Monday, May 30, 2016

Day 30 : Zero at Hiker Heaven

0 miles today
2208.5 miles to go

Memorial Day! Thank you to all those brave men and women who have sacrificed so much so that we have a place where we can hike free and without concern about being shot or captured by enemy combatants.

I found ice! Hiker Heaven truly has everything a Thru-hiker needs for a zero day. I have my knee elevated and on ice. I plan on doing this off and on every twenty minutes today. They say it promises to be warmer than yesterday but currently it's super comfortable. I get my resupply box and paw through its contents. Woo hoo! Mrs Fields cookies. Popcornopolis caramel and cheddar cheese popcorn. Most of the stuff is the predictable fare that I planned for. It's the unique items that Kelli throws in that are the real treats! I eat all the cookies while sorting and packing my food.

Today's a day of hanging around and resting. That's hard to do. It's only the pain of my knee that keeps me here. The pain is only a memory as my leg feels great today. My hope is a day of healing and rest will return the full functionality I need to put in twenty five mile days through the coming waterless stretches of the Mojave Desert.

I head down to the Sweetwater store. Agua Dulce, sweet water, get it? The store really is called Sweetwater, which I guess is the English translation of Agua Dulce. The restaurants in town are closed in honor of Memorial Day. So I buy a couple of breakfast biscuits at the deli counter. I also get some Fritos, sour cream, and salami. My favorite sources of town calories. Oh, besides ice cream and pizza. I will come back to the store this afternoon for ice cream. The shuttle returns me to Hiker Heaven where I mix up French onion soup mix with my sour cream. I sit in the shade with other thru-hikers and eat the entire sour cream with about two-thirds of the bag of Fritos. While sitting I ice my knee. Then I eat all the salami with some of the cheese that I've been carrying but neglecting to eat. Ice on, ice off. Not exactly twenty minutes on and off but as close as I can remember. I change to a different chair and sit some more. I watch half the tent city disappear quicker that it appeared. Hikers leave, other hikers come. Constant ebb and flow like tides of the ocean. The porta-potty truck shows up for routine maintenance again today. The washing machine runs from six am to eleven pm washing, washing, oh so much washing of filthy clothes. There is a stream, a rock stream in the yard. The grey water from the laundry flows all day in this seasonal stream. The plants lining the back seem quite pleased with the water, soapy and scummy that it is. The shower also runs all day. Thru-hikers signed up eighteen to twenty something names on the list at any given times. As soon as one is finished another starts. The water heater keeps up somehow. A water trucks shows up again today, just like yesterday and fills the tank. Organized and logistical planning down to ice in the freezer for the hiker with the sore knee. Like clock work, life happens here on schedule. It's time to stop icing my knee. Even I get caught up in the schedule of this place.

I lost my maps. Well, I didn't actually lose them. I just don't know where I set them down. I visit the coach where I ate my Fritos, nope. I walk out to the chair under the tree, nope again. I ask around, hikers stare at me blankly. I might as well be asking the cacti. It's not that they are hiding anything. The Thru-hikers have no information that will add to my search. They also avoid passing useless information like, “when did you last see them?” If they knew they'd say something. They don't. I check my tent, not here. I walk away then walk back and check my tent again, perhaps they'll show up the second time? Nope. I walk to where I sat soaking my feet with Dizzy and Brownie. Nope. Maybe the trailer? What about the kitchen. The table, when I got ice, yes, of course, there they are. Thru-hikers used them as a place mat. Good thing they're covered in plastic. I retrieve them then ‘clean’ off the lettuce and salsa with another hiker's foot cleaning sponge. Yay, I hate losing stuff. I sort the maps for tomorrow's hike then put them in my tent.

I receive a text from Braveheart, she's sixty miles ahead of me. Roughly three days. I wonder if I'll ever catch up. Only if she stops for more zeros than I. Time to ice the knee again. 

I shuttle back to town and buy a pint of Dreyer's Butterfinger ice cream. I sit and eat it with some thru-hikers who are heading out tonight. This is a hot section coming up. Twenty four miles to the next reliable water. Did I mention it's rumored to be hot? Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter than today. The shuttle’s not back yet, I decide to go to the Mexican restaurant for early dinner. I order the chili Colorado. While waiting I eat chips and guzzle water. Suddenly very thirsty, maybe it's the thing about tomorrow's walk. Then I see Jukebox and Ballast. Last saw them at the KOA. Jukebox has a similar injury to her right knee too. We commiserate and I suggest ice and rest at Hiker Heaven. She's got resupply boxes at the Acton Post Office. So sad, off the trail and closed on Memorial Day. She has to wait till tomorrow to pick them up. I head back out after paying my tab and catch the next shuttle back to Hiker Heaven. It's amazing how many shuttle runs are made. A regular bus service wouldn't be as efficient and this is free. The town should really honor the Saufleys for the huge impact they have on the local economy.

I am so stuffed. I waddle to the porch chairs and sit in the shade. I visit with Simba a bit. He and I have been hiking the same pace for the last few days. We both plan to hit the trail tomorrow. I charge my batteries and phone in preparation for not having any outlets till Mojave. The plan is to be there in six days. I am hopeful that my knee will be recovered. RICE rest, ice, elevation, I forget what the C is. I've done at least three of the things you're supposed to do for an injury like this. Has it been long enough? We’ll find our tomorrow. Sitting on the porch I've had a chance to talk to more of my fellow hikers. Mountain Goat, Korinda, Hatchet, Hog Greer, Brownie, Dizzy, all uniquely interesting, all friendly and kind. I spend some talking to new friends Tuts, Ruan, and Wolf the heat of the Mojave is one big concern, the other is the depth of the snow in the Sierra. Both issues are not today's issues so I'm choosing not to worry about them. Before heading off to bed in my tent I see my friend MAGA who I haven't seen for four days. I'm looking forward to trying out my knee bright and early tomorrow morning. Good night.

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