From the Oasis water cache to the Rock Inn
We’re just getting up when we hear people at the cache. It’s Dan and Sarah, Red, and Bob – a group usually referred to as Bob and the three Canadians. (“It’s the three Canadians and Bob!” Bob will insist. It doesn’t stick.) Avocado and Sarah are soon behind, then Dimples and Snake Eyes. The party arrived after all! I drink a cold cola with my poptarts (breakfast of champions).
The Anderson’s, also known as Casa De Luna, are trail angels that live about eight miles from where we are now (and also the trail angels who maintain the last two water caches). They love having hikers (a sure sign of insanity) but also have a reputation for being a vortex: a trail stop that stops you… In addition, they will help arrange a ride for you if you want to skip the roadwalk for the closure that begins right after their house. Choices, choices.
Bob and the Canadians are planning on continuing past and starting the roadwalk. Everyone else is stopping at the Anderson’s. My regret at skipping the last section is still burning – I want to do the roadwalk. J feels no such regrets, but is interested in keeping up team morale.
We don’t leave camp and the cache till ten, and end up tagging along with Bob and his team. They’re all strong, fast walkers, and it feels great to make some time. Eight miles of trail then a water stop before the road – we successfully resist three offers for a ride for the two miles to the Anderson’s, although I stare after them longingly, then we hit pavement.
I walk by myself in our hiker train, singing along to the songs I play off my smartphone. That’s what I usually do while going down the road, after all. I thought the walk was going to be terrible, a long brutal stretch through desert, but it’s not so bad and it goes fast. We make it to the Rock Inn in time for the first game of the Stanley Cup finals, which has J and the Canadians pleased as punch. I order a personal pizza, which is a mistake and a disappointment to all self respecting pizzas everywhere.
The game goes into double overtime, then the Rangers lose. More importantly (at least to me, not J) we don’t know where we’re spending the night yet and it’s getting dark. There’s a vacant lot across the street where a lady sometimes lets hikers stay, if you knock on her trailer and ask, says the waitress. I don’t know if I’d want six dirty strangers knocking on my door after dark… Bob and J come back from the bar. We can sleep in another lot, also on the street. They don’t have the name of the guy but they said they shook hands.We need to be out early. Uhhh, ok. Count me in.
So we set up camp in the scrubby grass. There are no trespassing signs everywhere. Creepy. Nighty night.