Random Acts of Kindness

At mile 655 the trail crosses a highway. Food wise, I was good until the next town but the idea of hitching in for a burger was irresistible. So my buddy and I put out our thumbs and waited. After about thirty minutes a truck pulled over and we hopped in. Inside was a couple from San Francisco. After talking a little bit, they offered us a place to stay in town at their campsite and we accepted. Once in town, they paid for our dinner and introduced us to everyone else in their group. Their group was different from your average campers. They are white water rafters and the campsite was right on the Kern river. Our new friends invited us to go rafting with them and of course we accepted again. The next day we got our wet suits and life jackets and about fifteen of us loaded into a van pulling a trailer with three rafts. We drove up the river and after getting situated, pushed off down some class 3 rapids. For these experienced rafters it was no big deal but for me it was unlike anything I had ever done. Working as a team, we navigated down the river and eventually back to the campsite. When I started the PCT I never thought I would go white water rafting but when you are open to try new things, opportunities will arise. -Noel Nelson (pct mile 658)

My First Zero

Sunrise over stream as a push towards Big Bear
Boating on lake Big Bear

While on a thru hike, a “zero” is a day you don’t hike at all. I originally planned to take very few, if any, zeros but after a few hundred miles and two weeks of sleeping on the ground,my body vetoed my original plan. Luckily the next town I would reach would be Big Bear and it just so happened that our family friend and comedy writing legend┬áMike Rotman (Southpark, The Tonight Show, Politically Incorrect), owns a cabin there. After talking to him I realized that if I could make it from Idlewild to Big Bear in four days, the cabin would be unrented and I could stay there! The only problem is, that would mean I would have to average 25 miles per day for four days straight. That’s longer than I had backpacked in a day this entire trip continuously for four days. Although difficult, a warm bed and shower were all the motivation I needed to make it there on time. After four brutal days of backpacking I finally reached Big Bear and was able to take my first zero of the trail. The cabin and even the town were everything I dreamed of and I was able to spend the day going to a farmers market and boating on lake Big Bear. Early tomorrow it’s right back to the trail but now I am refreshed and ready to conquer the rest of the PCT. -Noel Nelson (mile 266)

During my first zero day, hung out with comedy writer, Mike Rotman