Mile reached: 478.2 (+23.8)
High: A delicious dinner cooked for us by a trail angel enjoyed with friends
Low: My shoes might be wearing out 200 miles before I intended to replace them.
The first ride into town was at 7 am, but I kept walking up to check the time for at least an hour before. Eventually, my alarm rang and I was packed up and at the gate ready to go. Marc also came over indicating that he was heading out today. Somewhat excitedly he informed me that he now had a trail name. Apparently, he figured out how to attach a Sawyer Squeeze water filter to the spigot at a ranger station. The water pressure eliminated the need for squeezing and just produced clean water, so the onlooking hikers dubbed him “Poseidon”.
Once the volunteers showed up, we got a ride to town and saw the local breakfast joint was open. So, “Poseidon” and I got something to eat before hitting the trail. There’s nothing like eating eggs benedict before cranking out some miles!
The first couple miles were actually pretty bad. It was all a road walk out the north end of town, which was only redeemed by how overcast and cool the weather was. However, smaller county roads soon gave way to dirt access roads and finally to trail. The desert also faded back into chaparral and the occasional field of grass. The north sides of the mountains even sheltered pockets of poison oak.
Hiking for the day ended at a road where I could hitch to trail angel’s home, Casa de Luba, for the night. This hitch actually turned out to be more difficult than expected even with an older Israeli woman accompanying me. After about 20 minutes of trying, a truck stopped for us and we shared the cab with two high energy huskies for a mile and a half to the nearby town. A few minutes walk brought me to the front yard of Casa de Luna.
Casa de Luna was the polar opposite of Hiker Heaven. In place of organization there was chaos. Rather than have rules there were merely guidelines, of which the first was to hug Teri. Upon arriving, I was quickly greeted by “Rainman” and “Mustang”, who gave me the rundown. I grabbed my ratty Hawaiian shirt and wanted off into the magical manzanita forest to toss down my pack.
We all spent the evening resting in various awkward positions on dilapidated furniture and patio chairs. Around seven, Teri announced dinner was ready, and we voraciously consumed build your own taco salad. Several of us were smacked with a stick for violating her instruction to not hold our plates over the food. Teri actually hit me so hard that she apologized. After eating and drinking leftover box wine, most of us retreated to the manzanita forest to go to sleep in order to wake up early the next day.