Happy to report that I returned to the PCT for the first time in a very long time, and I had the chance to meet five through hikers and talk to them for a little while. Four were polite but slightly grumpy and tired looking — probably because they are lugging 50 pounds of pack weight across the mountains! Oh man. My back ached just looking at all that pack weight.
I met another through-hiker near the San Joaquin River. He was carrying very little, his pack looked really light — and he was smiling like he was having the time of his life!
Anyways, it sure was great to meet all those hikers. I told them all that I was a PCT walker, class of ’93 and ’94.
By the way, I found it really strange that none of the hikers had seen a bear at all when I met them. Not one bear between Mexico and Reds Meadow, CA? The weird thing is, I saw a bear that very same day! After finishing my miniature PCT hike, I took a drive at dusk on Old Mammoth Road in the Eastern Sierra (a good 15 miles or so from the actual PCT). I stopped at a beautiful overlook, next to a truly wild looking, burly patch of land with yellow wildflowers growing on it, and at that very moment a big fat brown bear (fully grown male, by the look of him) came tumbling out of the woods, shaking his ears and staring right at me!
We looked at each other for a good long time, and then, without making any noise at all, he waddled through the meadow and into a copse of trees.