We did some PCT highlights between Acton and Wrightwood recently, which brought back memories of 1977. Before Acton I lost my eating utensil and had been borrowing from others. Ken was getting fed up with this and insisted I get a new utensil in Acton. At the time Acton had a small general store and the only thing I could find was a spatula. This would pay dividends in Wrightwood.
In between we hiked up into the San Gabriels, often paralleling the Angeles Crest Highway. Water is scarce in Southern California in the fall, which dictated where our camp spots would be. We targeted a campground to end a 22 mile day precisely because the guidebook revealed that to be the next water.
When we arrived we found a piped spring … with about one drip per minute. The guidebook revealed the next water after that to be 33 miles away. Time for a Plan B! Our maps indicated that Wrightwood was down the mountain from us. We bushwhacked through the pine forest on a straight line down to town.
Wrightwood has the distinction of being on an earthquake fault line, in both a flood zone and an area of high fire danger. Not a place for nervous Nellies. All that mattered to us was that the town had water and ice cream. We bought a half gallon of ice cream to share (back then they WERE half gallons). The others whipped out their spoons and I whipped out my spatula (snicker). We did not share ice cream again after that.
Things have changed since then. This time we stopped at a chain hardware store in Acton for duct tape, using the wifi at the local McDonald’s before leaving town. We merely drove through Wrightwood, with a quick stop for liquid refreshments on the same street where four backpackers from Connecticut once (unevenly) split a real half gallon of ice cream.
Also in Wrightwood I suggested to Charissa that our focus now become a mother/daughter bonding experience, with her making the decisions for how that can best be done. The PCT should remain an element, because that’s what makes sense to Cindy for being out here. Yet it no longer needs to be the focus in my opinion. We could even go home at this point, Except ….
When this journey is over Charissa will no longer be with her Mom much. During this trip I learned how much she treasures memories such as the Girl Scout trips, the holiday decorations, tending the garden and learning how to bake delicious cinnamon bread from her Mom. I’ve been mistaken. The more valuable opportunity for closure out here is not that for a long distance hiking partner, but for manifesting the love of a special daughter for a special Mom.