Thursday, May 19, 2016

Day 19 : Of McDonald's and Friendship

14 miles today
2321 miles to go

Something’s scurrying about in the leaves outside my tent. Scratch, scratch, scrabble, scrabble. What is that? It's dark except the light of the moon, filtered thru the trees and bushes I'm camped beneath. Scratch, scratch. I dig in my bag for my light. The noise of my turning and doing so sounds like thunder in comparison to the silence. I pause. Nothing, it's quiet. I wait. Still nothing. I test my light under my sleeping bag to confirm it's on bright white. Check. Still nothing. I put my light down and rollover to sleep. A few minutes later. Scratch, scratch, scrabble, scrabble. I reach for my light and attempt to shine it out under the vestibule. The light hits the vestibule instead and reflects back into my eyes blinding me from seeing anything significant. I flick the light off. I wait. Silence. I do this whole sequence a few more times before giving up. Let the night creatures own the night. I will sleep, or at least try.

Morning comes early. The lightening of the sky lightens my spirit as well. It's funny how noises in the dark seem so much bigger than the same noise during the day. Breakfast just about empties the last of the food from my pack. Fourteen miles, two liters of water should do it. My pack will weigh less than twenty pounds today. 

The trail is filled with Thru-hikers today. Perhaps it's the nearness of McDonalds. The trail is relatively congested as all of us head there as fast as our legs will take us there. I power on without stopping. Up the trail to the ridge top. Cresting over the top, the valley containing the fabled McDs spreads out before me. The trail skirts and skews across sandstone ridges with steep gorges on both sides. This is much more dramatic than I was expecting. I twist and turn down a trail much more like the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. Up and down turn right, turn left. at every turn is a steep drop. The difference here from the ride is the only thing keeping me on the trail is my own sense of balance and sanity. On the ride it only feels like I might fly off a cliff, here I really could. It makes for an exhilarating and exciting trek down the canyon. My feet are feeling really good. The blisters I once had have turned to hard callouses, almost like little horns on my toes.

‘McDonald's is your kind of place’ is how the old jingle went. This one is more of a Thru-hiker kind of place. Imagine that you walk into a restaurant filled with dirty, stinky hobos. They are all smiling and eating. In the corner is a guy with the filthiest clothes gulping down a McFlurry. Over there around the corner is another guy popping Chicken McNuggets in his mouth while perusing his iPhone. Another couple of hobos have about two gallons of water in various sized dirty water bottles. They are calculating the amount they will need for the next leg to Guffy campground. I am pretty sure the coach of the girls softball team would have bypassed this McDonalds if he'd known the riff-raff it contained. We are all enjoying the air conditioning and the finest mediocre food McDonald's has to offer. The service, however, was superb.

Braveheart will continue on with the rest of the pack. I, on the other hand, will be off trail for a bit of R&R with family. Braveheart has been a true friend and compatriot on this journey. We've shared some difficult trails and funny moments together. My favorite time was when we were walking along Pioneertown Road early in the morning laughing and joking about the compound with the mailbox on the inside of the fence. We found it so funny to think about the mail-carrier not being able to deliver the mail. It was even funnier to consider the long walk the owner made his wife take to get the mail and her reluctance to do so because they never got any. I guess you had to be there. I was, and so was she. Godspeed my friend, stay strong and healthy. Kennedy Meadows or before.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Scott! Really enjoying your posts. I feel like I am there with you, except that I am sitting on a couch in an air conditioned room. :) Keep 'em coming and keep on truckin!