My mom is meeting me at trailheads and road crossings this week, which means I can carry a lighter pack and sleep in civilization more often. Last night we stayed at a motel in Palmdale, and tonight I was able to reach a KOA Campground via a stark, 25-mile stretch of burned-over trail charred by the disastrous Station Fire a couple summers ago.
Backpacking without carrying a fully-loaded pack, partly supported by outside help, is called “slackpacking,” and most long-distance hikers jump at any chance. It’s not often that someone volunteers to literally take weight off your back, and I’m grateful to my mom for the support this week. When we walked into the KOA oasis together this evening in pristine low-angled sunlight, after flushing a Great Horned Owl around the last bend (closely pursued by a Hooded Oriole), thinking of SPAM and chili for dinner, I really couldn’t have been much happier.