Today is going to be the town day I have been waiting for. On the agenda: Eat Things, Laundry, Coffee, Watch a Movie in The Good Ol’ American Fashion, Drink a Beer, Order Gear, and Epsom Salt Bath!
I am very excited about these things and after a decent but gluteny breakfast at the Holiday Inn I set off to take care of business. The laundry is broken, of course. This Holiday Inn is really not the best, hey. The lady at the desk gives me directions to a laundry that’s right near the movie theater, so that’s good at least.
It takes me a little while to get a hitch on a Sunday morning, it’s very low traffic and I have to walk a quarter mile near the Home Depot until I get a hitch. The guy in the pickup truck has no idea what the PCT is. Hmmm. He thinks it’s wierd that I asked for a hitch of only 1 mile but, hey! It is cold AF today. Why is the desert so cold and windy? Today was a high in the 60s and winds up to 50-odd miles an hour. Probably a wind chill then in the 40s or lower? Why.
I head over to the laundry and then realize that 1. I have no quarters 2. I have no cash. I try to use my credit card I brought with me (I neglected to bring my “purse” aka cuben sack for whatever reason) to get cash from an ATM. Nope. Where can I get some cash. Hikers! And hikers can be found, quite obviously, at the German bakery it seems every single person in town reccommends to go to. I go in, there are about 10 hikers sitting at a table. Yup. I get $1 from 4 people and I’m good to go. I go back to the laundry, put my stuff in, it’s a brand new laundry and super nice, and they even have the fragrance free laundry detergent I prefer. Sweet. Back to bakery, order coffee, some cookies for the people who gave me money, and this thing called a bierock which is really not super-German seeming to me? I look it up on wikipedia, apparently they are from Volga Germans aka people who used to live in Central Asia near the ‘stans. A ha! I knew this thing seemed like it came from out East somewhere. It’s super good though, a meat-onion-and-garlic-filled roll. I head back to laundry, put my stuff in the dryer, and head across the way to the Thai place (Thai Hachapi- get it? Get it??) that everyone has been talking about. It’s good! And actual real Thai food this time, although all the lunch specials are Chinese-American food? Whatevs, pay $1 more for real Thai food. I join two hikers and they let me have some of the extra Tom Kha Gai they ordered, it’s so spicy I start coughing. Why can I eat any level of spicy in Thailand but am a wuss in the US? One of the great mysteries of life. I guess it’s the climate differential.
I do these hikes first and foremost as a cultural thing. I like hiking and sleeping outdoors and nomading but I really am interested in all the wackos I meet along the way. Who are these people who live in rural America in this day and age? I lived in California for almost 5 years, I know almost nothing about it. So quite obviously it’s important for me to take part in important cultural activities such as Going To A Movie, something I almost never do in real life. It’s only $6 here which is just obscenely inexpensive to me. I want to go the whole hog and buy popcorn and a soda but they are actually kinda expensive and I just sorta ate a huge plate of Pad Kee Mao, plus the soup, plus 2nd breakfast of bierock in addition to actual breakfast. All right, I guess I’m good for a couple hours. The movie, Wonder Woman, is just super pleasurable. Not profound, but enjoyable. I guess this is my thing now? The last movie I saw in a theater was also under super wierd circumstances- Deadpool, in a fancy shopping mall in Medan, Indonesia (we all were in nice dresses, and they in makeup/heels), with my friend from LA Shui Lan and her rich Chinese-Indonesian friends. I also super enjoyed both the movie and circumstances in that instance as well. The movie is so good the audience claps after. Love it.
I head back to the bakery because I don’t know what else to do, maybe I’ll meet some other hikers. There’s only this German dude who acts like he knows everything. He also thru’d the AT previously, he’s one of those who assumes he has the lightest pack but he’s wrong because I do WHAAAAAAT. Just kidding. But my pack is a whole 1.5lb less, and he seems annoyed by this. Hahaha. This reminds me that I need to get back and order some replacement gear so I head off and after a bit get a ride from two guys, once again, in a pickup. “We knew you were a hiker,” they say. “I’ve got the uniform, right?” I say. “Yup- puffy, leggings, and trail runners.” They sorta invite me over to their hot tub but I decline because I’ve better things in mind. I have a convenience store beer (that I end up drinking only 20% of, I seem to not want alcohol much at all these days), couple things of fresh fruit, another bierock, and 2 chocolate espresso cookies waiting for me. I eat these things as the bath fills up and it’s time for Epsom Salt! I love this stuff so much. I order gear on my phone while I’m there- new trail runners, a “new” merino dress (mine has holes and patches in it, it’s on its last legs), microspikes, OPSak odor proof bags (I saturated my last odor-proof bags with olive and pepperoni oil, it’s long gone), some fancy salve to prevent macerated feet from the water and snow I will soon be going through, and most excitedly, a cuben poncho that doubles as a bathtub groundsheet. I’ve been using a cut up plastic drop cloth bought from the dollar store in the desert- it is fine, but it has a million holes in it and I want something nicer if I’m going to potentially have to camp on snow or wet ground. I also don’t have a rain jacket, Frogg Toggs were okay but not amaze, real ultralight rain jackets cost the same as this thing. I’m back under 7lbs base yay! I also read messages from a guy from Reddit I’ve been in touch with about conditions in Northern CA. He started out from Truckee like I want to do, he made it north but there was a lot of snow, about 20 miles of covered trail with no sign of trail or markers, he’s skipped a section and in Belden not sure what to do as there’s another storm predicted. What to do what to do what to do. What is fear mongering and what is being smart and what is knowing your comfort levels and what is being lazy. I don’t have a team, I don’t think I should go through Sierras, but there’s no question that at least at this point, the Southern Sierras are definitely passable. It’s what’s closer to Mammoth that’s a mess. Ugh. Forget it.
The other girl comes back to the room, she’s gone shopping. I sort of am annoyed that she never offered even to buy me a beer or coffee for the room. I guess that’s again dealing with expectations but it’s bad ettiquette? Get over yourself, if you didn’t want to share you should have not offered it. It’s interesting, I am still seeing various programs I run this year, but it seems like it’s smaller things. I’m less worked up by stuff this year, last year the “not good enough” thing was so overpowering I was stressed so much of the time. I definitely feel more grounded.
Well, I’m on the phone forever deciding last things, it becomes almost midnight and definitely time for bed! I am super reluctant to leave town, perhaps I will leave late in the afternoon tomorrow. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ No rush to Kennedy Meadows!