The PCT isn’t just a trail, it’s a complex community.
An integral part of the journey is the Trail Angels.
Trail Angels are people who help PCT hikers. They do anything from dropping off water along the way, opening up their homes for a place for people to stay, giving people rides places and feeding them. Most Trail Angels have donation jars to help with the costs of feeding or housing hikers.
Laina tells the story of “Ziggy and the Bear,” a couple who has built their life around being Trail Angels.
“They seriously bought a house on the side of the PCT so that they can be Trail Angels,” she said.
Their house has been set up for hikers. The back yard is carpeted, they have an outdoor shower, couches outside and sinks for hikers to wash their clothes in.
They give hikers ice cream and salad, the two things they expect hikers to miss most.
“They must just have so much ice cream, because I’ve never eaten so much ice cream in my life, they had like five different choices. I can’t even describe how much ice cream it was.”
On top of that, they give hikers foot-baths.
Trail Angels aren’t necessarily people who have hiked the PCT, usually just people who have helped a hiker at some point in their life an decide the want to keep doing it, Laina said.
“They just welcome you in, even though hikers are like the worst house guest ever. You arrive at someone’s house, you’re super filthy, you take a shower, eat their food and go to sleep,” Laina said, speaking about the second Trail Angels they stayed with, Papa Smerf and Mountain Mama.
They encourage you to wash all of your clothes and give you pajamas to wear in the meantime.
“So I’m wearing these random pajamas and the guy is like making me waffles while I’m this stranger sitting in his kitchen drinking orange juice.”
It was hard to understand how someone could be so welcoming.
“I’ve never had an experience like that before — where the person was so kind it was throwing me off.”