PCT: Building Community

Noelle here:

I was texting with a friend at home about how things are going out here. How’s the van? How’s the trail? I mentioned that the hardest part is being so disconnected. We rarely have reception and once in a while get crappy WiFi that every other hiker has jumped onto along with us. I send out texts and sometimes get the reply the same day, sometimes a couple days later. It’s challenging to maintain close relationships in a normal fashion.

Anyway I got to thinking about my friend’s reply, “not having that community is hard” and it is hard. We’re virtually estranged from our home community and have had to make new connections along the way. Community is different right now. People may be in our lives a couple hours or they may weave along our path throughout a few weeks or they may connect with us through this blog. I wish I had been better at taking more people pictures, but here’s a few.

We started our journey with this amazing group of people. They were such a blessing that first week or so when we were all exhausted and wondering what the heck we were doing!

I met RosieWalking after she commented here and we realized we were close in proximity. I look forward to her comments and texts.

We met Kevin and Diane in Red Bluff at a church we visited. They embraced us and we had a delightful conversation with them about life and family and God and the trail. I hope they’re getting a bit more sleep lately, as they’d been helping to care for a new grandbaby when we met.

We also met this beauty in Red Bluff: Elizabeth. She and a coworker, November, made our stay so pleasant. They welcomed us like old friends and we felt so comfortable that we kept staying!

We met a hiking couple in Red Bluff also, Ken and Nancy. They also skipped the Sierras and were taking a bus out to Old Station(?) to start back up. We’ve seen them off and on through all of Northern California and here they are a couple days ago in Crater Lake. I was super excited to see them again.

Apparently we met a young man on our second day, his first day. AJ, aka Fast Times, hikes with Orca (cuz she’s from Wales, get it? It took me almost a month to realize that’s how she got her trail name). I met up with them at Old Station, when he recognized my voice. We’ve seen them at least once a week since. They actually came through the Sierras and are a couple of serious badasses. 💕

He showed me his list in his phone of all the hikers he’s met. He makes little notes beside names. Next to us it simply said “>50”. I about died laughing. The only name ahead of us was Vincent, “Tulsa, 76”. Oh how we all adore Vincent! Anyway, here’s AJ telling a tall tale in camp one night.

We were at Crater Lake for that last picture, Steve would arrive the next day. It was my van and about 20 tents in one campsite. Below is just a few of the tents. They welcome me like I’m another thru hiker, even though they know I’m not! Maybe because I go the opposite way than they do so now people equate seeing me with being “almost to the trailhead” and that’s always a good thing!

In the next picture, I met the girl on the left and her partner at the Kelso Road Water Cache in the Mojave Desert. I met the girl on the far right, Calzone, and her hiking partner, Cheer, in Burney Falls State Park on the 4th of July, while I was busy having a pity party. They cheered me up and told me lots of tales about their aborted hike into the Sierras. Itwas fun to meet up with all of them in Crater!

Steve met Jazzy, an airplane pilot before Seiad Valley and I met him the next day. Here he is getting some directions from Polaris. He’s been with us a few weeks, while she’s a South bounder who we may never see again.

I met Red Teacup and Pickles as I hiked out of Crater Lake to meet Steve one afternoon. I met eight hikers that day, but these two! Delightful! Pickles is from Alaska and she was heading home to check on her dog after surgery. I think she’ll be back around PCT Days. Red Teacup is a teacher from Wyoming, who just completed his first 100 miles on the PCT! Steve and I both met up with them while touring the Lake. Such amazing human beings, both of them. We’re super excited for Red Teacup! He’s a force to be reckoned with!!

Here’s another couple, whose names have escaped me, but who we met in April or May. They’re from Montreal and are full of joy. It was so fun to run into them again.

For the last week or so we’ve been connecting with Scott, who I’ve trail named, Blue Eyes. And we also recently met Dickey Bird, who’s a thru hiker from way back!

There are so many people we meet and whose company we enjoy for however long we travel together. There are so many of you who comment on here and who journey along with us. It’s really encouraging how you reach out to us and we truly love to read your comments!

So yes, I really miss our family and home community, but I guess we’re making a different kind of community out here and it’s great too!

14 thoughts on “PCT: Building Community

  1. Great post. You’ve got a big, loving heart!

    1. Thanks VFat! You’re our tramily now! ❤️

  2. No guessing Noelle you have formed a different community and left your mark on the trail. It was so exciting to read this last post. I know you are ahead of this post but I am still following in my chair of coarse. I have formed a community also from my chair. Seems odd but that is the steep uphill of life……………

    1. Hello beautiful lady! I hope you are doing well and I’m glad to hear from you! Take good care of yourself.

  3. Bertha Fresquez August 13, 2019 — 8:55 am

    Such a beautiful written post from a dear heart. I’m not surprised at how many wonderful people you have both met. People are drawn to you and we are blessed to be called your friends. I love reading about your journey and you are in my daily prayers. Much love to you both!

    1. Thanks Bertha! I’m glad to call you friends as well. Thanks for cheering us on!! ❤️

  4. I haven’t commented for awhile, but I follow along everyday. Your words and sharing of the trail make me feel a part of this journey. I look forward to reading your posts as I’m able to escape from the chaos of this world. It brings me peace and helps me center on the beauty of God’s creation. Thank you 😊
    Liz from FresnoRetro

    1. Thank you Liz! We love when you do chime in with comments. It’s great to hear from you and I’m glad you’re enjoying our adventure. Hope you and Bob are doing well!

  5. So many tails to tell your grandchildren, right! So many memories. And I bet one of the grandchildren will do this one day because they were inspired by you two. Karen

    1. It’s a lot of tall tales! 😂😂😂 it would be awesome if one of our grandchildren hiked the trail one day. That would definitely be pretty neat! Hugs to you, Karen!

  6. Hi you two, I went through today’s post and boom, one of the people who works in the same building as me was in one of the photos. Kevin and Diane Penner were some of the people you met at a church when you came to Red Bluff, Kevin teaches at the independent study high school we share a building with. What a fantastic small world this is. Loving your travels and stories. Safe travels. Mason. (I met you at Burney Falls)

    1. Hi Mason! We’re glad to hear from you. It was great meeting you at Burney Falls. That’s so funny you know Kevin and Diane. It’s definitely a small world sometimes. 😁 take care!

  7. Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg August 14, 2019 — 12:22 pm

    I’m sorry I don’t comment more. I’m usually so awestruck by what you are doing I just have to keep reading. I’m glad you are able to reflect on this new community, and know that your community that isn’t with you on the trail loves you and is so proud of you!!! Excited to see you soon <3

    1. Hi Ashley! It’s good to hear from you but it was even better to see you this week. It’s fun knowing you keep up with us as you can and it’s fun getting to share our adventure with you and Brady like this. Love you both!

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