Muk Muk texted me in the middle of the night from a few rooms away, not knowing that I was also at the Nature’s Inn (a lot of hikers stayed at the hostel on the other side of town). I was glad they decided to stay here! She had hiked 31 miles yesterday to keep up with UB and was in so much pain that she couldn’t sleep! I told her not to do that ever again! We both weren’t sleeping well and decided to sleep in a bit before heading to breakfast. Once we emerged from our rooms and saw each other for the first time since Idyllwild, we gave each other lots of hugs. Then the three of us walked to Thelma’s. I used the restroom and realized how different I looked and felt compared to yesterday when I had first come off the trail. I was cold and dirty and tired then, but now my energy was much different! It was so nice to have breakfast companions again. The three of us get along really well and laugh a lot.
When I returned to my room, the housekeeper said that I looked “fluffed up” compared to yesterday. It’s amazing what a shower and clean clothes can do! He was also relieved that I was still around because he had gone into my room while we were at breakfast and thought I was leaving all that stuff behind! He couldn’t believe how much stuff I was able to fit in my pack!
I gathered my things together and brought them to UB and Muk Muk’s room to finish sorting. I finally heard back from the guy coming to visit. He was trying to coordinate getting together with a couple of other AT hikers from our year, but didn’t tell me that. One of them was across town and heading back to the trail at 10am. I had planned on taking a zero today, but in order to make the visit possible, I had to get back on the trail by the afternoon.
Muk Muk and I headed back to Thelma’s for one last meal, after stopping in the laundromat to get her clothes washing. They had an entire list of different kinds of pie and I finally decided on the chocolate creme one for desert. Muk Muk had never seen such a thing before!
Then, it was time to walk back and figure out how to get a ride back to the trail. The owner told me to make a sign and hitch, but then decided he could take me and check the water cache that he stocks before the road. Before he could get ready, a green car pulled into the driveway with Karma in it! They were checking to see if anyone else needed a ride back to the trail! Unfortunately, Ed got talking to the driver and gave him the full tour of the place, including his record collection. I waited and waited and waited… Finally, he was released and we were on our way back to the trail!
I felt so happy when I started walking again. I was filled up and completely content. I saw a couple at a road crossing on their evening walk and later decided to listen to some music. I always have energy after town stops and even though my pack is at its heaviest, it never seems so bad. The thought of returning to Boston after the trail crossed my mind and I started crying. I really don’t want to go back there! I ended up walking 8.4 miles before the sun began to set.
I kept my eyes peeled for a spot to camp, especially when the terrain flattened out. I used my instincts and went off the trail at a certain point and ended up finding a perfect spot! I set up my tent and because I had eaten real food in town, I didn’t need to cook my disgusting pasta and just snacked instead. My fingers were SO cold!