17 miles. PCT mile 1498.7, 7-5-17
We had 17 miles to go to get to the freeway to Mt Shasta City. We had heard some mixed reviews of the town. Some claimed they were unfriendly. Sarah had to get some new kicks though and the only gear store in the area was there. Half of the way there was straight up hill and the rest was straight downhill. To distract ourselves from the pain of the climb we listened to some music on the iPhone. Sarah discovered that the song Gloria, despite its upbeat rythm was quite dark. “Man this bitch Gloria got problems…” she mused. We also discussed Talking in Your Sleep and decided whoever wrote it had some personal space issues and shouldn’t put too much stock in what an unconscious person babbles when in R.E.M. Sarah talks in her sleep all the time. Loving me rarely comes up. Mostly she is just annoyed with some situation, “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me!” She will shout. Then punch me several times before I wake up. See? Nothing to read into there. My favorite is when she once shot bolt upright and said good evening loudly. “Good evening honey” I replied. “Not you” she said with a mild air of irritation and swept her arm slowly around the dark empty bedroom. “I’m addressing the audience.” She then collapsed and snored softly.
As we filtered some water near the top of the climb, a butterfly lit on my head and basically refused to leave. It was probably due to the way I smelled. Not one day ago we saw a group of butterflies snacking on a bear turd. There’s something you don’t see on an inspirational placard adorned with butterflies in Sarah’s sisters bedroom: butterflies eat shit. It’s true. We actually made better time going up the hill than down it. Sarah’s feet started in again on the descent. Hopefully some new, larger shoes will fix the issue.
We had a great bit of luck at the highway. As soon as we stepped off the trail, we saw a car parked at the trailhead and the driver asked if we needed a ride. He was in town visiting friends and had actually hiked the pct last year. As he dropped us off at our hotel he said that we should really appreciate the time we had on the trail. “Believe me”he said “when its over, you will miss it.” I will have to remind myself of that. When I had made the reservation for this hotel I got the feeling they were not too hiker friendly. We had hoped to get centrally located lodging with a pool or jacuzzi. We ended up with a motel half a mile out of town without even a bathtub. A face to face with the owner confirmed my intuition. She asked several times if it was just the two of us and reiterated that the two bed room was only for two people. After paying for the room and taking the key she asked once more “no friends are coming to visit?” “No” I said. Sarah took all the pillows from both beds to elevate her legs and rest. I headed into town to do laundry and get dinner for us.
I quickly became aware of why the town had a reputation of not treating hikers well. There were a lot of twenty something hippyish homeless kids about and it would be easy to confuse one for the other. While I was waiting for the wash, I popped over to the local coffee shop to get a latte and use the WiFi. As I was perusing Facebook, I heard a raspy voice talking , but did not look up. “Garble Garble have a night?” the voice seemed to ask someone. There was no response and I became peripherally aware I was being stared at. “I’m sorry” I said, looking up from my phone “What did you say?” “DO YOU HAVE A LIGHT!!!?” the homeless man yelled in my face, eyes bulging. “No. I don’t ” I lied and looked back at my phone, considering the matter resolved. “Garble your a backpacker. Garble your feet don’t show it.” He wasn’t done with the conversation it seemed. I thanked him for the compliment, looking down at my flip flops. That wasn’t were he was going with it though. He retreated to the door, keeping eye contact with me and backing around the other tables full of customers. “Your a PHONY!!!!” He screamed. “Garble where you were! Where were you!!!? Huh!!?” He yelled, continuing his retreat. Everyone in the full cafe kept their heads down. In these situations you can be surrounded by people, but are on your own. “You should probably spend more time worrying about your own life.” I suggested as he exited the shoppe. That’s some good advice, but I doubt he considered it seriously. I stared at my feet self consciously after he left. He was right. My feet looked pretty damn good. Quite the town!