11.5 miles hiked
I have to hike rest of hill which is just your usual morning slog. As I’m about at the final summit I check Guthook because I saw something about a cache? Where would that even be? I look up- whoa, there is epic trail magic from local Robert, water, fruit, fresh coffee, chairs. He’s been maintaining this for a few years, he said he doesn’t want this too publicized because he doesn’t want people to depend on the source, but he figured since people were showing up at his house pretty much out of their minds with dehydration (he mentions one guy who started walking down the side of the mountain since he was “sure” there was water at the bottom) he started keeping something set up for hikers so he didn’t have to keep driving them to the hospital or ringing rescue. He says there used to be a lot more shade but like in so many areas we’ve seen along the trail, there was a fire and lots of trees are now dead. Kinda a drag- I never minded the Green Tunnel of the AT in the first place, I am really wanting some significant canopy cover even just for a change. Any forests we’ve seen so far are all conifer-dominant anyways.
I leave after everyone but catch up to Bang Bang and Deeds (or is it Dietz? I’m not really sure) For sure it is the worst wind yet. We are having such a hard time walking, there’s another wind farm of course. This time there is no choice but just to push through, I take off my ball cap and replace it with my fleece hat to protect my head from the wind. We do 9.5 miles in less than 3 hrs! Get us off there arrrrrgh!
At the bottom Coppertone and Legend, two legendary (har har) trail angels are set up. Apparently everyone else has met them a bunch of times but I guess I missed them. Sorta like on the AT where I never met people like Miss Janet or Baltimore Jack (RIP, tho he was still alive when I started). There is a girl named For Sure that I offered a hotel room to, but she seems not for sure. I keep asking her to decide because there is one space left in Legend’s car, and I want to get out of there. She finally says yes and we head over to the road to hitch. It takes a while, but finally we do get a ride.
The Holiday Inn is kinda far from the center, but I will get a ton of points with a promotion they are running. I want the points for post-trail life, I had enough last year to crash somewhere for two and a half weeks once I finished. It’s a little expensive though and I think this is the last time I’m springing for something like this. I feel bad though since it seems For Sure is annoyed how far it is. Sorry! More sorry comes when they won’t let us check in early. Well, it’s fair, but I’ve never in probably the 50-60 stays I’ve had with them in recent years not been able to check in early (in this case, around noon). We hitch back into town, getting a ride with a guy who is just back from his cabin in the Sierras; he’s got an ice axe and everything in the back. He takes us on a tour of town telling us where all the great places to eat are but I have to keep telling him really we just want to go to the place where the grocery stores and Chinese buffet are. “It’s not the best, it’s just ok,” he says. “Um, kinda more concerned with quantity rather than quality, we are thru hikers” I tell him. I guess sometimes hard for people to understand, I definitely note his suggestions though for after hiker hunger subsides.
For Sure ends up not being hungry and says she’ll meet me at the buffet. I eat, it is definitely the best Chinese buffet I’ve ever been to; there’s prawns and green-lipped mussels for lawd’s sake! I get huge plates with lots of garlic string beans and broccoli from the beef/broccoli; I am really craving veggies this thru. Finally I go to the grocery to see if I can track down For Sure, maybe she didn’t understand to meet? I find her and there is another guy also confused how to get back. I say let’s try dial-a-ride- we call and the guy says he can pick us up in 4 minutes. Whoa! Wait, is there time for me to get groceries? I run in the store, grab some limon pepino gatorade, raspberries, a peach, a nectarine, and epsom salts. The bus is just arriving when I come out, yay!
For Sure goes out somewhere she says she’s going to let me know where everyone is. I take epsom salt bath #1 and fall asleep for a while. When I finish I have no idea where For Sure is, so I go across to see what the convenience store has. The Subway store is closed- shall I actually try Denny’s? Eh, why not.
Denny’s is actually super good. I don’t think I’ve been to one in 15-20 years but this one has like a billion GF options and the food is pretty fresh. I get an awesome avocado bacon burger on a gluten free English muffin with a bunch of veggies on the side. Thus full, I head back to the hotel and pass out again.