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)
I’m not a runner, but when I heard about a 12k where the runners wear costumes and you run from one end of SF to the other I couldn’t resist. So I forked over the $90 to enter and bought a Hawaiian shirt from Goodwill. I didn’t know what to expect the morning of the race but upon I arrival, I saw people wearing everything from gorilla suits to nothing at all (literally). At the start of the race people throw tortillas at each other to kill time until their group is aloud to leave, so I definitely warmed up my arms. After my group was set free I actually ran the whole thing. The 7 1/2 miles went but fairly quick and at the end I was awarded my finisher medal. Let’s hear it for spontaneous adventures!
Most people go to a city, stay in a hotel and take tours on a bus to take in their new surrounding but as you know by now, that’s not how I roll. So instead of paying lots of money to hear corny jokes and be taken to tourist traps, Harry and I rented bikes to explore the city. After renting bikes from a sketchy bike rental place in a parking garage, we headed across the city straight to the beach. I never planned to swim when I got there but after Harry ran full sprint into the freezing Pacific Ocean
I couldn’t be shown up. The next hours were spent soaking up the sun and exploring cliffs and caves along the cost. Once we had seen all we could see at the beach we rode our bikes along the cost toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Biking the Golden Gate Bridge has always been a bucket list item of mine and I was able to check it off the list! Once on the opposite side we rode up into the park and enjoyed the sunset with a view of the city that was so good it felt like I was dreaming.
I think the decision to bike the city is an extremely accurate representation of my entire trip.
I could have taken a bus or cab around the city just like I could fly to canada but my journey is my destination. It’s about experiences and my experience through SF was a memory I will always have. -Noel Nelson