What I was about to write will have to wait for another day. One of "The Koreans" became an unlikely hero, and a local reached out with an act of kindness that will not be forgotten amongst us here tonight.
At Mile 77, the PCT crosses California highway 78. Depending a hiker's food cache at that moment, that hiker may push on for another 23 miles to the town of Warner Springs to resupply then, or hitch hike to Julian for the amenities of a small town.
I was hiking with Josh at Mile 77. Mid-day, and 13 miles in, I could push on a few miles and make it to Warner Springs by the end of Friday. I had the food.
But Julian was tempting. Gatorade, beer, a warm bed?
We decided to test our luck hitch hiking. But before long, one more hiker came rumbling out of the hills. Then two more appeared. The first was Matt, a Chicagoan I first met at Mt. Laguna. The pair was a trail made tag team from Holland and Germany, who we'd crossed paths with multiple times today.
Now facing impossible odds, the five of us stand roadside, with our thumbs pointing out, not a woman among us to sweeten the deal.
Surely we'd piecemeal this hitch hike at best, or continue on to Warner Springs.
But after not more than 15 minutes standing roadside, a black Lincoln Navigator appeared with room for the 5 of us, and our oversized bags.
One of "The Koreans" filming Nicholah had been circling between Julian and Mile 77 waiting for the film crew.
Aware of our intentions, he hustled us to Julian in the blink of an eye.
The imagery would be be scrapped at the drawing board for a Lincoln Navigator commercial due to the pure improbability. Six men, from four different countries, none of whom knew eachother less than a week ago, were driving through the mountains of California.
Shortly after arriving in Julian we realized there were no vacancies in this scenic small town. What wasn't taken by hikers who arrived before us, was already taken by regular tourists.
With no rooms available, our closest option was an Air BnB, four miles away.
Before heading off, we must eat.
Not long after ordering food, and hearing of our plight, does the restaurant owner, Carmen, offer us a place to stay on her restaurant's floor.
How could we say no? We couldn't.
And we can't say thank you enough.
Tonight's beer, a Corona, is dedicated to Carmen, who opened this restaurant at the age of 26 (a good age if I do say so myself). I don't name the restaurant because they'd like to avoid a flood of hiker's seeking shelter.