Day 25 (Pete)

There is a great deal to recollect and set to words as I lay here in the shade of a pine.

Yesterday morning I sat up, pre-dawn, after a restless night. The night before unlimited food, when you are in our state, is like Christmas eve for a small child. Seeing Dylan sit up as well, I yelled, “FOOD.” He responded in kind, the declaration bouncing around on the pink Vasquez rocks. It was about 6:30 in the morning and nothing was open. We set our selves up on two shady benches right outside of the Century 21 Real estate office. Our resupply sat inside the real estate agency. The general store and FOOD was right across the street. At 7:00, or a little later two young mammacitas rolled up in an Acura with the music blaring and unlocked the door to the store. We restrained ourselves in hopes of demolishing omelets and pancakes at the cafe down the street. According to the school kids waiting for the bus, and the mammacitas, it opened around eight or nine. No luck at eight. At eight -thirty we found out that the cafe only serves breakfast on the weekends. Disappointed, we combed the aisles of the small store.

While sitting on our benches eating random junk food, Century 21 opened. The lady was very hospitable. We got four packages; our resupply, one from my dad and step mom with a slab of brownies and a knee brace for Dylan, one from Dyl’s uncle Dewey, and one from Siri with lots of candy a loaf of cinnamon raisin walnut bread and gummy letters that spelled I love you. The package from uncle Dewey had completely random stuff, some fishing gear, nice for two vegetarians in the middle of the Mojave desert, and a small book of travel quotations. Here is the first applicable one I found, “The influence of the scenery, the presence of mountains, appeases our irritations and elevates our friendships.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson.

We sat waiting for “The Pizza Place” to open for lunch. Our first clue that my guide book we ere using was grossly out of date was that old unused section of trail dubbed, in retrospect, “Tick mountain.” Our second was that Agua Dulce seemed different that the books description. There was, in addition to the cafe mentioned, “The Pizza Place,” and an upscale seafood/mexican joint. Our third clue was unearthed after we got our new guide book section out of the Agua Dulce resupply box. “The Forest Service proposed route… will probably not be passable until after 1990.” Well, I have been telling people that I wanted to do this since I was ten or eleven years old. Too bad the guide book I hastily hacked up and distributed to the resupplies was probably acquired no more than two or three years after that time. It is somewhat ironic that a symbol of my future dreams and aspirations as a child evolves ever so subtlety into our Achilles heal once its practicality is finally called upon. Dyl spent some quality time on Century 21’s phone with Val at the Pacific Crest Trail Association going over mileages, maps, and water spots for the next desert section. The ladies at the real estate office were extremely nice. They let us use the phones and drink water out of their water cooler. One even made Dyl a big bucket of warm water to soak his feet in. Two more packages arrived with bread, newtons, snack cakes, cheese, and home made bagels.

The jalapino pineapple pizza we had, strangely, independently fantasized about didn’t let us down. Amber, behind the counter but not for long, seemed to like to chat more than work. She was liked by the customers, apparently despised by her co-workers. She had directed us to the bathroom immediately upon our arrival and was surprised to find out that neither of us had to go. It came as a further shock to her that we were actually quite comfortable digging a hole to go the bathroom in; and, that we didn’t necessarily miss plumbing. She raved on about plumbing while we choked down pizza. We mentally burdened her further by stating that we had walked from dawn till dusk for ten days just to eat pizza at “The Pizza Place.”

We augmented all our mailed in goodies with peanut butter, crackers, apples, candy, and more newtons thus making our packs heavier for this four day section to Mojave than they had been setting out for nine days to Big Bear. It was, and still is, excessive but one must sometimes overcompensate at least once before hitting on the correct formula. Today we dubbed this section, “The Four Day Feast.” We have done our best over the last three meals to live up to that moniker.

As we have descended from the high cool San Gabriels and are rapidly approaching the Mojave, we have adopted a new form of travel. We get up early and do ten to twelve miles, hopefully to a spot with water, take a three to four hour siesta and hit the trail for ten more in the evening. Our first night hiking experience was last night. It went smoothly except for missing a vital spring. We camped and in the morning ascertained that it was on the old route and sniffed out water on the new route. It was a murky stagnant water trough. Luckily we found the dwindling remnants of a seep up hill and were able to get enough water. So far today we have come fourteen miles and plan to do seven and a half more. Dylan is passed out. I would be the same but I must record events and fix the zipper on my sleeping bag.

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