A few days ago, when Catra was still in Bigbear, I decided that I’d go meet her somewhere along the route.Â So I figured the best location would’ve been somewhere along the Angeles Crest Highway — it’s relatively easy to access by car, and also because I was familiar with that section since it’s part of the AC100.Â Initially, her ETA was for Monday (yesterday), but on Saturday, she called and said she’d be at Islip Saddle on Sunday afternoon around 4pm.Â So my plan was to head out to the Holcomb Valley race, have her friends sign the card I got her, then meet her at the trailhead when she got done with the day.
I arrived in BigBear Saturday afternoon, and planned to have dinner with Carmella and her entourage at Maggio’s in the Vons plaza — ended up bumping into George, which upped her groupie count to exactly a dozen, filling up about a quarter of the restaurant.Â After stopping at the grocery store to get supplies for Catra, I headed back with George since he offered me his couch, which prevented me from having to sleep in my car.
We got to the start just after 6, and the bottom lots were already full, so we parked along the road.Â It was cold — about 40, but would very quickly warm up to the 80’s.Â Our group (happened to be mostly from OC) — Kyle, Robert Baird, Jess, Miki, and Pam all headed out to the first aid station, where we managed to catch the mid-packers come through, then we headed out to the 20 mile aid station along the road, where we stayed until we went to the finish to see the winners come in.Â I managed to see Jorge, Dean, and Josh come in, but had to leave before I saw anyone else.
I left at noon to meet Catra, and she called me around 1pm saying that she was just starting to make the climb up out of Vincent Gap, and her estimated arrival would still be around 4 (she called again later saying it would be closer to 6).Â I got to Islip around 3:45 — took almost 4 hours to drive from Holcomb Valley.Â I wasn’t planning on doing any running/hiking, but decided to go and meet her on the trail since I had time.Â Just after getting some water at Little Jimmy’s, I saw her!Â We hiked together (appx 2 miles) back to my car where she filled up with water and pink lemonade.Â She was planning on stopping there and to camp out for the night, but was a little freaked out by this weird guy who was hanging out at the parking lot.Â So I told her about this clearing I knew a little ways back up beyond the first switchbacks, and went there instead.Â After she setup, I said goodbye and left.
Catra was in excellent shape — no feet or any other issues that normally are starting to affect hikers at that point.Â She was also in good spirits — her only negative comment being that she got lonely occasionally, since she’s been hiking by herself most of the time.Â She is still on pace to break the women’s record, but will not get the overall one this time.Â She was excited to get to Agua Dulce (tomorrow?), where she’ll be able to get to her next drop, get cleaned up, and meet another hiker to go through the desert with.Â Because of the heat, she was saying they’ll do that section mostly during the night.
I have no doubt in my mind that she’ll be making it to Canada…it’s just a matter of when.