Ballard and Walker: PCT Thru-Hikers

Civilized Pleasures

July 12, 2000

A gem in the hiker's box: All the re-supply locations along the trail have "Hiker's boxes" where PCTers can pick up or leave off items—usually food items. The contents of most of these boxes consist of an assortment of grains—oats, bulgar, corn, mouse droppings, etc. Stuff people have gotten weary of—and I don't blame them. Not surprisingly, these items are not too popular for pick-up—everyone seems to be at full grain capacity. But when something out of the ordinary appears, like at Toulumne when I found nine packets of Pop Tarts, I spend a few minutes reveling in the good will of other hikers.

Soda: The first taste of soda, or beer, or anything carbonated once we reach town is a marvelous thing. I develop a visceral yearning for these carbon dioxide bubbles the very moment we resume trail travel, and the yearn does not dissipate until we return to civilization and the first taste dazzles the tongue. It doesn't seem to matter if our last town stop was seven days or seven hours prior; the gustatory fireworks are equally as explosive. Imagine our delight when we discovered Soda Springs on the trail to Glen Aulin in Yosemite and could concoct our own bubbly Tang tonic.

The shower: We frequently go five to seven days without one. 'Nuff said.


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