PCT 2019: Day 38, Bouquet Canyon Road to Casa de Luna

One long party from front to end

Hiking with the Woohoo Crew has been like rolling on a party train. The tramily is a fun group of lively and intelligent people. We like to laugh and never quarrel.

Still, they aren’t what I would call partiers. Many don’t drink. If any of them smoke marijuana, I haven’t seen it. They just enjoy each other and I’m glad they enjoy being with me.

We expected the next stopover for our party train would be a big party itself. We were heading to Casa de Luna, the home of Terrie and Joe Anderson. Terrie affectionately calls it "hippy daycare."

DateWednesday, May 1, 2019
WeatherChilly, breezy and foggy at higher elevations, cloudy lower; temperatures from mid 40s to low 50s
Trail ConditionsLong, gradual ascent and descent
Today's Miles12.6
Trip Miles479.4

I thought for sure animals would show up last night and dig through the garbage that was piled near my tent. Fortunately, none appeared.

I also thought noise from cars passing by on the nearby road would make it hard to sleep. Only a few cars went by and the sound wasn’t loud. I slept well.

The weather was chilly, breezy and foggy in the morning, just as it had been most of yesterday.

Steel Belted was the first to leave camp. I followed him about 10 minutes later.

The climb out of Bouquet Canyon was about as easy as yesterday’s descent to the road. Though it amounted to a 1,100-feet change in elevation, the climb was spread over 4.2 miles, so it wasn’t challenging.

Even when a section of the trail became a little sandy, it wasn’t difficult to walk.

Everyone passed me on the climb, but that wasn’t unusual.

It also wasn’t unusual for me to catch up to tramily members, and at 9:20 a.m. I found Rainbow Sherbet and Spamalot taking a break.

The tramily may be younger and faster than me, but I’m still able to keep up because they take long breaks.

After talking to them briefly, I continued on the trail. It wasn’t long before they passed me again.

About an hour later I caught up to most of the group again. Falls and Steel Belted were farther up the trail and we hadn’t seen MJ since Hiker Heaven. I found the rest of the group huddled together, trying to stay warm while taking a break.

I didn’t want to stop again because the weather was so chilly, so I didn’t stay long.

The dark, low clouds eliminated much of the view from the trail on the upper section, so I just put my head down and hiked.

There were a few wildflowers, but not many. The gray sky made some firecracker penstemon along the trail especially noticeable.

My feet began to hurt, perhaps because I was wearing new shoes, so I sat on a rock and took a lunch break. I expected the tramily to pass me while I was there, but they never did.

Later, I caught up with a hiker named Juliet and we were soon joined by Rainbow Sherbet. We hiked more or less together for the rest of the way to San Francisquito Valley Road. That's where we would get off the trail and head to Casa de Luna,

When we got to the road, a man named Loner was there. He was a volunteer at Casa de Luna and was waiting to drive hikers to the house.

“The easiest hitch ever!” I said.

Loner had room for one more hiker beside Juliet, Rainbow Sherbet and me, so we waited a few more minutes until Just Awesome arrived.

Much like Hiker Heaven, it’s not accurate to call Casa de Luna a hostel. The Andersons have been hosting hikers here for several years.

We were allowed to camp anywhere we could find a clear spot in the forest of manzanita behind the Anderson’s house. The tangled manzanita gave a fairy garden atmosphere to the place.

The magical quality was enhanced by many hand-painted rocks that lined the paths and hung in the branches. The rocks had been painted by previous hikers.

Falls and Steel Belted were already there and had pitched their tents, so Just Awesome, Rainbow Sherbet and I looked for nearby spots to pitch our tents.

They said MJ had been there but had decided to keep going. Captain, Gilly, and Spamalot arrived a short time later.

After setting up our tents, we all walked back to the house and found a rack full of Hawaiian shirts. Everyone was expected to wear one.

I was seeing why "hippy daycare” was such a good description of the place. There was even an area for arts and crafts, which was primarily used for painting rocks.

We walked a few blocks to a convenience store, which was the only place in town to buy food. The options were actually better than expected, but I didn’t need much because of the food I sent to Hiker Heaven and the extra I bought in Agua Dulce.

Before dinner, Terrie gave a brief talk to explain the rules. Except for dinner rules, there weren’t many. She was especially adamant about how we were to go through the dinner line because she wanted to make sure proper hygiene was used.

This was all good-natured fun, but with serious intent. She didn’t want anyone to get sick while staying at her home.

As she talked she waved around a yardstick. This was used to enforce the dinner rules. If she saw someone use their hands to reach for food or hold their plate over the food, she would smack them with the stick.

The meal was taco salad, which we could make ourselves as many times as we wished, and of course, as long as we followed the rules. Terrie kept a close eye on everyone as they passed through the serving line.

The festive evening continued after dinner when Terrie said it was time to award everyone with their thru-hiker bandanas. The bandana was custom made for the PCT Class of 2019.

The idea of giving hikers a bandana started when Linda “Gottago” Jeffers, Jackie “Yogi” McDonnell, and John “Cupcake” Brennan finished their PCT thru-hikes in 2002 and decided they wanted to give a gift to the next class. It became a tradition that has continued ever since.

The bandana had to be earned, however. Terrie turned on some music and required that each hiker briefly dance as they walked up to accept theirs.

I’ll show a picture of the bandana, but not of me dancing to receive it.

One long party from front to end
Tune to the whistle going round the bend
No big hurry, what do you say
Might as well travel the elegant way

From "Might As Well"l by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)

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