Day 26 – An Angel Gets His Wings

Trail Camp to Trail Camp
Mile 462.6 – Mile 479.9

Walking into a rising sun

I woke this morning with purpose. Not the “I can’t wrap my brain around it” purpose of hiking all the way to Canada but rather today I had a meeting. I had 16 miles to meet my friend Joel in San Fransquito Canyon (sounds like an diminutive nsect from Northern California) where the PCT crosses the road there.

Bouquet Reservoir

The day promised heat so I went to work early again with visions of Gatorade and maple bars dancing in my head. The trail through Bouquet Canyon had been well maintained by the local scout troop making for an easy walk until the heat started in earnest.

Thank you Boy Scouts
Green Valley, CA

You would think it should be easy to set a place and time to meet up but when your on foot with intermittent coverage on an unfamiliar trail, the variables are many. Fortunately, as I emerged from the scrub onto the road, there was Joel waiting in his white LandCruiser.

Livingston I presume?

Joel and I go all the way back to childhood and our families grew up together. That said, here’s a guy that I have not seen or spoken to in 23 years! (we counted) who drove out to meet me and bring some magic.

New trail angel water cache

Apparently he had already been busy giving another hiker he saw walking the road a ride back to the ranger station. I jumped in and enjoyed the cool air conditioning as Joel took me to lunch at a nearby diner.
We spent the next five hours or so comparing notes on how life has turned out so far, reminiscing about the old neighborhood and family exploits, and chatting about what’s next. I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon and as a bonus, avoid the worst of the day’s heat.

Mana for Masa from Japan

All too soon it was time to hit trail so back we went and Joel unloaded the rest of the water and Gatorade at the trail crossing. Thinking like a hiker, our newest trail angel made an impromptu water cache on the south side of the road so hikers would find it before road walking the ranger station spigot. Smart. I told him the extra Gatorade was going to make someone very happy and indeed it took all of five minutes after he’d left for one to be claimed.

Oh baby, yum!

Joel’s parting gift was double maple bars that propelled me out of the canyon to my windy solitude, camping atop the northern hills.

Hilltop camp with desert north

I should note that this post’s title is incorrect. Near as I can tell from our time together today, Joel got his wings long ago. Thank you Joel!

8 Replies to “Day 26 – An Angel Gets His Wings”

  1. This post makes me so happy! “Hi, Joel!” So cool to see you two together 😀 And a trail angel, indeed! Love it!
    We went to Ellas final concert with SCC today. You were most definitely missed.
    We are excited to give Hanna big celebratory hugs tomorrow at her graduation party. Again, you will be missed. BUT! Thanks to your commitment and awesome blogging skills you are only a ‘post’ away 😊
    We are loving your journey, the writing the emotions and the pictures!
    Keep going AppleJack!!!


  2. John, it was great seeing you and reliving some of the old camping memories from the 70’s near Stevens Pass, and a few non camping memories such as JoJo’s sledding accident down at Kelsey Creek park. I hope my memory is correct, but dragging her back home on an inner-tube up “Suicide Hill” might have been my toughest hike ever!

    Maybe that was good practice for a future long distance hike, 🙂 ( Sorry, couldn’t help myself JoJo)


  3. John … great seeing that you met up with Joel … memories of family camping at Troublesome Creek and Red Bridge … and of JoJo’s hardware event. Keep on bloggin’


  4. Apple Jack is now half way to 1,000!! I’m certain that you made that push today… can’t wait to hear about it. it’s gotta be hot!


  5. Ok, Joel
    I TOTALLY 100% remember you dragging me up suicide hill. That couldn’t have been easy. I don’t know how you dragged a 14 year old that far in knee deep snow and then up a vertical hill! My hero that day for sure! Glad I could help prepare you for any future long distance hikes! 😎


  6. John, its kelli- I hijacked Karen’s computer while im sitting under the dryer. So fun to see you with Joel and I am glad your once again following your dreams. Stay strong and carry on for purpose is never learned but instead earned. Blessings for good health. Kelli (shook).


    1. Thanks Kelli, nice to hear from you. We had such a great time reminiscing about the old neighborhood and family camping trips. I’ll keep working on my purpose. Be well!


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