Mile 1318.0 to 1331.3 (13.3 miles, 21.4 km)
Hitch into Chester.
True to form as the track notes suggested deer activity was rampant last night. I’m not sure how many but hooves could be heard all night and very close to tents. Camel finds that his tent peg bag and hat have disappeared.
We part ways and I later find his hat saturated in deer saliva and torn to shreds as they’ve chewed the salt clean out of said hat. Other hikers have their pole handles chewed up.
I had two things on my mind today – reach the halfway marker and get into Chester.
It was an easy 5 miles to the halfway mark and such a relief to reach such a big milestone. I had mixed feelings. It was really good to be closer to Canada than Mexico now but boy did it sink in what a big journey this trip is. It’s long and I’m getting tired but want to see it through. I know I have it in me both physically and mentally. It is this stage of the game that the mental aspect kicks in. We’re halfway through but still in California and still only half way. It’s like reaching a mountain summit but knowing you still have to get back down.
The small post marking the midway point wasn’t that impressive for such a milestone. That’s OK. It’s something tangible to teach and means so much.
It’s amazing to think that this three foot wide patch of dirt extends 1325 miles south to the Mexican border and the same north to Canada.
On a high after passing the midway point I pretty much flew down the gradual descent to the highway to hitch into Chester. I don’t recall much of the walk other than it was fairly easy.
Reaching the highway I held my thumb out for about 30 mins with no success. Lots of traffic in the opposite direction and no one was stopping for me on the way into town. So adopting a new strategy I held a thumb out with hand and a wad of cash in the other.
A stream of traffic rolls by and one vehicle pulls up. A black and white cruiser with blue and red flashing lights. It’s the highway patrol. Oh boy, I’m in trouble here I think. I’m not sure if hitching in California is legal or not but it’s the only way to get around.
The officer gets out, approached and says ‘I can take you in town, I just need to move some stuff for your pack.’ Relief. I’m not in trouble with the law in a foreign country.
I jump in and we talk happily the whole way into town. A shotgun and AR15 sit in the centre console.
Pulling up in town was hilarious. There is a laundromat and pay shower that most hikers hit up when entering town and there are a bunch sitting out the front as the car pulls up and I jump out, shaking hands with the officer. Best hitch so far.
So, a half day in town to get cleaned up, fed , resupplied and laundered.
This is a pack spill looks like in a motel room. I’m amazed all the time that this all fits in my pack.