This was the busiest weekend yet on the PCT near me. There were no hikers at all on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, I had eight people visit my place while I was there with Gracie, practicing the banjo. Here’s a picture of the first group, posing next to my surfboard. They were a combo of section hikers and thru hikers.
I then had two singletons stop by for a rest and a chat. Not ten minutes after the second one, “Chad,” left my place, a Riverside County helicopter came swooping down. Over the copter PA, they asked whether I was <name omitted>. When I did a thumbs-down to answer no, they flew off, trail-south. I checked my trail register, and sure enough, <name omitted> was there. He was one and the same “Chad” who I had just finished talking with. (Not sure whether “Chad” was a nickname or a trail name.) Anyway, the copter circled back and I did my best to flag them down. We tried communicating by my writing BIG on the ground. You can see one of my responses in the image to the right. When that didn’t get anywhere, I signaled for them to land so we could talk. (Keep in mind that, during all of this, my poor horse was tied to my hitching post nearby, terrified of the helicopter hovering just overhead, ready to bolt at any minute.) I showed them the signature on my trail register and we figured out that this person was “Chad” who had just left, so they took off (this time in a way so that they didn’t fly directly over Gracie) in search of the hiker. Turns out, his family had reported him missing. Luckily, this story of a missing hiker ended more happily than the missing hiker, Chris Sylvia, who disappeared in the area at about the same time last year.
Two more pairs of hikers with backpacks passed by my place in the latter part of the afternoon. All -in-all, we had 12 people on this section of the trail — all of them multi-day hikers.
With this much activity on the trail, I am thinking of starting my soda and hiker box rest stop sooner than last year.