12.3 miles hiked
I set my alarm for 4am. It goes off. Mwaaaahaha, like I’m getting up. Sorta toss/turn nervously with that early morning cold nausea feeling. I pull my hat down over my eyes and snooze. I think just one hiker passes.
I get up way too late at 6, cram my stuff in my bag, and eat a protein bar as I walk. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to be an oppressively hot day, but I want to make the most of the cool morning time. For whatever reason I’m slow though; I keep stopping; at one point I dump out almost everything in order to find and then replace my phone battery (which I later realize was NOT actually dead, the brightness was just dimmed). It’s 9am before I get to the halfway point, a nice bench next to a sign showing winners of the Leona Divide 50k ultra race. Next to this sign is a horrific amount of flies, I mean, like, eleventy billion. There have been flies off and on all morning, but nothing like this. I eat my snack with a nervous eye to my right as the cloud inches closer ever so slowly.
I manage the next 6 miles in a bit over 2 hours. I guess a bit more energy between the snack, fly avoidance, looming nearness of town, and ever-warming sun.
I wait approximately one minute for a hitch. A truck pulls up. The driver knows where Green Valley is, asks if I’m going to the Andersons’. He knows all about the PCT because his son did it last year. In fact, his son apparently holds the single day record for the PCT – 62 miles – achieved in Oregon last year. Wow. Well, hopefully that bodes well for Quickstart’s and my goal of doing Oregon in 2 weeks.
I arrive at the Andersons’. This place can best be described as the complete opposite of Hiker Heaven. There’s a dirty futon on a shipping pallet in the driveway, under some sort of shade awning, with some random old couches and plastic chairs everywhere. 4 porta-potties greet you at the entrance (they are mostly full yum), along with coolers for yer beers. On one side is a table for food types and a charging station, along with a stove/oven unit that is hooked up (yes, outside, next to the driveway). Country Gold is a volunteer, he gives me the entry tour. Pretty chill guy with an amazing Southern accent and some of the skinniest legs I’ve ever seen. Really amazing attitude, he helped out before at Hiker Heaven and this year when thru-hiking he got to Casa de Luna, saw they needed help, and stuck around. “I just saw they needed some he-elp,” he says, “Y’all know this will always come back to you when you least expect it.” Right on.
I plop myself down on a couch, soon enough there are impromptu hot dogs with ALL the fixin’s. Amazing! I take a shower, there’s not really much in the way of soap (I manage with an almost-empty bottle of facial scrub I find) but it’s super refreshing after a hike. Reroute is there along with a bunch of other hikers I never met before. We immediately start talking humously about a bunch of necessary subjects like the undead, you know, just typical hiker banter. I’ve been even more solitary this year than on the AT, though not on purpose? Just seem not to run into people all that often for very long. It’s a good time. One guy, Gandhi, says I am an unbelievably intelligent talented woman. This is super awkward because I don’t even know this guy and is he buttering me up? I have a wierd vibe from him, he says he’s broken fasts with beer before. Speaking of beer he wants one of the good ones I got from the store (sorry guys, if I’m gonna F up my intestines, it’s going to be with something better than Coors’). I say ok if he can throw me a buck or two. Sure. Later he takes another and doesn’t give me any money, and in the morning I find my last beer I was keeping cool for the next day was gone. What was that about giving again? I guess I need to be more generous, not expecting anything in return. And maybe keeping my spare beers sequestered away if I really didn’t want anyone to take them.
We are all hanging out and gearing up for Taco Salad. I am so excited because Tacos and Salad are both two of my on-trail craves. Sadly, Taco Salad is the least salad-like salad I have ever seen. Your vegetable choices include canned tomatoes, olives, chopped onions, and some shredded cabbage. I imagine that wierdo Spoon Boy from the Matrix saying “There is no salad….” Oh well. Quantity over quality folks, and! it’s still pretty awesome. Terri, the owner, stands by with a huge piece of wood, slapping people if they have their plate over the fixin’s. She apparently is not afraid to use it. We all hang and drink beers and then eventually it’s time for bed in the manzanita forest of our dreams. Just the best campsites so far on the whole trail- this forest goes behind the house for miles apparently. I pick a little alcove near the front and crash.