I’m really enjoying this part of the trail. I think it’s my favorite so far. The mountains are beautiful, the trail isn’t too steep or rocky, and for several days I saw very few people.
Until yesterday. Last Sunday (the short day when I left from I5) I hiked 6 miles and saw only one other hiker until three others showed up and camped right next to me. Monday I did 15 miles and saw about 6 people. Tuesday I did another 15 and saw another 6 hikers. Wednesday I did 16 miles and saw four hikers, including CatWater, who gave me a ride to the trail back in Mammoth. Thursday I did another 16 and only saw three other people, one of whom I met back in Yosemite (Lady’s Man). That was a very good day! Yesterday I did eight miles to the highway and saw 26 hikers!! They were definitely not all PCT hikers, but still.
Since before I left, the plan has been for my friend Chris to pick me up at Hwy 93 and take me to Cecilville for a day of disc golf at this cool course there. He said there’s not much there but a bar and a disc golf course, and I said, “sounds good to me!” The only problem is he can’t get off work until Sunday and I will be there on Friday. He gave me his friend’s number in case I needed a ride and I told him to bring me a sleeping bag from home.
It’s a small world out here. My friend Steve runs an organic farm and has started a business making backpacking food (Featherweight Foods) which I really love, especially the burritos. I had him mail me ten burritos to Ashland, but wasn’t able to pay him from the trail. He’s heading out to hike the JMT soon so we figured we’d just settle up when we get back home. But he read my blog and said his friend would be in Cecilville on Friday so I was hoping to get to the bar in time to meet him so he could take money to Steve before he left.
My contact in Cecilville is a guy named Monkey (yes, that’s a trail name, AT I think). But I’ve never met the guy and I didn’t want our first contact to be “Hi, you don’t know me, but I need a ride from the trailhead”, so I thought I’d hitch into town. I got to the Hwy at two.
I thought I’d try it for two hours before I called for help. But there’s not a lot of traffic on Hwy 93. About two cars per hour. At four I called and introduced myself and Monkey said he’d pick me up but not until after he closed the bar at six. He told me to try to hitch and call him at six if I still needed a ride. Between four and six only one car passed and they were clearly full. I almost lay down in the road and took a nap on the warm pavement, which I guess I could have.
About five minutes before six I got a ride from a local couple. That’s when I found out the rumor is true, there really is only a bar and a disc golf course. No store, no laundry, no lodging. I have enough food, but I was wondering if I was going to have to stealth camp in the bushes on the outskirts of town, and what I really needed was tobacco.
But I got to the Salmon River Saloon around 6:30 and Monkey was still closing up. No sign of Steve’s friend, but I was quickly given a cold beer and a pack of smokes. And there is camping here and he will feed me. The grounds are beautiful and I am camping on the tee box for Hole 5.
I went from a state of extreme worry to something like euphoria. I can’t believe my luck and how good it is to have friends of friends who are so cool. Monkey and I hit it off right away and had a great time as I followed him around on his evening chores.
It’s Open Range here, so there is a herd of horses that come and go. I’ve never slept among a herd of semi-wild horses before. Everything was perfect until I took my shoes and socks off to go to bed. My toe had been hurting a little all day and feeling kind of thick. When I actually saw it, I was upset to see it looking swollen and kind of black and blue. Not good. I guess I’m not quite healed yet. I sure hope it looks better tomorrow. The closest doctor is probably back home in Arcata. Chris could take me there on Monday, but that’s really not a game I care to play. Hopefully, two days of rest will do the trick.