PCT Day 70 Smoke and Magic 

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chipmunk and his famous eggs and chilli beans
 25th June 2015

Mileage 23.2

Bushcamp (1040.1) to Bushcamp (1063.3)

The precipitous bluff near camp was bright orange in the early morning. We discussed trying to make it to Lake Tahoe a day earlier than planned. This meant bigger days than we wanted and the possibility of expensive accomodation options.

Several miles into the day we caught up to Zig Zag. My former hiking partner. We’ve been leap frogging each other for 100s of miles. We chatted while loading up on calories. KC and I left Zig Zag to head down to the smoke filled valley. Visibility was restricted. Although we could smell the smoke it certainly wasn’t overpowering. Our own bodily smells were the only overpowering things round this part of the world.

About 2 hours after meeting Zig Zag at the top of the pass we descended to Ebitts Pass. Several weeks ago I was contacted through this blog by a trail angel called ‘chipmunk’. Every year he takes 4 days of his life to feed and look after smelly, dirty PCT hikers. He advised of dates he would be at Ebitts Pass and it turns out that it coincided with my timing. Due to the fires and road closures I didn’t even consider that he would be there. I was so amazingly wrong. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I hit the road. There was a shade tent, chairs, a kitchen, a table. I was fed eggs with chilli beans, coffee, chocolate milk, coke, pineapple and a chocolate brownie. Seriously it couldn’t have come at a better time. Mentally I was reset. Zig Zag arrived only 30 minutes after KC and I. He was presented with his own ‘zig zag’ label brand paper towels. Very amusing. 

Two hours later we reluctantly left the comforts of chipmunks trail magic. We headed up the trail only about 50 metres to find an ice chest with beer. Sorry, couldn’t pass that one up. KC, Zig Zag and I drank the beer. I thought I noticed Zig Zag to be a little unsteady on his feet. It was a hot day. 

I sat in my tent as darkness fell. To the west was an unusually bright Venus with Jupiter so very close to it. I don’t think it’s common to see two planets so close to each other in the sky. I consulted my star chart app and learned that on 1st July they will almost right next to each other in the western sky, so check it out!  


trail magic
zig zag and his zig zag napkins

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  1. I just found your blog recently and have become obsessed with it, you and the PCT. My wife is already getting tired of me talking about it. You have inspired me to learn more about it. I have watched countless You Tube movies and videos, read dozens of blogs and joined the PCTA. I enjoy reading and following your journey. I have lived in Ca. my whole life and know a lot of the souther portions of this trail. I have only done day hikes in these areas. I was traveling this past weekend in the Palm Springs area of Southern Ca. and on a random HWY I came across the PCT crossing the road. My wife knowing my obsession said we should stop and leave some trail magic. I was impressed she actually knew what that was. Shows that she does listen to me after all. So we left some water and trail mix snacks in the shade under a tree just down the road from the Paradise Cafe. I know you are much further up the trail now but I will continue to follow you and be inspired to someday do this adventure as well. Thank you for your post!

    1. Thank you William. I am glad that you are enjoying my journey and I am honoured that you feel inspired. You are blessed to live near the trail, it seems everybody in California is within a very short drive to a trailhead of the PCT. Good luck with the planning and dreaming of hiking the trail.

      1. Thanks for the response. I know it must be difficult to write something at the end of such a tiring day with that many miles under your belt. But I am the one who should be thanking you for taking the time and effort to post this blog and all the great pictures. Keep it up!

  2. That would be great and much appreciated. Things like Why did you start the PCT, What made you stay, Where to now? As I have said before, I’ve become obsessed with the PCT and the hikers. Did I mention that you are a very good story teller? Thanks

  3. There are so many people that help out in so many different ways, some a little, some a lot.There are different types of trail angels, those that leave water or beer maybe, then the angels like Chipmunk that all out set up the diner and cook for you. I love that. What brings them to do that I wonder? Have they hiked the PCT and this is a way to stay connected to it? It’s like having cheer leaders all along the way. I am amazed at how many thru hikers there are. For what reason does someone decide to hike 2,660 miles? I know for as many hikers as there are, there are that many reasons. And again, thanks for the excellent stories every day.

    1. It’s all of the reasons you mention and more. Most are hikers and have hiked at least part of the trail. Most understand the brutality of the trail and just want to help out. As for reasons to hike the trail, they vary immensely, I’ll try to explain that in better detail at the end of the trail, as everybody has their own reasons

  4. Ahhh – trail magic – in all respects! Hope Zigzag wasn’t wobbly for too long, and that he stashed one of those napkins in his pack! Wonderful pics and descriptions as always, thankyou.

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