Day 24

10.2 miles hiked +.3 from KOA

454.5 miles total

Well, a big mile marker today- today I will arrive at Hiker Heaven, a sorta hostel place that is the home of a couple named the Saufleys who have transformed their backyard into some sort of thru hiker paradise.  First a quick 10 miles through some pretty exposed area.  Some of the other girls leave at 5, I don’t manage it until closer to 6.  I look down at the hibachi table as I’m leaving; there’s a huge pile of Bud Lights.  #fukyeahmerika

The trail passes through a super sketchy area by railroad tracks.  Wanna refill from the river here?  Yeah, right.  I have to put my umbrella up to block the sun really early, around 7am.  Usually it’s not until 9 or 10, but there is just no shade here.  And it’s heating up!  Definitely don’t want to dilly dally.  I’m making ok time, even pass someone, though Daydreamer and one or two others pass.  Right before I get to the highway tunnel underpass I see a lizard in the trail.  Now, we see about eleventy billion lizards on the trail on a daily basis, but this one is different.  They usually skitter off with the approach of a hiker, but this one is bloody defiant.  I mean literally.  It is definitely dripping blood at the mouth.  Some poor beetle must have met its demise.  I slam my poles down and it doesn’t move.  Guess I’m going over.

In the tunnel I say hi to two dayhikers going the other way, then sit down with Daydreamer and some others taking a break.  Some of these guys night hiked, did some massive miles already.  I finish my Chinese food while they hike off.  I’m getting better at accepting where I’m at.  Sounds like some new age yoga mom bullshit, but it’s healthy for me.  Definitely spent way too long on the Westside but what can you do.

It turns out that one walks right into the town of Agua Dulce.  I sit down at the local cafe with other hikers who are just about to order breakfast.  I don’t like breakfast foods and order a salad instead.  I’ve gone through different cravings on the trail and lately it’s been for vegetables.  We banter with the waiter who is really quite funny.  The other hikers show good form in immediately ordering lunch after finishing breakfast.  Really a funny crew; I like hanging with them.  I decide to take advantage of a lift over to the house instead of another meal immediately, however.

It’s super duper organized!  There’s a bunch of different geodesic tents set up for different activities: internet/charging, clothes repair and shipping, clothes and towels for showering.  Hikers are spread out all over the backyard that also has chickens and dogs ranging around; there’s also a trailer with a kitchen an tv/Netflix setup.  There’s a computer in the garage to ship parcels.  A volunteer former thru hiker named Puppy gives rides to town every few hours.  Basically?  Everything a hiker could possibly need.

I plug in my devices to charge, take a shower, change into borrowed town clothes.  I take the 3pm shuttle back to town to figure out resupply since my box was lost in Acton.  The store is out of so much, no tuna packets at all!  I don’t know what to do; I buy some things and plan to raid the hiker box for the rest.  I can’t decide what to do, should I eat grocery food or not for dinner?  Someone walks out with a rotisserie chicken and The Kid and I learn from a worker at the store it was the last one.  I go back to the restaurant, eat a burger.  This time it’s not overrun with hikers, I hang out with the waiter who stays a good 40 minutes after his shift ends to hang out and a waitress.  The waiter is super cool; what’s he doing in a little town like this?  Actually he wants to move to Canada: Canmore, specifically.  I played a gig there years ago when I was a fellow at the Banff institute.  He’s actually never been there, but I give him my impressions.   Also notice his ring- he and his wife are originally from the area.  Aaaaand, #endcrush.

I go back to the house and head to the TV trailer where I can charge and write my blog at the same time.  But they’ve got a movie on, War Dogs, and it’s freaking fantastic.  I put the blogging aside to concentrate but 007 sits down and starts asking twenty questions about my world travels.  I want to talk to her but I really want to focus on the movie now, I have to ask a couple times if we can talk later.  The movie ends, someone puts on Goodburger but leaves, I eat about 4 bowls of discounted/slightly expired Rice Chex with almond milk I got from the grocery store, get back to blogging.  007 comes back and puts another good/complicated movie on, Babel.  I have to focus on the various subplots and again have to ask her to stop asking a zillion questions, I feel bad but sorry?  She’s seen it a bunch of times already.  Apparently the movie is a chick flick because all the guys leave and at one point there are 6 girls on the sofas, WTH.  An older dude comes in and chastises us, “I came out here to get away from all this stuff!”  Whatever, dude, HYOH.  I haven’t had consistent internet in a long time, and never (as an adult) a TV, and movies are just as cultural for me as the people I meet; I so rarely watch them in real life.  The movie finishes and I’m quickly to bed on a cowboy camp.  For some reason everyone is clustered together but I’m alone by a big tree- it’s easy to sleep!


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