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.

PCT hikers

Me and Rosie

Kevin and Diane

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.

Me and Elizabeth

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!

PCT hikers

Ken and Nancy

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. 💕

PCT hikers

AJ and Orca

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.

PCT hikers

AJ aka Fast Times

PCT hikers

Crater Lake camping

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!

PCT hikers

Calzone and Cheer

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!

PCT hikers

Polaris and Jazzy

PCT hikers

Me and Polaris

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.

PCT hikers

Red Teacup and Pickles

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!!

PCT hikers

Montreal hikers

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.

PCT hikers

Flap Jack and Dickey Bird

For the last week or so we’ve been connecting with Scott, who I’ve trail named, Blue Eyes, but who has collected the name Flap Jack. 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!

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