Day 39: 19 miles into Acton

Day 39: we hiked 19 miles into Acton. We passed the North Fork fire station on the way. We skipped the last mile of trail, opting to take a dirt road instead.

Start: a dirt road at mile 424.9 (LAT LON 34.37990, -118.13948), very near Big Buck campground.
End: Acton KOA, mile 444.3
Miles hiked: About 19.

This was our earliest start yet. Go us! We woke by 5am, having shared the site with a group of 5 others.

All of us were walking by 7am, whuch was our earliest start yet. The earliest miles were a big climb; we were glad to be hiking in the cool morning.

By 9am we had reached the highest point of the day, Mt Gleason. We took a rest on a rock and enjoyed a shaded seat with a view.

We descended Mt Gleason toward messenger flats. There was lots of poodle dog bush. At times, the trail was impassible because of it, and people had formed use trails to get around it.

The day was hot and full of PUDs. We got to the North Fork Ranger Station around lunch time. There were a lot of other hikers there, including the group we’d camped with. There is no running water there, but a set of caretakers (“Eric Estrada ” and “iPod”) truck water there. They also gave us apples!

The remaining 9 miles were hot and exposed. Erica got really tired- this was already one of our longest days, and it wasn’t even 4pm yet.

About 2 miles before Acton, just at the top of the final ridgline’s descent to the koa, the trail crosses a dirt road. We took this dirt road down to the koa- we’d had enough silly ups and downs.

At the base of the mountain someone offered to make us a root beer float. We had to turn down this trail magic, though, because we had to make it to the post office by 5pm to pick up a maildrop.

The hitchhike took 45 minutes and coat us $5. Faced with a closing post office and poor luck, we were literally waving $5 at passing traffic.

Our hitch hike was made more difficult by two other hikers who kept following us while we tried to hitchhike. Nobody wants to pick up a group of 4 people. Eventually, we has to ask them to stop hitchhiking with us. Only then did we get a ride. Our ride was two construction workers who’d never heard of the PCT. “That’s a thing people do?” They wanted the $5, and we gave it to them.

We arrived at the post office with 3 minutes to spare before it closed. We got our packages and $26 in stamps to send more packages. That’s right: $26 in stamps.

We ate dinner at the grocery store and deli right next to the Acton Post Office. We later discovered that the grocery store in Agua Dulce, “Sweetwater Farms,” is much better. Save your resupplied for Agua Dulce, folks!

The Acton grocery store sells $6 oven baked pizzas. We got two and shared the excess with another hiker, “Jungle Jim” from Iowa, with whom we ate.

We got a ride back to the KOA from a local trail angel, Mary, who also agreed to drop our outbound mail at the post office. She even corrected a major typo on one of our address labels. Mary was hilarious, and we thank her very much for her help.

Back at the KOA, we made camp just below Soledad Canyon Road. It was too late to do laundry, so we enjoyed beers we’d brought back with us. Showers were involved, too.

Other hikers, a very large group, got very drunk at picnic tables about 100 feet away. They were, like the Metrolink trains passing by about 500 feet away, extremely loud. They were drinking till 11pm, past the koa’s posted quiet hour and way past hiker midnight.

We wrote this post on the evening of 5/28/15- that is, the night after.

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