. Amusingly, several hikers were vegan, but there were no vegan options other than sauerkraut and kimchi. “Ranger”, in particular, was still satisfied with this offering and lavished Siracha on it.
Levi, one of my parents dogs, was enormously popular. He was pretty insistent on being pet and easily bullied hikers into stroking him. He also repeatedly disappeared to go hunt for people in the campground eventually forcing us to tie him up.
Most hikers pushed on later in the evening, though a few camped in the nearby campground. My family had a little campfire and I stayed up a bit past hiker midnight before retreating to the bed of a pickup for the night.