David from the Roadside: In the morning I drove into the town of Big Bear City and bought some supplies (an ice chest, ice, salads, oranges, eggs, etc.) at the local Vons and headed to the scheduled meet-up spot with Runningbird at Hwy 18 – and waited. I was early but at least there I was able to get a cell signal and check the tracker for her progress. Besides, I was not going to be late to rendezvous, especially after the challenges of her last couple of days she had.
While waiting another pickup truck pulled in and I met Jan. She was supporting her daughter Gwen hiking on the trail (as well as any other thru-hiker that needed a bit of water or snacks). Jan was from Arizona and had a wealth of information for me about hiking apps, campground information and strategies, and other specifics about the PCT. After a bit, her daughter Gwen came hiking down the trail with a smile on her face, pig tails bouncing, and a teddy bear strapped on her pack. A short bit later Runningbird arrived and immediately went about visiting with Gwen and sharing about the difficulties they both had endured over the past few days on the trail. Until that moment it had been well over 24 hours since Runningbird had seen another human being. It quickly occurred to me that thru-hikers, regardless of age, sex, or where they are from, share something special that only they can really understand.
With that, Runningbird called it a day and we drove the 30 minutes back to the trailer where she enjoyed (and needed) a little trailer bath, a giant salad, pasta salad, ginger snaps, a glass of wine, and finally, sleep.