Day 33/34: Hiker Heaven and miscellanea

Mile 458.0

First things first: Thank you so much to AT Trail Angels Beth and Bernie and to my friends in Lansdale for the care packages! Oh, mygod! Fabulous cookies, and jerky and bars and freeze-dried fruit, and cards and notes! You guys made my day! And I shared with hikers at Hiker Heaven, so you made their day, too! THANK YOU! (And thank you to my brother John for sending me my first fresh pair of shoes! Yay!)

The other news, less chipper, is that I’ve been ill. (Hence no journal yesterday.) I have some kind of intestinal issue going on, and yesterday I was completely wiped out. I fell asleep at around 3, then was up all night because of the raucus party at Hiker Heaven (which was super loud even with my earplugs in). Then this morning I sluggishly got my stuff together and made it to the trail, did a couple of miles that were painful on my belly with the heavy food carry and 5 liters of water, and called it a half-day. I’m currently stealth camped, not visible from the trail (I don’t think)–mostly because I don’t want to hear the commentary when hikers see a tent at only … whatever it is. Two o’clock. I didn’t really have time to check my maps or get my ducks in a row, and I need a lot of solid hours of sleep.

This is just a bug, I’m pretty sure–or a reaction to the ibuprofen. There’s the off chance that it could be something worse, like Giardia, but there are plenty of horses to look at before I start looking for zebras. I got real food in my resupply, I stopped the vitamin I, and I didn’t have any coffee this morning. And I got out of the hiker vortex ASAP. It’s hard enough to go 6 months in the regular world without catching some sort of cold or bug. It’s geometrically harder out here, where things are indescribably filthy with dirt, poop of all kinds, and so on, and the body is worn to a frazzle from the constant work, and nutrition is limited.

I wouldn’t be able to sit in a tent in the desert at 2 if the temperature weren’t reasonably low (for the desert). Also, my umbrella is inside the tent, partially set up to give me some shade. Two-person tent!

So… yesterday. I don’t remember a thing about it. Oh! Except the trail going into Agua Dulce was easy, easy, easy. Even under fhe weather, i managed 3 mph. Indra said Oregon is just like that, so that should help with my 600-mile deficit.

The last part of the trail was on a nature path through something called Vasquez Rocks. It was gorgeous–sandstone canyons. Apparently there was a settlement up in fhere, and there are petroglyphs. (Is that the right word?) I would have loved to see that!

On the way down I met a hiker named Geo, a rock guy, and we hiked the last couple of miles then had lunch before grabbing the shuttle to Hiker Heaven. He knew rocks and plants and we had a great conversation. His great-grandmother was a voodoo witch in New Orleans, but a devout Catholic. He said it’s like that down there.

Hikers had said that there was a shuttle to Hiker Heaven in front of the pizza place–and there was! A pickup truck. A bunch of us rode in the back.

Hiker Heaven. Jeez. Th Sauffleys own a couple of acres a mile from town (town being the grocery, pizza place, and combination cafe/hardware store). For no recompense except donations, they open the whole shebang to hikers. It was like a music festival.

Tents everywhere! Portapotties that were full to the brim! (They were sucked this morning!)

There were showers (I didn’t bother), laundry (did mine at the KOA), wifi, mailing in and out (I shipped a box to Kennedy Meadows and got my care packages), computers, sodas, haircuts if yiu wanted one, a guest house with a full kitchen and movies, and a dozen other amenities. And hikers! There weren’t 91, but almost everybody I knew was there, including Neema, Indra, the couple from Philly I hadn’t seen since the thunderhail, Medicine Man, and Rolf–now, due to “a long story,” T.W. Horsewater (Trojan Warhorse Horsewater). Plus there were a ton of people who said, “Hi, Karma!” whose names I didn’t remember because I’m old and blind. šŸ™‚

I got the tent set up and grabbed my pack and walked down to the grocery store to resupply. Or rather, I got partway there when a pickup with a load of hikers pulled over and asked if I wanted a ride. As far as I can tell, on weekends the locals drive around and give rides to hikers. It’s kind of amazing!

By the time I was halfway through shopping, I was starting to feel really ill. Hot, thirsty, stomachy, gassy, and I really couldn’t concentrate. I put together what I could (about 14 days’ food for the two legs). The pack was heavy. I didn’t know how I was going to carry it a mile and a half.

But a local guy saw me and asked if I wanted a ride! YES! I replied! Then he pointed to his car–a piece of a John Deere tractor that was like a golf cart and must have been 50 years old. “It’s not legal,” he said, “but it works for me.” He drove it on the shoulder. No mirrors. Every time he hit a bump, I was sure I was going to go sailing out or the thing would tip over. We picked up two other hikers, who sat in the little flatbed, then we were back at Hiker Heaven.

Where I went immediately to bed. I couldn’t even eat the Greek yogurt I bought–it just sat in my tent and I dumped it this morning. I had to get up to use the overflowing portapotties at least ten times. “What’s going to happn there if they don’t empty them?” I wondered. Then, later,’when the big party started up on the porch and the whiskey started flying, I wondered what would happen with the portapotties when people started to throw up.

The party was loud, even for Hiker Heaven, apparently. A guy near me just packed up and hiked out in the middle of the night. This wasn’t a hiker midnight kind of party. They went at it hard–althoughbmost of the hikers seemed to have refired early.

This morning there were some pained, pale faces among the hikers.

And here I am. I accidentally yellow-blazed three miles when I asked for a ride to the trailhead. I forgot that part of the trail was a 3-mile roadwalk. I’m just not used to thinking that way! Anyway, as crappy as I felt, and carrying 6 days of food and 5 liters of water, it was fortuitous. That roadwalk would have been hard.

There’s another detour coming up–or two, maybe.

Eek! A hiker just found me! He made a weird little noise and left. He was probably looking for a place to use the facilities. Speaking of which…


Rolf/T. W. Horsewater:


Donna Saufley:


5 thoughts on “Day 33/34: Hiker Heaven and miscellanea

  1. ewwww sick! Hate that for you…. aren’t ya glad ya don’t wake up hung over? Damn hippies and their rock music. On the other hand I am so jealous of those people who live on the trail and hang out with hikers….that’s my dream. Heal up and hike on.


  2. You just keep on going… Energizer Karma. I picture you with a big drum and lambs wool covered mallets – just keeping on going.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s